PERSPECTIVE: Global rush to get hitched disguises a localised reality

Blink and you might miss one. A new global media deal, that is.

Blink and you might miss one. A new global media deal, that is.



They’ve been coming along recently with all the regularity of a Gazza

piss-up and with something of the same sort of desperate

determination.



In the last few weeks we’ve had Initiative Media and Western going

incestuous and getting into bed together to form a single global media

network, Young & Rubicam unfurling its worldwide media flag and, last

week, Leo Burnett and MediaVest nudging closer to blissful union.



The result has been not only a fresh emphasis on global media alliances

but also a new interest in the business of media, as clients with

international brand strategies and creative treatments look for

international media strategies and strong international media networks.

The transfer of best practice, systems and research across borders will

become crucial to servicing a client’s media needs and hinge on a

unified media network. So, we can expect more investment in media across

the board.



There can be few in the media industry who don’t welcome such

developments, thrusting, as they do, media to the centre stage. The

current rush for global credentials may be rather more knee-jerk

reaction than beautifully planned strategy, but the effect is to take

media to the top of the agenda.



Trouble is, it’s very easy to get carried away with sticking flags on

maps and making alliances in the belief that big boy status is a scarce

commodity amid predictions of a global media market dominated by just a

handful of major players. The waving of big willies is all well and

good, but, as the cliche goes, it’s not (just) how big it is, it’s what

you do with it.



With all the talk of size and muscle, it’s easy to forget that a network

is, after all, simply a string of good local offices which work

coherently under a central steer. And not only a string of local offices

but a collection of individuals who matter to the clients they work

with.



The fate of CIA Medianetwork - already much picked over in the pages of

Campaign - is a fine illustration of the point. No matter how much you

respect Chris Ingram, or endorse the CIA network’s international

credentials, it won’t save local business.



At the same time, Procter & Gamble may have awarded its TV, outdoor and

radio media accounts to Burnetts and MediaVest last week, safe in the

knowledge that the appointments had some synergy with its arrangements

on the other side of the Atlantic, but there’s no doubt that the

personalities who will be handling the business here more than played

their part in the win.



Which is heartening. Because, after years of being the poor cousins of

their creative colleagues, it would be a shame if the people that have

driven the UK media business to the fine status it enjoys today became

simply numbers on a global creds sheet.



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