MEDIA: PERSPECTIVE; Full service is not synonymous with ‘media specialist’

By DOMINIC MILLS, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 08 December 1995 12:00AM

Twice in the past two weeks I have offered myself up to a couple of full-service agency media departments for credentials presentations. While being different sorts of agencies, they both nevertheless preached the same message: in the future creative and media must work hand in hand and the best way to ensure that is to offer media on a full-service basis. And they wouldn’t, both maintained stoutly, pitch for third-party media-only business. Oh yeah?

Twice in the past two weeks I have offered myself up to a couple of

full-service agency media departments for credentials presentations.

While being different sorts of agencies, they both nevertheless preached

the same message: in the future creative and media must work hand in

hand and the best way to ensure that is to offer media on a full-service

basis. And they wouldn’t, both maintained stoutly, pitch for third-party

media-only business. Oh yeah?



Indeed, one passionate defender of the full-service creed, Lowe Howard-

Spink, took full-page ads in the trade press recently trumpeting its

victory in the Media Week awards - making the point, in other words,

that a full-service shop had beaten off the competition.



So, I must confess, I find myself surprised that this issue is still

alive. I thought, in this day and age, even the most ‘creatively’ driven

of agencies had conceded that media was important, and the thing was to

be good at it (by which I mean offering up clever and distinctive media

suggestions), as well as to be big (by which I mean buying cheap). In

other words, it was all about the ability to claim to be a media

specialist, irrespective of whether that was part of a full-service

strategy, as part of a media dependant, or part of a joint venture with

a media independent (and I exclude media independents on their own here

since they are, by definition, media specialists).



Now, given that there are still people out there arguing the merits of

full service, is this something that will sway clients? Will the

pendulum swing back towards full service from the specialists? I don’t

know. As far as I can see, the argument is built around one salient

point: the so-called synergy that comes from housing creatives and media

together so that execution and placement work in harmony. But for every

persuasive example of how wonderful this all is (Orange, Vauxhall, the

Economist and Boddingtons (pre-launch of Motive)), you can produce

campaigns that demonstrate how it can work equally well down a different

route. Look at the current Radio 1 campaign (Chiat Day and PHD), Nissan

Micra (TBWA and Eurospace) and even the early small-space BT phone

change ads (Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Zenith). As far as I can see,

the argument simply isn’t proven either way, but what worries me about

the full-service camp is its insistence that it won’t go for media-only

business. I understand why it says that - once you do, out goes your

entire strategy - but I don’t find it credible. The natural desire to

get bigger is one reason, the other that full service condemns agencies

to fishing in a pretty small media pond.



Indeed, this is a point that the chief executive of one such devoutly

full-service agency, overheard in a West End hotel bar one night last

week by a passing Campaign reporter, has obviously realised. So, my

friend, will you tell everybody about your decision to go for media-only

business, or do you want to leave it to us?



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

X

You must log in to use Clip & Save

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Campaign Jobs