Arif Durrani, head of media at Campaign, editor of Media Week
Arif Durrani, head of media at Campaign, editor of Media Week
A view from Arif Durrani

Awards hopefuls, new boundaries and old egos show media in fine fettle

For the first time that day, there was unqualified agreement: the quality of entries shortlisted for this year's Media Week Awards had been exceptionally high....

It’s hard to believe nobody had thought of building technology that provided shoppers with thousands of recipes, and the ability to buy all their ingredients, at the click of a button before PHD did it for Sainsbury’s.

Or take M2M’s role in the world’s first-ever sky Tweet campaign involving seven planes flying 10,000 feet above the Medinah golf course during last year’s Ryder Cup. Paddy Power delivered a series of cheeky messages in 20-foot letters in the sky supporting Europe.

They caught the attention of players, commentators and fans alike and, in terms of earned media, were calculated to have spawned 173 major news articles and 68,000 social mentions, fuelled by promoted Tweets.

And who can forget Bodyform’s return to the spotlight after a man took to Facebook to accuse the feminine-hygiene brand of lying about a woman’s "wonderful time of the month" throughout many years of advertising?

'Media's characters are as essential to the industry as any innovation and help make my job such fun'

Bodyform turned to Carat to produce a knowing, light-hearted video response, shot in its office over one weekend. The speed and tone of the video, amplified through paid social media seeding, successfully flipped the event from a PR disaster to a brand reawakening. Media ROI was pegged at a staggering 75:1.

Those are just some of the contenders for the Media Innovation award – one of the 23 categories judges have had to wrestle with. The steady guidance of our co-chairs, Steve Hatch and Linda Grant, helped ensure everyone left feeling due diligence had taken place.

Yes, of course Tim Bleakley is unashamedly commercial – with him, the bottom line is always top of mind. Similarly, we know Claudine Collins morphs into a protective lioness at the mere mention of MediaCom, while David Wilding rolls his eyes at us all patiently. Media’s characters are as essential to the industry as any innovation and help make my job such fun.

It’s not over yet, and the Campaign Media Awards are just starting, but I’m left in no doubt that the UK media has responded well to the ongoing economic challenges. While some have been tying themselves in knots at the idea that everyone in the business is on the slippery slope to oblivion, commercial leaders have been busy carving out new parameters.