Blurred CreativeAnd Media Lines Are Good For The Bottom Line

A recent blog post asked well-known senior creatives what they thought the agency creative team of the future would look like. They talked about the importance of writers and programmers and technologists; however, no creatives actually put media at the table when they described their teams.

How can this be?

In my world, the lines between media and creative are blurred. Media and creative walk hand in hand, since creativity is an expectation from both. The best ideas fall flat without media to bring them to the world and ensure they reach the right audience.

And highly efficient and targeted media buys that aren’t wanted or relevant will either be ignored or filtered by the audience. This leaves no space between media and creative. We now share a common goal; to create connections and experiences.

In the past, media focused on smart budget allocations based on reach and frequency, but today media is much more complex. The numbers will always be a priority, but with empathy-based media planning, we place the person, not a metric, at the center.



We want our messages to add value to people’s lives. And our focus is not on the distribution method, it is on attracting people to our message via good ideas.

Instead of launching a product with ads, our media and creative team recently partnered with the History channel to create a week with uniquely themed content. This unconventional idea not only broke traffic records for our client, but also boosted ratings for the History channel, creating a win-win for all parties. This could not have happened without media and creative collaborating from ideation to execution.

The old model of creative presenting ads and media presenting a flowchart at the end of the pitch is long gone. We aren’t buying from a rate card anymore; we’re using negotiation and partnership skills to co-create and make the impossible possible.

Creative and media together make certain the message is relevant and adds value to consumers’ lives, based on the idea, the audience and the engagement. There’s a symbiosis that will only get stronger in the future.

I felt this power of shared inspiration recently at a Google conference, sitting next to my chief creative director. I knew we could walk out the door and together make things happen immediately. I didn’t have to sell an idea to a creative team, and he didn’t have to fight with media for budget. With media and creative starting out at the table together, the innovation journey goes further, faster.

If you’re not giving media a seat at your agency creative team table, and if creative and media aren’t pitching, presenting and working in tandem, you may want to rethink your strategy to include the people who are ultimately responsible for connecting your ideas to the outside world.

There are a lot of great concepts that die within the halls of an agency, but including media early on is one way to increase the chances that the next one sees the light of day.

2 comments about "Blurred CreativeAnd Media Lines Are Good For The Bottom Line ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, August 12, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

    Nicole, I've been preaching what you wrote in your excellent piece for years. Unfortunately, at the traditional branding agencies, true integration of the "creative" and "media" functions remains only a dream and, at this point, I see little hope of changes in the offing. All to often the creatives work on positioning strategies for new campaigns on the assumption that their ads will be seen in primetime TV shows. And that's what they come up with----primetime TV commercials, often without regard for when and where these messages will actually air. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against TV. Indeed, I bristle when I hear silly statements like "TV is dead" or "say goodby to the 30-second spot". That's nonsense. But in today's advertising world, the creatives rarely talk with the media planners on a meaningful level. As a result, the creatives do not realize what the media people could do to enhance their campaigns by getting their messages seen at the most opportune times, in the most effective sequences, in the most relevant and supportive environments, etc. And the planners are often left in the dark about how campaigns are developed, the underlying marketing and creative strategies, how campaigns are evaluated, etc. Hence the reliance on formula media targeting and planning approaches.

    From time to time, we encounter exceptions to the situation, described above, often involving "new media"and sometimes TV, even in "linear" form. So please don't beat me up for pointing out the general lack of integration between creative and media, guys. Sometimes it happens---and that's great for the agency and the client. But far too often, the two functions are compartmentalized with each doing its own "thing". Supposedly the agency account groups are tasked with the job of coordinating the various functions, and I've seen heroic attempts to do just this. But most of the time everyone involved is simply not speaking the same language----if they speak at all.

  2. Hugh Kennedy from pja advertising + marketing, August 13, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

    Awesome post. It's hard to imagine creative and media apart, but all too often they are.

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