The question was brought into focus last week by Phil Georgiadis, the Walker Media chairman, who speculated on what might have caused the split between WCRS and BMW after 35 years.
Georgiadis wonders if it had anything to do with a change in the BMW media strategy. He argued the media strategy was now less clear than the one that used to be masterminded by a multi-disciplined team that set about showcasing WCRS’s outstanding creative work.
Nobody doubts that creatives should have their say on media strategy. But some believe this is becoming increasingly difficult because media has become such a specialist and fast-moving discipline. Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe that creatives won’t remain perpetually isolated from media. One is that the pace of media evolution will slow, allowing creatives to get to grips with it again. The other is the return of the full-service agency with creatives included in the teams tasked with solving clients’ business problems.
Paul Brazier, chief creative officer and chairman, Abbott Mead
"Creatives aren’t as involved in media strategy as they should be. And that’s because creative and media departments are no longer in the same building and their people don’t get to know each other. Sometimes media people even helped develop the creative idea. I’m fortunate in being able to influence media plans to some degree. But lots of creatives are forced to work in a vacuum. It doesn’t mean everybody needs to be within a single agency, but it’s important to create an environment in which creative and media freely overlaps. Media may be more complex – but the answers are not."
Paul Kitcatt, chief creative officer, Kitcatt Nohr
"Creatives are less involved with media strategy because media has become so complex. There was a time when it was just about TV and print. That’s no longer the case with digital having become a ‘catch-all’ for a huge range of communication from social media to content. The media discipline has become so specialised and, although some creatives may have an interest in a particular area, expecting them to understand an entire media strategy is a big ask. However, I think it will get better as the pace of change slows and as full-service agencies return to offer the business solutions clients need."
Gerry Moira, chairman and director of creativity, Havas Worldwide London
"All right-minded creative people want to get involved and to talk directly with the media specialists. The adage that ‘the media is the message’ has never been more true. We’d all like to see a return of the full-service agency in a new form and, some three decades after creative and media split, it’s actually starting to happen again. Not least because centralisation is everything now. While it may be in holding companies’ interests to keep creative and media separate, the fact is that channel planning is at the heart of what we and other agencies now do."
Caitlin Ryan, group executive creative director, Karmarama
"Creatives are becoming more rather than less involved in media strategy because creative context is now so important, particularly when it comes to digital. The return of the full-service agency is a sign that things are moving in the right direction. That said, there’s still progress to be made in getting brand communication more relevant and it’s incredibly important that creatives are part of that process. Many agencies may recognise the importance of creatives being involved in media, but this isn’t always easy to pull off. What’s certain is that there will be more media thinking within creative departments."