Media Perspective: Adland's creativity, not Nazi Germany's, gets the thumbs up

Bryan Ferry's attempts to put an "art history perspective" on the Nazi regime backfired spectacularly last week. Lord only knows what the ageing rocker was up to, but he can perhaps expect a few unwelcome invites to croon at BNP rallies as a result of his remarks.

Others have expressed similar views in a more elegant and detached manner. As the late American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, a man of German origin who fought the Nazis, had one of his characters say of World War 2: "Our war would live forever in showbiz, as other wars would not, because of the uniforms of the Nazis."

Judging by recent events, the brighter echelons of the media agency world are now staging their own attempts to "live forever in showbiz". Although whether a few of the ropier examples of ad-funded programming stand the test of time is open to question.

A fortnight ago, Group M's head of strategy, Nick Emery, wrote in Campaign about its many links with Hollywood. This was followed last week by the staging of the newly created Venice Festival of Media, held in a glamorous venue that served to attract more than its share of leading lights from across the Atlantic to talk about content.

And how appropriate, perhaps, that its theme should be creative media, given that it coincided with WPP's acquisition of a 49.9 per cent stake in Clemmow Hornby Inge. Part of the attraction of the deal lies in the chance for the ad agency to work closely with WPP's Group M on media planning and buying activity.

As described elsewhere in this issue, the details on this are hazy, but the deal provides yet another example of the changing dynamic between media and creative. Put bluntly, media networks are chasing creative opportunities, creating or funding their own content, and creative agencies now recognise the value of having media thinking, and even buying clout, within their premises.

The only question is how will all this end? Not in a replication of the old full-service model. Yet there seems little point in creative agencies talking the talk unless they allow media/communications planners to work closely with their own planners and creatives. This is already happening (we've seen the PHD Seed joint venture between PHD and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, and CHI's own comms planning venture, headed by Tim Allnutt, has been doing it for a while across several clients). Word is now that OMD planners are set to work closely with their counterparts at DDB London.

The impact of all this on media buying is less clear, but hopefully we are witnessing the evolution of a new model, rather than the decampment of buying departments to sheds in the corners of overseas call centres. That wouldn't be very showbiz at all.