Should creative and media be closer?

Short of driving around London lobbing grenades through the windows of media agencies, Magnus Djaba could hardly have provoked a more rage-filled response from those feeling under attack.

"Patronising" and "smug" are among the more printable reactions to the article by the Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon UK group chief executive in last week’s Campaign. Djaba has effectively poked a stick into the media hornets’ nest with his claim that creativity is suffering due to a lack of cohesion between media planners and creatives. His argument is that the industry is now reaping the whirlwind that blew up when media and creative began separating in the 80s. He suggests that this has led to young media planners being too distanced from the creative work for it to be truly effective.

Unsurprisingly, media shops are abuzz with anger at any suggestion the media cart is being put before the creative horse. Nevertheless, Djaba’s observations beg the questions of whether creatives and media planners need to be working cheek by jowl and whether it’s necessarily wrong to put the channel before the idea.

Agency head

Richard Costa-D’sa, managing director, Jam

"Everybody can create content but the best way of getting it right is for a brilliant media agency – drawing on its data and technological know-how – to work with a brilliant creative agency that comes up with the cut-through ideas. My own previous experience of working in a media planning and buying environment leads me to believe that, although media agencies will say they want to do content, they don’t really. So, in some respects, Djaba is right. There is a tension between media and creative agencies that wasn’t there five years ago and there are too many cases of one side hiding its homework from the other."

Agency head

Sarah Golding, chief executive, CHI & Partners

"The answer is to return to full-service – as we have done at CHI – but not in the old-fashioned sense when media and creative worked in separate silos. Clients want holistic solutions and agencies are responding by becoming more joined up. When we get a client brief, we will get creative and media people around the same table from the very beginning in order to get a 360-degree solution. And it works. I don’t think we would have come up with TalkTalk’s highly successful sponsorship of The X Factor had we not done this."

Media strategy head

Matt Andrews, chief strategy officer, Mindshare

"The most progressive media brands constantly blend art and science to perfect their product. The old fixed-format content model is changing to a more fluid one. Brands such as BuzzFeed, Spotify, YouTube and The Guardian constantly evolve their product, bringing the creative ‘art’ side of their business face to face with the data ‘science’ side. This is where the future of content and media agencies is heading. We’ve always had the ‘science’, now we are investing in the ‘art’. We are living in a new era of content and media agencies are at the centre of it, collaborating with progressive media brands to create great content."

Media agency head

Nick Baughan, chief executive, Maxus UK

"I was disappointed to read what Djaba had to say, couched as it was in the language of division and agenda. Professionally, some of the most valuable and rewarding time I spend is within brilliant cross-agency communities who work together to get to the best possible results. It isn’t always easy but, in the spirit of the recently maligned Roy Castle, it does take dedication, good humour and, most importantly, goodwill. Maybe we are just lucky to work with these partners but I find it hard to believe that, in 2015, there is still a place for this kind of attitude."