Imagine a future where instead of seeking assurances that their
agencies keep all their information entirely confidential, clients ask
their agencies (media or creative) to share their plans with other
It couldn’t happen, right? Wrong. It may already be starting. Five
Japanese companies are together developing one brand to update their
images. Aimed at young, urban Japanese women, the new brand, called
WiLL, aims to include a car, a fridge, a beer, a deodorant, a computer
and a holiday.
The idea of five companies jointly owning and developing one brand marks
a shift from old marketing sense to new marketing sense.
This collaboration between non-conflicting clients has several benefits:
it has reverence for the power of the brand. It also allows
multi-dimensional products to be marketed under that brand name without
stretching credibility or quality because companies do not have to
operate outside their areas of expertise. It exploits the efficiencies
of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. And it makes the
brand tangible in many different ways at once, allowing the co-operating
WiLL companies to surround their target audience in a way that very few
single-company brands are able to do.
For all these reasons, we can expect to see more such partnerships.In
fact, I am already seeing more and more examples where clients are
seeking to find partners among our other clients to use their combined
resource and expertise to tackle a particular problem target market.
What better than a media agency or full-service agency to promote these
kind of partnerships; after all, we know the brands, we know the
strategies, we know the target markets.
We are actively promoting the idea of surrounding a target audience.
Because, as more people become ad-avoiders, it’s no longer any use
waiting for them to become ’available’ to view traditional media. You
have to hunt them down.
Rather than putting the brand in front of the target market merely when
they are technically ’available to view’, we must look for the times
when, and places where, the target market is open to the particular
message offered by the advertising.
For example, for a fashion advertiser you could use any of the times
when the target market is thinking fashion (from ads in Ally McBeal to
posters in shopping centres).
Selling the same brand to the target market - but with different product
offerings during the relevant moments - fits the real lives of the
target market brilliantly.
So rather than thinking about share of voice or dominating a medium, we
should think about share of a particular mind-frame, and aim to dominate
Perhaps in the future, we will see more requests for us to lower the
traditional Chinese walls between client teams and drive communication
solutions purely by the best answer, so long as there is a clear win/win
Sue Unerman is the director of strategic solutions at MediaCom TMB.