Arla has set up its own creative media agency. Its name, "The Barn", was inspired by the company's agricultural roots.
In recent years, several international companies have started producing their own campaigns and ads, and now Arla has chosen to do the same.
"It's a new era in digital marketing and media buying. Until now, most of our creative media production has been handled by agencies with talented staff, who have also bought advertising space for us. We're changing that now", says Thomas Heilskov, Director and Head of Digital at Arla, and continues:
"Consumer behaviour and attitudes to food products are constantly changing, and this places new demands on us. We need to get closer to the consumers and be able to respond more quickly to new trends. 'The Barn' will bring our creative production and buying of media advertising space closer to the heart of our business, and thereby closer to consumers. It will also give us a more flexible setup, so we can react faster to market trends."
Arla already started insourcing digital marketing in Sweden last year. The new ambitions are based on the positive experiences of that initiative. However, the new inhouse agency does not mean Arla is saying goodbye to all the agencies it has worked with up to now. The Barn will mainly focus on producing content for digital channels, formulating concepts and strategies, and digital media buying, so there will still be tasks to be solved in close cooperation with the external agencies Arla works with.
For Arla, the benefit of establishing The Barn is partly financial. Last year Arla launched the transformation programme Calcium with the aim of making the cooperative more efficient and competitive. The Calcium programme will look at all aspects of the business to identify ways to save money by transforming working methods.
"It's no secret that Arla always focuses on costs. We're a cooperative owned by farmers, so the more money we make, the more they benefit. As part of the Calcium programme, we've looked at the marketing workflows, and we see an opportunity to do things cheaper and better in this area by creating our own advertising agency," says Thomas Heilskov.
The new agency will be based at Sønderhøj in Viby, Aarhus, where Arla's head office is also located. It will work closely with Danish and international brand managers on creative development and media buying for Arla's Danish and global brands.