Small agency calls for more innovation

Media owners urged to provide creative alternatives

Kevin May

Smaller agencies without the financial clout of big-spending clients are finding themselves down the pecking order in terms of creativity from media owners.

A plea from Total Media to advertising bosses across the industry to find inventive solutions for small-budget campaigns comes just months after another agency outside the so-called bighitters criticised the national press for failing to be innovative.

Highlighting the plight of its raft of publishing clients, which have a collective spend of around £13m a year but often only book small, individual campaigns, Total Media account manager Peita Pacey has bemoaned the lack of thought given to providing exciting alternatives.

“We spent more than £9.6m in national press alone last year for our publishers and the reasoning is simple – it’s effective and it’s affordable,” Pacey said. “But we’re a little bored of 20x3s [a standard ad size]. Please give us an alternative.

“We don’t want to be told that our half page is stuck down the back near the classified section of a magazine and that we should be grateful that it’s in at all.

“When we brief for new ideas on how to use press, we don’t want the response to be: ‘Sure, that’s two 20x4s you can do.’” The complaint is not only limited to the press sector. The situation many small agencies find themselves in was highlighted when Pacey outlined how the agency had only booked advertising for a particular outdoor campaign when JCDecaux and Adshel had came up with a decent proposal that returned the best creative idea.

“While individually each campaign may seem like small fries to most media owners, collectively surely these budgets are nothing to be laughed at?” Pacey argued.

However, one agency boss criticised the outburst, claiming the enthusiasm for being creative often only matched the individual campaign’s cost.

PHD press director Adam Crow added: “Some media owners just have fixed configurations and want to maximise revenues.”