Staff Reporters
Nov 6, 2013

Collaboration: Keep creative agencies in the loop

MEDIA DEBATE: Tempting as it is to hold new innovations close to the chest, experts agree media agencies should work harder to share insights with their creative counterparts

L-R: Harty, Kelly, Phu
L-R: Harty, Kelly, Phu

Matthew Harty

General manager
Accuen Asia-Pacific

We all want our clients to win. To make this happen we need to offer the best expertise and advice. We also need to get the pieces working together. 

There have been some interesting advances in digital display advertising. Programmatic advertising can tailor the advertising to the user. This leads to much more targeted media buying, but also opens an opportunity to improve the message. 

The disconnect between creative and media agencies has led to some frustration on both sides. The creative folk have not been able to necessarily see their strategies fully implemented. 

If the creatives gain a working knowledge of the capabilities of programmatic advertising, then they can use their knowledge of the sales paths for their customers to build end-to-end sales strategies. The creative messaging they provide enacts programmatically and changes as the individuals the campaign targets pass through the milestones of the sales process. The media agencies need to educate and assist the creative agencies to make this possible.

Graham Kelly 

Regional ECD
Isobar APAC

The bean counters were happy after media and creative agencies split, but the creatives were not. Now we can’t just walk down the corridor and bounce ideas off our media counterparts. 

This separation has hurt both sides. Media agencies can’t make the most of the new opportunities that innovations offer. That’s because they don’t get to work closely with a bunch of lateral-thinking creatives who could explore the possibilities these innovations provide.  

For example, when video display formats first came out, some media companies would simply plonk on a badly compressed version of the client’s TVC. In the hands of experienced creative, these early attempts would have been so much more. 

Media agencies should regularly let the creatives know what’s out there; share the latest advances in media; give them the benefit of the latest learnings. Agency creatives love to find out about this stuff. This is in our own best interest after all, because anything that helps us produce ground-breaking creative work is immensely important.  

Conversely, if the media agencies keep the sexy new stuff to themselves, then chances are they’ll be churning out formulaic ideas that don’t excite their target audience, or their clients. 

I don’t believe I’m overstating the role that creative can play in media innovation. Just look at the award winners from this year’s media categories at the big shows—much of the winning work came from creative agencies working independently of media partners. Imagine what they might accomplish together.

Eric Phu

Eric Phu Consulting

Rather like the Prisoner’s Dilemma, at a holistic level, it is in the interest of both parties to cooperate. But at an individual level, it makes more sense to pursue pure rational self-interest. So should media agencies share new capabilities with their creative counterparts? Most definitely, just as creative agencies can be doing more to share ideas with their media counterparts.

It’s ultimately a symbiotic relationship. It’s not a zero-sum game where one can only win by making the other lose; it works best when everyone prospers in the long run. And everyone wins when the client does, and can increase the budget for all parties. If that isn’t self interest, then I don’t know what is.


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