The Chicken Or The Egg?
It's a chicken or the egg question of which should drive campaign development, the media or the creative? The debate can be seen from both sides and neither side is completely right or wrong.
On one side of the argument, you can state that media should drive the development of a campaign, and many would argue this fact online. Media driven campaigns incorporate behavioral targeting and attentiveness into the equation, providing placements that pre-qualify the user based on their interests and desires. Matching needs and desires with products and services can then be established as the primary motivation for the development of a campaign, and no matter what creative you put in front of the user, they will react at least a portion of the time.
On the other side of the equation you can say that creative is what truly prompts the reaction from a user and the creative ideas should drive the development of a campaign. For example, understanding behavior and cultural trends will provide a set of parameters for a creative concept and the execution of that concept will help to determine what type of placements and vehicles one will select to reach a potential customer. When agencies brainstorm campaigns for clients they are typically asked to come up with "the big idea" first, which implies a creative concept before a media concept. The bastions of advertising have written books centered on creative, but rarely do you see philosophical books written that are based on the usage of media in advertising. I know there are some, but they are certainly outweighed by those on creative.
It's a difficult question and one that I don't think is easily answered. It is only challenged by the question of whether advertising is art or science (of which I argue it is both). I guess my bias in the past would have been to answer this question closer to the media side of the equation but I also believe in the power of "the big idea" and its effect on the development of a campaign. Media may drive the initial brainstorm by identifying the proper placements for a campaign, but creative is what adds the cement. Creative revises the brainstorm and provides a face to the campaign. It's similar to the tonnage strategy for buying media. The theory is if you can buy it cheap, and buy enough of it, then it will work. The kicker is that if you have lousy creative, then your placements need to be cheaper and you never get the level of quality in your placements that would have a positive effect ton your brand. Tonnage is a short-term solution to a short-term problem. Strong creative does more than solve a short-term problem; it builds a long-term relationship. Good creative provides longevity to your campaign and adds an intangible quality to the creative you decide to run.
Good creative is important when considering your media placements. Does this answer the question? Not entirely, but it gives me a place to start from.
What are your opinions?