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
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
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
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.