Ad agencies' distance from media means lost chances in new TV age

- Creative agencies have become so dislocated from the media process that they are failing to capitalise on the new opportunities opening up in the multi-channel TV world, Richard Burdett, the vice president of marketing at Flextech, warned last week.

- Creative agencies have become so dislocated from the media process that they are failing to capitalise on the new opportunities opening up in the multi-channel TV world, Richard Burdett, the vice president of marketing at Flextech, warned last week.

Agencies are clinging to an increasingly irrelevant mythical status quo where the glossy 30-second ad rules, with the result that creative innovation is being stifled.

With media specialists now driving sponsorship and advertisers' involvement in programme production, as well as TV planning and buying, creative agencies have little connection with TV media owners. Without this dialogue, agencies are missing opportunities to take a more flexible approach to TV advertising, Burdett said.

He blamed production costs, in part, for the failure to make the most of the commercial opportunities brought by the new channels.

"Whilst the arrival of multi-channel television has dramatically cut the media cost of entry to television, the production cost of entry has remained high and is now acting as a barrier."

While Burdett admitted that broadcasters have a vested interest in maintaining the creative quality of ads, he argued that there are more cost-effective ways of using new channels without sacrificing quality. "Whilst £1 million buys you a stunningly good 60-second ad, £300,000 can buy you a very good half hour television programme and there's clearly a disparity here."

By working more closely with the broadcasters, advertisers and their agencies can produce lower-cost ads which could open up the TV medium to new advertisers and secondary brands which could not previously afford TV advertising.

"With a bit of flexibility and ingenuity, agencies could do themselves a big favour here," Burdett said, "creating a potential new source of revenue for themselves. More and more broadcasters are leading these initiatives and, frankly, I'd prefer it if ad agencies were doing it because they'd do it better."





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