John Battelle at Searchblog takes this Ad Age story about Google’s hiring of Andy Berndt to mean that Google is essentially building an internal agency. This is similar to what AOL and Yahoo did several years ago, when they wanted to build deep, full platform partnerships with major advertisers and agencies.
From Ad Age:
Andy Berndt, co-president of Ogilvy & Mather’s New York office, has left his post at the agency to go to Google, where he will helm a new global unit dedicated to collaborating with marketers, agencies and entertainment companies…
….There has been much speculation over the past year whether Google would try to get into the agency business. The new global unit isn’t being called an agency, but any unit offering creative consultation and account services could be considered one. Interestingly, Google had been trying to lure more creative talent to the company over the past year, according to ad industry executives familiar with the search giant.
Microsoft, meanwhile, recently bought its way into the agency business with its $6 billion purchase of aQuantive, parent company to agency Avenue A/Razorfish. When asked whether it would shed the agency after the purchase, Microsoft was adamant that it liked the business.
I’ll have more to say about this shortly…but the trend is clear. Google is setting itself up as a full service advertising company. And that means client services and creative innovation.