Never again let it be said that media folk are over-paid animals
whose idea of hard work is a week-long jolly in the Moroccan desert
courtesy of Discovery Channel (hope you’re enjoying it, guys). If ever
proof were needed that this is an industry that knows how to work its
gonads off, last week’s Marketing Forum on the Oriana did the job.
Fifteen-hour days, then six hours on duty in the bar, had clearly taken
their toll by the time 1,000 bloodshot-eyed delegates rolled on to
Southampton dock on Saturday morning.
For those of you blissfully unfamiliar with the Marketing Forum, let me
explain. Described by some as a great new-business opportunity and by
others as hell on water, the Marketing Forum throws together about 500
clients, with roughly the same number of exhibitors drawn from agencies,
media companies, research specialists and marketing services companies.
The whole cargo then sails round the English Channel for a couple of
days of hard work, hard schmoozing and hard drinking.
But, oh, how so many exhibitors got it so wrong. No wonder one poor
client fell asleep at the breakfast table. First there were those who
tried to cram facts about the number of employees/size of
departments/old case studies/nature of office kitchen sink into a
25-minute ’what we can do for you’ chat. Then there were the exhibitors
who greeted their dinner guests with a pile of brochures and a
non-too-subtle pitch over the hors d’oeuvres (count the discarded
brochures when the lights went up in the bar at 3am).
Glad to say, however, that media specialists have done themselves
Most eschewed the formal presentation (’We just want clients to go away
thinking we’re nice guys who have something interesting to say,’ one
said) and, of the clients I spoke to, there seemed to be a new interest
in, and enthusiasm for, what media companies could add to their
Two great examples stood out for me. First was the ingenious
mini-brochure that Manning Gottlieb Media handed out. The size of a
business card, it contained a number of small cards with facts about MGM
and the media industry - a really clever, neat and subtle way of making
a host of points.
Top marks, too, to Optimedia for one of the brightest ideas and one that
was hard to ignore. The agency had booked ad spots on Sky News - one of
only a handful of TV channels available on board - promoting Optimedia
as an innovative media specialist. Spots were booked in the hours before
breakfast and dinner and were guaranteed to cut through the heaviest
Media marketing is clearly moving on from the days of volume and price
(important though such issues remain) and with creative ideas like
these, the media agencies on board were more than giving the creative
agencies a run for their money.