By the time you read this I will have lost my D&AD virginity -
surrendered my innocence and emerged, no doubt feeling slightly soiled
(I gather it’s a good night out), into the world of advertising
It’s ironic that my deflowering should occur in a year when there has
been so much furore over the pitiful calibre of entries in the D&AD
Ironic because part of the problem with the press category undoubtedly
lies in the gulf between media owners, media agencies and creative
departments; and ironic because I suspect the reason I’ve never been
invited (or managed to elbow my way in) to the D&AD awards before is due
to my, ahem, specialisation in all things media.
The truth is that the gap between media and creative is growing and it’s
never more apparent than when either side of the business gathers to
celebrate or debate the merits of its profession.
How many media agencies will have been at Olympia to cheer on their
clients and their creative colleagues this week? How many media owners
will have have been there to applaud the most brilliant advertising work
of the past 12 months, work that - when it’s this good - enhances their
medium and fills their pockets?
Despite the recent efforts of the IPA, there remains not only a lack of
interest in each other’s functions but sometimes a lack of respect.
A couple of weeks ago Campaign carried a front-page story about a pounds
360 million media review. One creative agency rang to complain that
their latest creative win (worth a fifth of the media account that was
up for grabs) had played second fiddle on the news page to a story they
considered to be of significantly less interest because ’it’s only
The media auditor John Billett claims to know of several instances
recently where media agencies have planned and bought campaigns for
advertisers without ever seeing the creative work that will run in the
spots and space they’ve booked.
Also, how often do creatives and media owners take time to talk to each
other about the editorial environments in which ads will run?
Would there have been more press work worthy of D&AD entry this year if
publishers had really sold their medium into creative departments?
It’s fatuous, of course, to argue that TV has fared perfectly well
without the broadcasters wooing creatives at every turn. But radio
creativity has thrived, in part, because of efforts by the Radio
Advertising Bureau to drive home the creative potential of this less
sexy medium. It’s surely time for a similar focus from newspapers and
It’s time, too, for creative agencies to focus less on media because
it’s exciting and sexy to produce work for (TV?) and more on those media
which are the most effective and cost-efficient for clients. Press
surely can’t be this far behind on such criteria.