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  • You & Mr. Jones-owned in-housing firm Oliver is building a new division around an enterprise tech tool.
  • It’s aimed at helping brands as they take more of their advertising in house.
  • It’s also boosting other services to be more competitive with holding companies and consultancies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

You & Mr. Jones-owned company Oliver is betting on tech to help brands like Unilever, Adidas, and Pepsi quickly get ads in front of people.

Oliver, which builds and manages in-house ad agencies for brands, has created a new business division around a proprietary technology tool to capitalize on the growing advertising in housing trend.

The company plans to spend about £6.4 million ($8.7 million) on the new division in 2021, including £1 million ($1.3 million) on the platform, Oliver CEO Sharon Whale told Insider. The company is also investing in cloud-based tech, new AI technology, and production tech.

The tool, called Oliver Marketing Gateway, allows brands to track, manage, edit, and measure their ad campaigns in one place, in theory giving them more control over their ad campaigns. The tool is meant to improve collaboration within brands’ marketing teams and with their ad agencies, and help them reach the right people with their ads, per the company. 

“Historically, in-housing was seen as a cost-effective measure, but over the past year it’s become more about efficiency and effectiveness,” Whale said. “It’s now about doing work that performs better, and is driven by data, and the technology underpins that.”

The 10-year-old tool has been overhauled over the past year as more clients get creative with ad production and work more closely with global teams during the pandemic. These improvements have resulted in ads being produced 60-70% faster than usual, said David Russell, managing director of the new tech division.

Oliver credits the platform for driving new business wins and says one-third of the brands it works with, including Pepsi, Adidas, and The AA, use it. It expects the platform to generate more than £1.5 million ($2 million) in revenue this year.

Other ad agencies and holding companies have also built project management platforms in recent years, from Publicis’ Marcel to Omnicom’s Omni. Russell said that Oliver’s platform is different because it’s been specifically designed to service in-house teams, and can be tailored to suit every brand’s different needs.

Oliver is also bolstering its solution design, performance marketing and e-commerce capabilities to be more competitive with holding companies and consultancies, said Whale. To that end, it’s made new hires including Tim Hussain from Ebiquity as director of solution design and product strategy and Matt Davies, formerly of Wavemaker, Carat and Coty’s in-house agency, as head of performance marketing.

“To put it bluntly, we’ve never competed with any one particular group, because we’ve created a new marketing model in a way that’s never existed before,” Whale said. “So we find ourselves competing sometimes against Publicis and WPP, sometimes against an S4 Capital, and sometimes with consultancies like Accenture Interactive.”