From the 4A's Media Confab

Digitas' Kenny: Give Media Shops More Input in Creative

4A's Talk Adds to Growing Debate Over Who Should Run Things

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( -- As ad agencies continue to wrangle over who's really in charge these days, Digitas' David Kenny put in a plug for more control for media planners and buyers.

"It is essential that media agencies have more input into the creative brief," said the chairman-CEO of Publicis Groupe's Digitas interactive-marketing firm during a presentation at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' annual Media Conference and Trade Show here.
David Kenny
Photo: Art Beaulieu

David Kenny makes his case for media shops being part of the creative brief.

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In a talk called "Navigating the Blur," Mr. Kenny described a world in which the web has created a massively fragmented media landscape, with smaller websites and other media outlets reaching niche groups of consumers. Advertisers may have to release many different versions of creative in order to entice smaller packs of would-be customers flocking to various media outlets -- each of them with a different reason for surfing in or with a different expectation for how ads ought to play out in a specific environment.

First pick the media
When an ad campaign starts with media at its center, he said, marketers can focus on a particular media outlet and how consumers use it, then plan a creative appeal that works well in that venue. Media shops also have abilities to collect data and analytics to demonstrate how a campaign is working and consumers are reacting to it.

His speech only adds fire to a long-running debate in the ad business: Who should run things, the big traditional creative agencies that create clever ads or the media shops who determine where those ads ought to run?

Media buyers and planners were long looked upon as wonks and analysts who crunched numbers and examined ratings and circulation figures. Their role in crafting slogans and appeals in traditional ads had been limited in years past. These days, however, media savvy is more important than ever, thanks to digital technology that is disrupting traditional media venues and giving rise to new interactive ones. Even as they work hand in hand for many clients, the two sides -- media and creative -- continue to lock horns at times, particularly as media savvy is increasingly required to make advertising more effective.
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