Media: Double Standards - Content makes media more than a commodity

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 January 2010 12:00AM

Most clients are looking for different ways to embed their brands in content. Television and newspapers are leading the way to greater involvement.

SIMON ORPIN - CREATIVE SOLUTIONS DIRECTOR, ITV

- How would you describe your job?

Challenging, diverse and rewarding - heading a tremendously experienced and talented team who specialise in partnering with creative agencies and clients to develop innovative programme and advertising ideas.

- What are advertisers most interested in hearing about right now?

How ITV can help their businesses grow through solutions that are increasingly film-based and easily distributable. The dialogue now is about long-term business partnerships that enhance relationships with clients' target audiences via the broader range of outlets, resources and assets on offer at ITV. Value for money remains key, with initiatives such as in-house commercial production becoming increasingly relevant.

- How will your medium change in the year ahead?

Fragmentation has given way to reaggregation around content in an on-demand, broadband-enabled world, now delivered to the main TV set in high definition and even 3D. This technology enables the distribution of extended programme and advertising ideas across all screens with increased levels of accountability and effectiveness. The challenge this year will be working with advertisers and planners more than ever before to deliver targeted campaigns that use technology to its maximum potential.

- What 'magic' or sparkle can brands achieve by associating with what you are offering?

We are watching more TV now than a decade ago and TV advertising still delivers the highest return on investment. In 2009, ITV1 consolidated its position as the UK's leading peaktime channel and broadcast six out of the top ten most-watched programmes of the year. So with the best premium content, plus more ways for advertisers to engage with viewers, be it through content extensions, digital channels, online or interactive services, ITV is the best place for advertisers to interact with audiences.

- Which recent project are you most proud of?

The return of The Krypton Factor, fully funded by Sage and co-ordinated via Drum, is testimony to how a client/agency/TV company partnership can deliver positive, enduring results.

- How does what you do fit with agencies - do they feel threatened or challenged by it?

The TV landscape is now a broader canvas of opportunity for agencies to express their creative talent and we're here to try to help bring these ideas to life in new ways. ITV offers a range of partnerships and working together is an opportunity rather than a threat.

- How frustrating is it that media, or at least media agencies and the way they trade, seems to have become a commodity game?

The commoditisation of media has been ongoing for some time and has often been an increasing necessity given the current regulatory framework under which media buyers and sellers have to operate. However, good agencies and brave clients are open to good ideas and if the idea is strong enough, it will shine.

- What's the best piece of content/entertainment that your brands have offered recently?

Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor and I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here have shown the enduring appeal of great entertainment, while dramas such as Whitechapel and comedy such as Benidorm and Harry Hill's TV Burp have been fantastic. And who's not looking forward to another "Todd Carty moment" in Dancing On Ice?

ABBA NEWBERY - DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SOLUTIONS, NEWS INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL

- How would you describe your job?

I build opportunities for brands over and above traditional print and online ads. This can mean anything from sponsorships, advertorials, competitions, events, online applications and co-branded joint initiatives.

- What are advertisers most interested in hearing about right now?

The word I heard most often last year was "content", whether it be user-generated, branded or sponsored.

Everyone is looking for engaging, meaningful and different solutions that allow them to embed their brands in content that people are passionate about, and encourage greater levels of involvement.

- How will your medium change in the year ahead?

The biggest thing to happen to newspapers will be the paid-for online content revolution, which will in effect rewrite the economics of newspapers. At News International, we will also continue to invest in enhancing our relationships with our most loyal readers, through our home delivery service, reward programmes such as Times + membership and added-value products such as our online Captain Cash money-saving scheme.

- What 'magic' or sparkle can brands achieve by associating with what you are offering?

The Sun is a unique and optimistic force in the UK that brings levity and passion to any partnership. The Times is the newspaper of record, which bestows on brands gravitas and a sense of trust, and a strong sense of reader participation. The Sunday Times engages with a highly influential audience. The News Of The World is all about celebrating what makes Sunday great, the day we most look forward to in the week. With a newspaper solution, the medium, and more specifically the title, is the message.

- Which recent project are you most proud of?

Last year, we loved painting local community projects with Dulux, helping support local businesses with Barclays and mapping the fluctuations of the UK economy with Lloyds TSB. This year, we can't wait to build a Chelsea Flower Show Garden with schools as part of Morrisons' Let's Grow scheme, celebrate the World Cup with Kia and go Spelling Bee crazy with Microsoft.

- How does what you do fit with agencies - do they feel threatened or challenged by it?

Not in my experience. Media partnerships are a way for an agency to show they are adding real value over and above the cost of the space. This is the fastest-growing part of our business and I believe this growth will continue beyond 2010.

- How frustrating is it that media, or at least media agencies and the way they trade, seems to have become a commodity game?

For ten years, agencies talked about comms planning, taking their business upstream, so it seems a shame that we've ended the decade with the pitch by online auction. Commodity trading undervalues the role of media in the marketing mix, which in turn lodges a belief in the minds of clients that media and its agencies can be cheap.

- What's the best piece of content/entertainment that your brands have offered recently?

My Christmas Week: Gordon Brown by Hugo Rifkind in Boxing Day's The Times was a gem. The Sun headline "Get De Beers In" celebrating England's qualification for the World Cup was vintage. I was also happy with Mystic Meg's prediction that 2010 will be my best year ever and that I might be better suited to running a nightclub. Cool.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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