Campaign podcast: Bringing creative and media together (but not just for big brands)

Simon Davis, founder of Walk-In Media, explains why a new generation of smaller 'long-tail' advertisers should not be ignored by big agencies.

Simon Davis (right), and ads for Macmillan (top left) and Ikea (bottom left)
Simon Davis (right), and ads for Macmillan (top left) and Ikea (bottom left)

Campaign's media and tech editor, Omar Oakes, and creativity and culture editor, Brittaney Kiefer, take a closer look at the first major ad campaigns of the year.

The pair discuss how far consumer brands like Ikea can credibly promote sustainability and climate change awareness, and how effective the British Army's latest recruitment ad is likely to be.

Then Walk-In Media chief executive and founder Simon Davis talks about his agency's recent merger with Agenda21 and how the big network media buyers are neglecting smaller "long-tail" advertisers at their peril. 

Davis says there has always been a desire from brands for agencies to offer integrated creative and media services, but now there are more fast-growing direct-to-consumer advertisers that “need it now” as they look to expand through marketing.

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“They need media and creative working together now but they also need smart data and the fusing of performance and brand, which is a sort of artificial division that has crept into our industry but is of no interest to a DTC brand. Integration is something that’s becoming increasingly hard to offer because of the structure," Davis says.

"At agencies, particularly the big agencies, capability is becoming increasingly centralised and it’s only really the big clients that get all the good stuff in terms of data and performance media. Our mission is to make sure all sizes of clients can get the best data and digital out there which is not currently widely available.”

Davis is also critical of “legacy” thinking by consultancies that assist advertisers with media account reviews, claiming that “the deck is stacked” against smaller agencies winning big clients. He questions why the7stars, the UK’s biggest independent media shop, does not have a “massive” client.

“We’re working in an industry that needs educating. We have a lot of intermediaries that will judge the eligibility of an agency based on the proportion of billings to the size of the client. I’ve learned very quickly that there are intermediaries who will look at your client base and say: ‘If this client will represent more than 40% of your overall billings, then that’s too big for you.’

"That’s never been the case. It’s not the way that ad agencies work, it’s not the way the likes of [New Commercial Arts] pick up big bits of new business… Intermediaries have for a long time worked on the basis that big clients go to big agencies."

Running order (click links to see the Work on Campaign's website):
9:00 - Ikea "Fortune favours the frugal" by Mother
16:00 - Macmillan Cancer Support "Whatever it takes" by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
22:00 - The British Army "Fail, learn, win" by Karmarama
27:30 - Where are all the January travel ads? (apart from On The Beach "Someday" by Uncommon Creative Studio)
30:00 - Simon Davis interview

This episode was hosted by Omar Oakes and edited by Lindsay Riley.