The Channel 4 TV Planning Awards 2006: Introduction

Creativity and media are two words that are not frequently seen out together. In fact, they are most often conjoined in debates about whether creative agencies should kidnap media strategists and drag them back in-house.

Yet there is no longer any question that media is a creative business and that creative media thinking can truly make the difference between a campaign's success and failure. The notion that creative media thinking is a portable skill that can be wrenched from the rest of the media process is an impertinent one.

Even so, the media industry has never been especially good at celebrating its creativity, all too often allowing the tangible creative agencies' work to dominate the headlines and the awards. As a result, it becomes easier to drive media back into a box labelled "commodity".

It's ironic that this should still be the case at a time when the media landscape is more complex than ever. With the world going digital and media-consumption habits undergoing seismic and irreversible change, clever media strategy is now an absolute imperative.

And the onus is on media owners as well as media agencies to ensure that clients get the best media strategies for reaching and stimulating this fragmented and ad-weary audience.

These awards have quickly established themselves as a benchmark of excellence in creative media thinking and a lasting celebration of the strategic skills required to give media campaigns that crucial stand-out factor. Many thanks to our illustrious jury for making some difficult selections from a stimulating and inspiring batch of entries and to Channel 4 for having the foresight to champion media at its best.