Should media work closer with creative?

Some successful recent campaigns have benefited from the two disciplines collaborating closely. By Mark Banham.

While launching a new search for creative talent in partnership with D&AD last week, WPP’s chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, chose his words carefully when it came to defining creativity.

"Creativity is the beating heart of our business," he said. "There is no business without it. But it doesn’t belong exclusively to one discipline or another. Imagination, inventiveness, wit, ingenuity and talent are just as at home in media, PR, software development, data and research as they are in art and copy."

Technological developments appear to be fuelling a resurgence in the relationship between creative and media. Many breakthrough campaigns have the two elements working closely together. Take Bodyform’s viral hit "the truth", created by Carat and Rubber Republic, or the Twitter-enabled Mercedes-Benz "#youdrive" campaign, which was created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO with media by Maxus and social media by Holler.

Meanwhile, BETC London teamed up with the digital production company B-Reel to create the Baby & Me app, which morphs adults into babies to promote Evian. It took a simple idea that could have come from either a creative or a media shop.

It’s hard to define the cut-through idea for this year’s flu campaign from Kimberly-Clark. Was it the TV activity by JWT London or the data-mining work by Mindshare – which, according to its figures, pinpointed a 96 per cent accuracy rating in media spend and picked up a Cannes gold Lion? Similarly, the Territorial Army live TV work by JWT London, MediaCom and ITN Studios was another standout collaboration.

But not all campaigns have fused creative and media so successfully. Think of the many bus ads that continue to appear with QR codes attached – there are many reasons to run through the streets of London, but trying to get a reading on your mobile phone from the side of a bus is not one of them.

Similarly, Rowntree’s was among the brands to make the faux pas of including QR codes on some Tube posters earlier this year – anyone wishing to activate the codes would have had to stand on the tracks.

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