In an interview with Business Insider, five-decade ad vet and DDB Worldwide Chairman Keith Reinhard thinks it was a mistake for media and creative to separate all those years ago. It was, of course, driven by the notion media was a commodity and that tonnage and clout where the only things that mattered.
Reinhard sees a shift back to the integration of media and creative like it was back in the good old days.
First positioning the role of creative, Reinhard said, "We only had two questions to answer in the creative department: What shall we say? And how shall we say it? The research told us what and it was up to our imaginations to work out how to say it on TV, radio, and press. The question of when and where the ads were placed was left for the last five minutes of the presentation, when we'd hand off to the media department and they'd place it on the most strategic TV slots."
Of course, when and where are just as important as what and how. Explaining, Reinhard said, "When the media explosion began in the US with the introduction of cable TV and multiple channels, we moved that when and where right up to the top. We asked when and where the consumer was most likely to engage with the brand message, and that started to influence the where and how."
While even at the height of the unbundling of media and creative, the two, in many ways, were still intertwined. But layers of bureaucracy and disparate corporate entities made it more difficult for media (the when and the where) to truly integrate with creative (the what and the how).
Any agency person with half a brain and a few years of experience will tell you that a media strategy can greatly influence and creative strategy and, in turn, a creative strategy can greatly influence a media strategy.
That integrated approach led to brilliantly nuanced campaigns. The unbundling resulted in creatives telling clients "We've got these cool ads" and media people telling clients, "We've got 3 million GRPs for $1." The problem, of course, was that rarely did either side discuss their individual strategies with the other side prior to client presentations. Sure, it worked most of the time but it also left a ton of coolly integrated ideas on the table.
Huh? What?! With all due respect to Keith Reinhard, who's career is storied and legendary (and who is a really nice guy to boot) this argument (or suggestion?) is about 10 years stale. Unfortunately, it sounds as if he's been detached from the industry and been "Emeritus" for a few too many years. Agencies began reintegrating media and creative at least 8 or 10 years ago. Agencies that did not, have been left in the dust and are doing an active disservice to clients.