At last week's Ad Age Media Mavens event, Mr. Palmer was one of six executives asked to answer the question, "If Santa were to bring you one thing that would help you better reach consumers, what would you ask him for?"
Mr. Palmer wants a new model. "The advertising-service industry was built as a manufacturing system for 30-second ads. And the challenge for the industry and for us as a consumer-goods company is to rethink the way we work together. We've done that and are in the process of not starting with the idea, 'Are you going to build a base of 30-second ads?' and truly working with the full range of partners to understand the brand idea, to understand what the barriers are and to determine what the marketing idea is that is really going to drive execution. The way we work today with our service providers doesn't make it easy for us to do that. "
Colleen Milway, global media director for Campbell Soup Co., was more hypothetical in her request: "A tool like Ask Jeeves where you could ask a consumer a question and get a response right away." Juliet Corsinita, media director of Taco Bell, had a similar wish: a crystal ball.
Michelle Lynn, senior VP of Carat Insight, would like to see more education in research departments so the people in them can function as broader media analysts.
But Oswald Mendez, managing partner in integrated communications for the Vidal Partnership, had the most practical wish for Santa: "The power to be able to articulate all my ideas a little bit better."
Steve Kerho, Nissan's director-interactive marketing and media, wants more content that is entertaining and engaging so that the automaker can get credit for bringing the audience that content, like he did when he executed a multiplatform ad buy for NBC's "Heroes" that included co-branded TV spots and extensive in-show integration. "That consumer group can be very passive, so branded entertainment has got to be contextual. If they see the show is surrounded by ads, people know we've been a part of the program for a while, and it's not just a one-off."