Inside Out® Awards – Judges Insights

Impact in-house creative teams are having on the brands they sit within

The Inside Out® Awards continue its mission to uncover, recognise and validate the very best projects and people working within ambitious and innovative in-house creative teams across the UK and Europe. 

Having received a record number of entries this year, we found ourselves in the privileged position of having a bird’s-eye view of the impact in-house creative teams are having on the brands they sit within. Through our review process, the judges were able to identify some common themes running through the most successful submissions.

Here is a summary of their observations.

Creatives become strategic partners 

It was highly evident that the proximity of the in-house creative teams to the business meant that they were able to leverage inside knowledge to enhance their offering and create marketing materials that were hugely relevant and effective for the businesses they work for.

The entries showed a high level of creativity and expertise, moving in-house agencies away from “production only” shops and more to strategic partners.

“I could definitely see a positive link between having design and creative teams with a seat at the table or being involved early in a process and the output those teams produced.”

Harshil Varsani, Head of Creative at TotallyMoney

De-centraliSation of Teams is a Trend 

Through the restructures and reshaping of organisations, there was a clear trend of placing/ distributing creatives throughout the regions. The companies that were doing this best were small, agile, and had surprisingly few people. Not only were they in different areas, but creatives also wore many different hats — creating more opportunity for the team to take on more and give the individual more responsibility.


The teams that shared the clearest vision for their areas of responsibility had the most cohesive and beautifully executed work. A shared vision and values often led to awarded and impactful examples of work and a cohesive portfolio overall.

“I see the design value growing in-house. Teams are creating amazing designs that are simple and powerful.  The pieces that I felt were at the top often had a big idea behind the campaign.

Adam Morgan, Senior Director of Brand and Creative at Splunk

Use of AI in Operations and Proof-of-concept

Some teams leveraged AI to automate processes and chats, setting up bots to perform repetitive tasks. Using LLMs for automation is the future!

Overcoming Big Challenges as a Team Matters

The challenges that were evident in the submissions continued to be size, budget, and timelines. While pulling off work in short timelines is something IHAs are inherently capable of, sometimes those timelines are shorter because they are IHAs rather than external.

Shortlisted teams had diverse hurdles, and they shared authentically how they overcame them as a team. It took them having shared values, open communication, and a collaborative and supportive culture.

“One of my key takeaways was the quality of work given the turnaround times. I think sometimes in-house pick-up work lastminute and some of those projects were amazing given the turnaround time and resources available.”

Megan Taylor, Head of Creative at Lucky Saint


Teams that adopted an agile approach were more often than not able to respond to local, national, and international news stories. Small teams with limited resources showcased adaptable ways of working through a shared sense of vision.


It was obvious that there were high degrees of collaboration and teamwork in every submission, whether they were a highly funded team with a large number of people or a smaller team with fewer resources. 

It was interesting to see many teams working across the business and producing excellent results, not just with marketing, further proving the value of in-house teams and the power of collaboration.

“In-house agencies are playing an increasingly important role in marketing, and they are well-positioned to deliver innovative and effective campaigns.”

Tabitha Winter, Creative Operations Director

A big thank you to our Judges and Contributors

Adam Hutchinson, Creative Director, Co-Founder at TMPL®

Sarah Gerona, Global Creative Director at BBC

Adam Morgan, Senior Director of Brand and Creative at Splunk

Elliot Haag, Vice President – Creative at Sony Pictures Television – Kids

Megan Taylor, Head of Creative at Lucky Saint

Harshil Varsani, Head of Creative at TotallyMoney

Matt Clack, Executive Creative Director at Google

Tabitha Winter, Creative Operations Director, Consultant for In-House & Agency Creative Teams

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