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The Rise of the In-House Agency

February, 2020

Rest in peace, AORs. In recent years, many power brands have made the switch to working with their own in-house agencies. Some may have seen this transition coming, others were taken completely by surprise, but the fact remains that this has been shaking up the marketing industry over the past few years.

Brands with different organizational structures and cultures have all taken similar decisions, which means they aren’t doing this on a whim. Why the change, and what does it mean for external agencies? The answers to those questions may be more varied than you think, and the situation may not be as dire as it seems.

The Traditional Agency Model

The relationship between brand and agency has been a long one, and it carried on for many years with more ups than downs. The agency of record, or AOR, was the model that many brands and companies swore by for many years. Having an AOR was like having a one stop shop for all of a client’s advertising and marketing needs.

Going this route offered many advantages to clients. Because there was only one source of creative output, communication was easier. Instead of having multiple agencies and vendors to organize, there was only one. Long-term contracts meant the client-agency relationship could strengthen over time, forming a deeper understanding of a brand’s story and market position through years of work and brand building.

Til Digital Do Us Part

Nothing stays the same forever, and that is true with the relationship between clients and AORs. Traditional advertising methods and platforms started to lose their effectiveness once digital media became widespread. It became tougher to reach consumers as it became more difficult to know where they were online and how to target them effectively. Consumers were being bombarded by messages, and they responded by tuning many of those messages out.

As the digital space became more diverse, so did client needs. Soon, brands and companies stopped relying on just one source for their branding and creative. Specialized and boutique agencies started to pop up, causing disruption in the industry. Different external economic factors mixed with tougher internal expectations caused many brands and companies to feel the pressure and move their marketing efforts internally to cut costs.

The Present and Future of External Agencies

Despite the move to in-house, some agencies still have the ability to survive without making drastic changes. While many brands have moved in-house, there are still some that work with an AOR. Others have found a way to mix and match by using their chosen agency as a preferred partner, but also going in-house or to another agency for certain projects. For global agencies, the reputations they have built over the years gives them an advantage when it’s time to weather the storm.

Agencies that know how to be flexible can roll with the punches thrown in the industry. A large part of the reason brands shifted towards in-house was agencies were too rigid. Consumers changed and agencies didn’t. The future for independent agencies will be to have more relevant services that benefit clients and consumers, and of course to be adaptable.

But another key for the future is speed. Here at 121, we like to look at ourselves as an in-house agency. Our knowledge of brands and communication through our on-site model allows us to operate in a way that makes clients feel like we are right outside the door by closing the distance gap with speed. We offer our services without the need for our clients to worry about the overhead of hiring, training, and housing an in-house team. It’s proven successful, and has allowed us to maintain our position within the industry.

Nothing is ever stagnant, and with change comes opportunity. The marketing industry is still reckoning with a shift in-house, and there are some brands that have already shifted back. However, it is likely that for the near future, the AOR will no longer be the lone choice for brands when considering their marketing options. In order to thrive, agencies must be willing to adapt and explore uncharted waters.


This privacy policy has been compiled to better serve those who are concerned with how their 'Personally identifiable information' (PII) is being used online. PII, as used in US privacy law and information security, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context. Please read our privacy policy carefully to get a clear understanding of how we collect, use, protect or otherwise handle your Personally Identifiable Information in accordance with our website.

What personal information do we collect from the people that visit our blog, website or app?

When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name, email address, phone number or other details to help you with your experience.

When do we collect information?

We collect information from you when you subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a form or enter information on our site.

How do we use your information?

We may use the information we collect from you when you register, make a purchase, sign up for our newsletter, respond to a survey or marketing communication, surf the website, or use certain other site features in the following ways:

• To send periodic emails regarding your order or other products and services.


We’ll ask for your consent before requesting any type of information, it’ll also be optional to do so. You can also easily withdraw it or change it at any time. However, failure to provide that consent will prevent us from delivering content and other experiences to you.

Where do we storage your data?

We store all your data exclusively on our servers for at least a year, and we are the only ones that have access to them.

How can you access to your data?

You can exercise, at any time, the rights of access, rectification, cancellation and opposition of your personal data via email, addressed to privacidad@121corp.com indicating your name, surnames, telephone number, attaching a photocopy of your ID or official document that proves your identity and clearly indicating the right you wish to exercise.

How to ask us to delete your data?

If you would like to unsubscribe from any of our communications you may do so by sending us an email to privacidad@121corp.com. Otherwise, by continuing to interact with our emails, you provide us with permission to manage and use your data as described above.

How do we protect visitor information?

We do not use vulnerability scanning and/or scanning to PCI standards.

We use regular Malware Scanning.

Your personal information is contained behind secured networks and is only accessible by a limited number of persons who have special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. In addition, all sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.

We implement a variety of security measures when a user enters, submits, or accesses their information to maintain the safety of your personal information.

All transactions are processed through a gateway provider and are not stored or processed on our servers.

What happens if there’s a data breach?

We will inform all of our users within the first 72 hours.

Do we use 'cookies'?

We do not use cookies for tracking purposes

You can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies.
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If you disable cookies off, some features will be disabled that make your site experience more efficient and some of our services will not function properly.

Third Party Disclosure

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information.

Third party links

We do not include or offer third party products or services on our website.


Google's advertising requirements can be summed up by Google's Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users.

We use Google AdSense Advertising on our website.

Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on our site. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to our users based on their visit to our site and other sites on the Internet. Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

We have implemented the following:
• Google Display Network Impression Reporting
• Demographics and Interests Reporting

We along with third-party vendors, such as Google use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookies) and third-party cookies (such as the DoubleClick cookie) or other third-party identifiers together to compile data regarding user interactions with ad impressions, and other ad service functions as they relate to our website.

Opting out: Users can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Settings page. Alternatively, you can opt out by visiting the Network Advertising initiative opt out page or permanently using the Google Analytics Opt Out Browser add on.

California Online Privacy Protection Act

CalOPPA is the first state law in the nation to require commercial websites and online services to post a privacy policy. The law's reach stretches well beyond California to require a person or company in the United States (and conceivably the world) that operates websites collecting personally identifiable information from California consumers to post a conspicuous privacy policy on its website stating exactly the information being collected and those individuals with whom it is being shared, and to comply with this policy. - See more at:

According to CalOPPA we agree to the following:

Users can visit our site anonymously
Once this privacy policy is created, we will add a link to it on our home page, or as a minimum on the first significant page after entering our website.
Our Privacy Policy link includes the word 'Privacy', and can be easily be found on the page specified above.

Users will be notified of any privacy policy changes: • On our Privacy Policy Page Users are able to change their personal information: • By emailing us

How does our site handle do not track signals?

We honor do not track signals and do not track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.

Does our site allow third party behavioral tracking?
It's also important to note that we allow third party behavioral tracking

COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)

When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under 13, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children's privacy and safety online.

We do not specifically market to children under 13.


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We collect your email address in order to:

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If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at
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Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below.

7315 Winsconsin Avenue, Suite 400 W
Bethesda, MD 20814

Last Edited on May 25, 2018