What’s Driving Bentley?

“We can go to this one which is grotty but you can get a table, or we can risk it and go for the fancy one that’s always full,” said Darren.

“Fancy,” I blurted without hesitation.

So we went to the fancy place for coffee, I love fancy coffee.

Objective one achieved. I had secured a spot in the fancy coffee place sitting across from Darren Bentley. Darren works for MoneySupermarket and has been fundamental in the building of one of the best in-house digital teams in the UK. I was keen to know why he moved, whether he values agency skills over in-house skills and his tips for staying at the cutting edge.

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Half a Mihalop the Google Tower

I entered an idyllic garden with the warm sun shining on my weathered face. A slight nod to the gardener, hard at work, signified I appreciated all his efforts. It was hard to believe I wasn’t in an island paradise and instead on the 9th floor of a building next to Tottenham Court Road, specifically Google.

Andy Mihalop

I was here to meet Andy Mihalop*, a man of vast experience on both sides of the fence. It’s fair to say that Andy really cut his teeth in agencies (despite working in-house initially) but as Head of Digital at MoneySupermarket, was also a pioneer in the trend of creating in-house digital teams.

I wanted to know why you would leave an agency once in a senior position, what’s attractive about moving in-house, how targets are measured and, once in-house, is it harder to drive change?

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Is Moving In-House a Gamble?

It was the longest queue I had ever seen in a Starbucks. Long enough for me to admire the ornate ceiling and Google where it was from (Damascus if you’re asking). I texted this piece of information to Gavin who was waiting patiently for me upstairs.

“LOL :)” was the response.

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Gavin is an interesting character with a wealth of experience on both sides of the fence. He spent a decade in various agencies (including Mediacom, Diffiniti (now iProspect) and MEC) before moving in-house to Gamesys via King.com and PKR. This makes him one of the most informed people on the subject and his views were fairly unequivocal. This was going to be a good’un.

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