MEDIA PERSPECTIVE: Divided media and creative will not be able to last for long

There are an awful lot of unhappy divorcees in the ad business.

Far from the decree absolut calling a truce, the final split seems to have fuelled an endless round of bitter rows, financial fracas and bloody custody battles.

Ask most media agencies who they have their worst relationship with and the answer is inevitably the creative agency with whom they once happily shared a house. Such sour relationships are symptomatic of the disconnect that has grown between the creative and media sides of the business since those good old days when media and creative sat side by side in pursuit of the perfect ad campaign.

A good ten years after media made its bid for freedom, there are two types of media professional (for the purposes of this week's column anyway) - those who really celebrate the creative work they're actually booking media for, and those who talk about prices and numbers and models and leave you wondering if they would recognise great creative if it came attached to a Lion.

And, in the spirit of neat corollaries, there are those creatives who do their creating without much of a notion of the make-up, cost, availability or flexibility of the medium in which they envisage their beautiful ad finally appearing.

Such ignorance is bad for business, clients' business anyway. But it's also bad for the soul of the advertising industry. So the IPA and, more specifically, Mandy Pooler of The Channel and Robert Campbell of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R are trying to do something about it.

At this week's Campaign Creative Conference, Pooler and Campbell unveiled a rebellious Manifesto for Revolution, designed to get creatives and media people back in step. And, because if the divide continues to widen advertising will become less relevant and effective, it's also a manifesto for survival. Briefly, this call to arms involves unifying creative and media briefs and strategy and recognising and awarding such unity; junking the jargon and remembering people are not numbers on a spreadsheet; thinking beyond the TV commercial while respecting that there are places people don't want to see commercial messages; making sure clients don't come between the alliance of media and creative; educating media people about creative issues and vice-versa.

Sadly, many of the heel-digging creatives and media people are old enough to remember the good/bad old days and are determined to protect their bottom line. Worse, many clients have a vested interest in keeping the two disciplines apart - it's cheaper in the short term and in recession few see beyond that. The industry's new creative and media blood seems more interested in finding ways to share the vision, close the divide and squeeze more fun and stimulation from their work. And chances are they'll respect each other more than the wedded creative and media departments of old.


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