Media Awards 2004: Looking to the future is the only option for media agencies

Sponsored by Yahoo! It's always a good idea to spend time with industry peers. It reminds you there are lots of talented and congenial people around and gives you the chance to share views. The judging for the Campaign Media Awards was such an occasion and I would like to thank the jury for their diligence, professionalism and good humour.

As we know, a media award entry is not straightforward. Unlike our creative counterparts, we cannot let a media plan "speak for itself"; nor can we enter ideas that the client did not approve, but nevertheless ran once somewhere in the Lake District at our expense. Judging brought home to me how the world has changed. But the awards are better for that and, this year, I think we have winners that clearly demonstrate the spectrum of opportunities available to us.

There was much discussion about the role of the media agency and who was truly the author of a campaign's success. Increasingly, the media are taking the credit. Is this a cause for concern? Our tendency to grumble has fed an identity crisis that has gripped the media agency world for years. Not so the media owners, who, more than ever, are demonstrating their contribution to new and exciting media thinking. Media agencies have spent the past few decades scaling the mountain of respectability and authority. The summit is now in sight. But we're wobbling. There's no point looking back and trying to recreate the so-called full-service glory days. In some ways, they were more fun, probably because things were easier and margins bigger - but nowhere near as challenging.

Nor is there any point debating who's really responsible for what we do.

If anything, these awards confirm the emergence of the media owner as the media planner.

If agencies and media owners can work together, respect each other's contributions and, ultimately, provide better communication platforms for the advertiser, then the other side of the mountain will be an exciting and enriching place. As Alexander Graham Bell wrote: "When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us."

Congratulations to all the entrants. Keep opening new doors.


Jon Wilkins - Partner, Naked Communications

Kelly Clark - Chief executive, MindShare

Bob Wootton - Director of media and advertising, ISBA

Ivan Pollard - Partner, The Ingram Partnership

Ben Hayes - Partner, Good Stuff

Marc Mendoza - Chief executive, Media Planning Group

Tim Allnut - Managing partner, Naked Inside

Hugo Drayton - Former managing director, Telegraph Group

Damian Blackden - Joint managing director, Universal McCann

James Kydd - Brand director, Virgin Mobile Telecoms

Phil Georgiadis - (Chairman of the judges) - Partner, Walker Media

Oliver Cleaver - European media director, Kimberly-Clark

Nigel Sharrocks - Chief executive, Aegis Media

Steve Henry - Creative director, HHCL/Red Cell

Charlie Makin - Chief strategic officer, BLM

Antony Young - Chief executive, ZenithOptimedia

Tess Alps - Chairman, PHD


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