EDITOR’S COMMENT: Awards recognise the central role of media to industry

Our initial reaction to the big-wig media agency bosses who approached us about launching media awards was muted. The last thing advertising needs is another set of awards, right? And, has not Campaign said so? Don’t we criticise awards schemes like D&AD for skewing the industry away from its focus on the business transaction that takes place between client and agency day after day towards that walk to the podium?

Our initial reaction to the big-wig media agency bosses who

approached us about launching media awards was muted. The last thing

advertising needs is another set of awards, right? And, has not Campaign

said so? Don’t we criticise awards schemes like D&AD for skewing the

industry away from its focus on the business transaction that takes

place between client and agency day after day towards that walk to the

podium?



But media agencies appear to want a set of awards they can call their

own: one that isn’t so burdensome to enter that everyone loses interest

in advance; one that won’t disintegrate into an unedifying bun-fight;

awards that won’t be dismissed as so worthy they can be ignored. In

short, they want a professional celebration of the craft of media.



Our response is the Campaign Media Awards (see pages 1 and 7), an

attempt to devise a set of awards that genuinely reflects the

extraordinary standard of media thinking contained in the British

industry today. They are focused on inspiring and rewarding great media

’ideas’ -hence the 500-word limit on entry lengths.



If you cannot express your idea in 500 words, the thinking goes, is

there really an idea present? (This column is usually around 475 words

long.)



Listening to some of the best-known media names in the country during

the consultation period leading up to these awards, it seems clear that

what’s wanted is a further public demonstration that media is at the

heart of what the British advertising industry is all about; that media

really does make a difference.



To my mind, such proof isn’t necessary, but who am I to argue? In the

post-MindShare climate, in the context of Tempus’s ongoing conversations

with True North, the Aegis/Zenith saga, the anticipated Leo Burnett/

TeleVest deal, Grey’s talks with the Media Business and all the other

whisperings in dark corners currently taking place across the globe, it

is safe to say there is no agency in the world, let alone an agency

grouping, that does not recognise it must sort out its media

operations.



And, after the rush of centralisations that have followed Procter &

Gamble’s US lead, even regional deals increasingly appear like a halfway

solution.



Martin Sorrell is surely right to argue that ’volume, volume, volume’ is

key on a global scale, and that affiliated research businesses are an as

yet undervalued sales tool for media agencies. However, when the next 18

months or so are out of the way and everyone has followed MindShare’s

lead and gone through those same merger pains, the real currency of the

future, when everyone has achieved scale, will remain ideas.



If the Campaign Media Awards succeed in inspiring, rewarding and

promoting excellent media ideas then they really will help make a small

difference.



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