There's nothing particularly interesting about a big fat
But if someone bashes you round the head with one often enough, it's
hard not to take notice.
So my frequent exposure to the ads for the Formula One rival Rockingham
is beginning to irk. It's not simply that the ads are bad - nothing
unusual there. What really nags is that they are such an appalling
high-profile example of a creative brief being put through the hands of
an established strategic agency rather than the traditional creative
It would be heartening to think that media and strategic communications
companies really could put new skills where their mouths are and take
lead agency status away from the creative agencies.
I'd love to see media agencies with the client trust and brand nous to
handle a creative brief. And I don't mean write some ads. I mean choose
the best creative talent for the client's needs, brief the creative
team, nurture the creative process and marshall some bloody good ads
that really work with the right media for the target market, rather than
primarily look good in the creative's portfolio.
From the launch of strategic agencies such as Michaelides & Bednash
(responsible for Rockingham) and Unity to the creation of Tempus
Partners, more and more people with media and marketing backgrounds are
aspiring to exactly this.
These agencies claim to be wriggling under the skins of brands, getting
closer to the heart of clients' business issues and dragging with them a
whole understanding of consumer behaviour and media consumption that
creative agencies increasingly lack. Surely this is a better starting
point for the creation of effective advertising.
That's the theory. But what M&B's Rockingham work has highlighted is
that client understanding and consumer awareness count for nothing
without great creative work. What does it matter if the brand
positioning is spot on, the definition of the target market pin-point
accurate and the media selection the most effective yet inventive, if
when the right people see the right brand message in the right place the
creative leaves them cold?
The truth is that the best creative talent is still to be found at the
best creative agencies, not knocking around on the freelance circuit
waiting for projects to be handed to them by media agencies. And few of
the best creative agencies are happy to cede all but creative execution
to a media agency.
So how about creative agencies trying to play media and strategic
agencies at their own game - embracing all the brand awareness, media
understanding and consumer insight but anchoring it to brilliant
creativity? Sounds familiar, I know. But it would require creatives to
give media the status it deserves and still few seem capable or savvy
enough to consider that.