Media: A moment with Marquis

Media agencies are in robust good health and there is no going back to the old full-service model. That was the clear signal from "Thirty Years of Independent Media" (Campaign, 21 July).

However much co-operation can be coaxed out of relationships with creative agencies, there will always be that bit of needle, that tension borne of now very divergent agendas. History will not repeat itself.

Clemmow Hornby Inge's avowed intention to create a 21st-century form of the full-service agency is, in this context, remarkable, if not downright perverse. What possible merit can such a set-up have when compared with the vast, diversely resourced media planning and buying groups? Before you shrug in "that's just the way it is" agreement, there may be several benefits to full service mark two - not all of them obvious ones.

First, there is the very real plus that the media planners and buyers work cheek by jowl with everyone else involved in the creation of advertising. This is blithely overlooked in our unbundled world, but it is one of the most significant things we lost from the full-service era. There used to be a healthy give and take on issues such as media choice, timelength, campaign phasing. These were not the media people's decisions in isolation - and why should they be? It is downright cranky to think creatives don't or shouldn't have a point of view about how long their TV commercials should be, or that account planners should'nt have their own ideas of which media mix best answers the brief. They didn't get their own way any more than the media people did; they worked out together.

Second, media buyers who really understand the ads they are placing, know their origin and the people who dreamt them up, will book their slots with rather more sensitivity than those for whom one 30-second ad is much like another, will they not? The clients may quite like the idea too when you think about it, and no doubt CHI has consulted extensively with theirs on the matter.

Not every advertiser wants all their ad people under one roof, but in this cash-strapped, procurement-driven world, there are still clients who like a team who stick close, know what they are doing and care, collectively, about the outcome.

There's one other plus to the full-service model. Media owners quite like it. Why should they not give that small, quirky agency a good deal? It will cost them little and is one in the eye for the slightly faceless mega-media groups. Good luck CHI - you may be on to a winner.

simon.marquis@haynet.com.

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