The message is out there, just a shame no-one
A view from Ian Darby

The message is out there, just a shame no-one

People at media agencies are busy. Over lunch, people from media agencies talk for a long time about how brain-achingly busy they are all day, every day, and sometimes at weekends. They sound busier than Scotland cricketers fielding against Australia.

Of course, it does wonders for your reputation to exaggerate your levels of busyness, but I'm starting to sense that some of these people might be telling the truth about how busy they are, because they don't sound too happy about it at all.

All of which makes me wonder how much time these busy people have to absorb the information that is around them. This struck me again after observing the competing media trade bodies fighting to get their messages across in the past couple of weeks.

A fortnight ago, we had the Thinkbox ?Experience to promote television

Its boss, Tess Alps, and her team have also been touring agencies to extol the virtues of TV. Then there was last week's event to relaunch the Radio Advertising Bureau, at which its new team announced a range of initiatives that will involve agency staff. Next up came PPA Marketing's launch of its new "revolution" campaign to "challenge the way agencies and clients regard magazine advertising in this evolving communication climate".

Three major trade body initiatives inside three weeks. Who has the time to keep up with all of this? Not many people I'd have thought, aside from the specialists in agencies whose job it is to look after each discipline.

What we're left with is people absorbing some, but not all, of the message. Anecdotal feedback I've had in the past few days includes positive feedback for the Thinkbox agency tour (if not the "Experience" event), because it involved a considerable degree of personal passion from Alps, alongside a "wait and see" view of the RAB's proposals, as there is a lurking suspicion they amount to a "bit more of the same".

These are just impressions from busy people who have taken the time to absorb a portion of the message. The worry for the media owners promoting their respective cases is that there are many fewer specialists in agencies to absorb the fuller argument.

Radio companies, in particular, should be worried that some agencies have dissolved their radio buying expertise into their TV department and no longer have a head of radio. Consequently, there is nobody to champion the medium within the agency. It might be different for print right now, but it seems to be going the same way, with heads of investment at agencies now often handling the press team as well as the broadcast team. Which might partly explain why the trade bodies are trying so hard. They will hope that there are still people with time enough to listen.

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