Meribel Ad Festival: Media Cristal

This is a time of tremendous change - and it's affecting everyone. There is hardly a market sector, business or person that has not been able to change, or forced to, thanks to the influence and availability of digital technologies.

Yet all too often the response in our own industry seems reluctant, half-hearted or ill-considered. And this is especially true of agencies. I find this puzzling, given they are actually in a good place to respond positively to the turbulence - being freer of the legacy systems and infrastructure that often make it harder for brand manufacturers and media owners to change their own business models.

That is a shame, given the scale of the opportunity. In our newly converging world, boundaries are on the move. The traditional notion of what counts as planning, creativity and media no longer apply. At the same time, new channels and disciplines are erupting. Where overall processes and responsibilities were once clear, now they are not.

Yet these are issues that agencies must address if they are to continue delivering value to clients and making brands successful. Marketing and advertising are every bit as important to the success of brands today than in the past.

This is why the Meribel Advertising Festival is so valuable. It is a barometer able to take a measure of who is responding successfully to change, and how.

Therefore I am looking forward to seeing a number of things this year. Starting with who can successfully deliver specialist excellence in all areas of communication, both new and established, while integrating them effectively into a holistic programme. I want to see who has developed strategies away from a campaign-led approach to one that embraces the kind of continuous marketing needed for an "always-on" world.

I also want to see whose work leverages the networks and connections of a brand's most valuable consumers to spread the word and increase its influence. And who is producing the really big ideas and making them happen?

This is why it is such an exciting time for our industry. After all, the big strategic questions for brands remain the same. It is the solutions to those questions that have to change. In such a complex world, this takes big ideas, planned around the consumer, not around channels. Brilliantly executed ideas that encourage interaction and don't just talk at the consumer. Not easy, but that is why we are here.

- Susannah Outfin's first agency role was as a management accountant at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; she moved into the agency's media department in 1990. In 1996 Outfin moved to Paris as media director at Ammirati Puris Lintas. She worked across a portfolio of FMCG advertisers such as Unilever and Nestle. In 2000, lured by the Carat brand and a move to a media independent, she joined Carat Global Management as vice-president. Outfin has worked across a portfolio of clients in both London and Paris including Renault, Danone, Beiersdorf, SCA and LVMH. In 2003, she was promoted to CEO of Carat Global Management.

Winner: Media Cristal 2006
Title: Sprite Zero Nordic
Campaign: Product Sprite Zero
Client: Coca-Cola Nordic Services
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Denmark


Entry deadline 26 October 2007. Award ceremony 13 December 2007 in Meribel.