No-one told me it would be like this. The glamour, the men, the
champagne, yes. That’s why I’m here, for God’s sake. But Incorporated
Society of British Advertisers conferences...they kept that bloody quiet
when they gave me the job.
Now, I love advertisers - none of us would be here without them and I’d
be working in a hairdressers or something - but last week’s ISBA media
conference must be one of the lowest points of the year so far.
It sounded great on paper - lots of advertisers gathered together to
debate the thorny media issues of the day and how to get more of a bang
for their media buck. Who wouldn’t be interested in getting more bangs?
Unfortunately, the conference couldn’t even manage a modest pop. Media
owner delegates were generally only there if they were speaking (or
pitching, depending on which side of the table you were sitting). The
biggest of them, ITV, was the most disappointing. Steve Morrison, the
chief executive of Granada Media Group, had to decline to take the
platform for a vigorous debate because he was feeling a little feverish,
but still managed to make the less taxing lunch-time pitch.
The agency community was just as bad. There were impressive performances
from Adrian Birchall of the Media Centre and Phil Georgiadis of
Initiative Media, but finding a major media person was like trying to
find a sober soul in the Martinez bar in Cannes last week.
As for agency people, well, full marks to Amanda Walsh of Walsh Trott
Chick Smith and Ann Harris of Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, but where
were the rest? Media owners and agencies are usually attracted to
clients like flies are to shit, and I can only imagine that most didn’t
anticipate much of a turn out.
Spot on. Advertisers have done their fair share of kicking and screaming
about media in the past few years - and rightly so. It was a pity that
so few of them could be bothered on the day.