Media Perspective: Generosity of spirit is the rule among the mediaagencies

The myth that The Guardian is populated by peace-loving beatniks sporting Jesus sandals was shattered for me once and for all last Saturday.

The paper's editorial team donned their spikiest stilettos and stomped all over The Daily Telegraph, with a prominent front-page story on the departure of its editor, the "latest twist in the paper's turbulent history".

Just how fascinated readers were by this industry navel-gazing is open to question, but it certainly displays the gloves-off mentality of The Guardian in its Berliner period.

Rivalry is all well and good, but you just wonder how well the likes of The Guardian and Telegraph Group can work together through the Newspaper Marketing Agency when pot shots are flying in editorial sections.

Bitter rivalries are ten a penny in newspapers and sometimes there isn't much love lost between the TV companies either. Agencies, however, seem slower to bash each other.

That's perhaps why, initially at least, many agencies were reluctant to enter or critique work for Campaign's weekly Strategy Analysis piece.

Coinciding with the Campaign Media Awards, this week sees the 50th strategy review in Campaign since the section launched just over a year ago: a good enough excuse to give credit where credit is due. The average score for the work from the 23 agencies that have taken part is 3.27, with two campaigns (from BLM Media for Maxim magazine and Ingram for the Olympic Bid) securing top marks.

Credit should go to Rocket for submitting the most campaigns (five campaigns for five different clients) and to ZenithOptimedia, BLM Media and Carat for each submitting four. BLM Media was the most successful agency, averaging a score of four across four campaigns, Rocket averaged 3.8, and ZenithOptimedia 3.5.

It was encouraging to see that big buying shops, such as Carat and Universal McCann, are as capable of good work as the smaller, planning-led specialists.

Even more encouraging were small signs of integrated campaigns where the media agency genuinely understood the direct communications angle of the campaign (credit especially to Monkey Communications and MC&C).

On the whole, the strategy section has provided a good general snapshot of the quality of work coming out of UK agencies. Of course, with the Campaign Media Awards themselves, we only see the winners (so well done Media Planning Group for winning the real Gold Award), but with the Strategy Analysis we've been able to cringe at some of the duffers too. But, as if to illustrate how kind agency people are to one another, there was just a sole example of a reviewer giving a campaign one out of five. If Tim Allnutt at Naked Inside is reviewing your work, be very afraid.

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