Questions Confusion of New Media Buying Names

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ORLANDO (AdAge.com) -- With the backdrop of an advertising market still in the doldrums, the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Media Conference
Photo: Doug Goodman
O. Burtch Drake doesn't like the sound-alike names.
here nonetheless began with an upbeat prognosis of the media-buying industry.

"Any industry that can completely revamp and rebrand itself in eight short years and emerge from that employing some 11,000 people and spending some $70 billion of advertisers dollars is a force to be reckoned with," said O. Burtch Drake, president-CEO of the 4As.

Mr. Drake was referring to the rebranding of the big media-buying divisions from their old agency names, such as Ayer, Bates, BBDO, DDB, FCB and JWT, to names such as Starcom Media, Initiative Media, Magna Global, MediaCom, Media Edge, MediaVest and Mindshare.

'Amazingly similar'
"If I have any problem with what's transpired over the last eight years," he said, "it's that the names of these operations are amazingly similar and hard to associate with their antecedents or parents. Some better branding and maybe even some advertising might be in order."

The 4As media policy chairman, Allen Banks, who is also the executive vice president and

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executive media director, North America, of Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, listed a number of issues that the conference -- and the media industry as a whole -- should address.

He said magazines should do away with unneccesary bleed charges. He asked that broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC eliminate commercial integration charges. He added that networks should change their reliance on special stunt programming during the sweeps period because it distorts actual network programming performance.

Clutter and personal video recorders
Ad clutter is another serious issue, he said, now reaching an all-time high in both radio and television. The threat of personal video recorders like TiVo is an ongoing concern for advertisers. He also expressed concern over less competition in the market due to media consolidation.

Mr. Bank implored that advertisers should seek out consumers from all ethnic backgrounds. In addition, he complained about the lack of more reliable research on which to make advertising decisions.

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