Media Department of the Year: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Capital M, meet Big C
In 2007, Media selected Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as its "Media Department of the Year," largely because it had obliterated its media department - fusing it with its account planning team to create a new "strategy department" that could well be the model for the future of agency media services. We've selected the agency for the second year in a row because it was able to demonstrate the fruits of that strategy in a way that will likely convince others to follow suit.
It also managed to do something that none of the major agency holding companies had at that point been able to pull off: elevating the role of media planners to "brand strategists." The industry is already feeling the ripple effect. WPP's GroupM has taken a page out of GS&P's book, going outside to acquire seminal communications planning and strategy boutique Michaelides & Bednash and fusing it into its Mindshare division to produce similar effects: the integration of media with strategy to produce more creative results (see Media Boutique of the Year profile).
"We injected real media expertise into the start and heart of the creative development process," explains Joshua Spanier, director of communications strategy at GS&P, "while at the same time demanding that media address real-world objectives and insights rather than continue with arcane (and increasingly outmoded) discussions of reach, frequency and ratings points." Spanier and director of brand strategy John Thorpe comanage the strategy team.
Clearly, GS&P has nailed the three main criteria we use to make selections - strategic vision, innovation and industry leadership - and in 2008, it proved how that works. The agency nearly swept Media's Creative Media Awards in late September, winning four awards, including the Business Media category for client Adobe's CS3 brand; New/Emerging Media for its work for the NBA Playoffs; Communications Channel Plan for client Häagen-Dazs; and Best In Show for the Häagen-Dazs campaign.
The Häagen-Dazs effort, which built a large, free-wheeling and highly viral campaign around a unique, brand-generated cause - a campaign to save the honeybee population that many Häagen-Dazs ingredients depend on - optimizes the new integrated strategy/creative/media approach, and is, we believe, the role model for the future of media services.
"2008 has been the first full year of an ongoing experiment in rethinking what and who we are," Spanier says, adding, "At least as far as we are concerned, we don't see Media (with a capital M) as something that sits apart from Creative (with a big C) thinking. At its best, relevant and well-chosen communication channel thinking is an amplifier to creativity and an accelerator to effectiveness. But at its very best, we believe it is a creative act in and of itself. We'd like to think that we've continued to test and blur the boundaries between what a creative department does and what a creatively attuned strategic function can add."