Despite all the good work, media could have more ambition
A view from Katherine Levy

Despite all the good work, media could have more ambition

Boy, this year has gone fast. Remember the Olympics? Feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? It only finished 12 weeks ago. Can you remember what you did the weekend before last? Struggling? How about the most exciting thing to happen in media in Q1 2012? Taking a while?

It’s easy to get to the end of a year and torpedo towards Christmas, strategy for 2013 tattooed on your forearm, without taking a moment to look back at what has been achieved. It’s easy, in our supersonic existence, to forget how much is happening. This was the year, after all, that Facebook stopped being a private company, James Murdoch retreated from British shores, three iterations of the iPad launched after the death of Steve Jobs and a judge recommended more vigorous self-regulation of the British press.

2012 has been a theme-park ride of a year – it has been stomach-lurching, both in a somersault, exciting way and, for some media companies, in the retching way that nine pints, three Slippery Nipples and a 19-stone stripper from Weymouth might induce (the BBC is a case in point).

This year, we saw more consolidation, whether it was the Daily Mail group flogging its regional newspapers or Global Radio’s takeover of GMG Radio. In a recessionary climate, this is inevitable. What is less inevitable is awesome creativity, ambition, innovation and positive thinking.

Campaign spent hours discussing which company should be named our Media Agency of the Year in next week’s Annual. The reason it took hours rather than one hour (in bleak years, it has been known) is because, this year, the bar had been hiked noticeably higher.

You could put this down to technological developments. The more innovation and variety we see in media infrastructure, the more of a springboard there is for creativity. But, at the end of the day, creativity is not about the medium, it is about the idea. While agencies were agonising over what impact the European Union cookie law could have on online advertising or whether they should rethink their spending activity on Facebook, one media shop manifested a brand new advertising medium out of one of the most antiquated canvases we own: the theatre curtain. Now that is inspired thinking (well done, Carat).

In 2012, more media agencies have proven that they can own the big idea as well as push it through to consumers’ fingertips. But while there was more ambitious media buying, clever use of data and research and a greater sense of thinking big, there could be so much more to chew the fat over. Let’s please get to a stage where it takes Campaign days to decide who should be Media Agency of the Year, rather than hours (sorry, colleagues).