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Speaking of media, there's a trend clearly evident in this issue's Special Report on Media Buying & Planning, and it's one that probably played a role in Ford Motor Co.'s consolidation of its print advertising with selected, key publishers. The media game today is centralization and ease-of-purchase, and the ad vehicles popular with advertisers are the ones that have addressed these concerns. The ones that haven't may increasingly be left out.

Not that this is driving media decisions; rather, media planning is what has gained in importance of late and it seems to be leading the way with some major marketers. Out-of-home, radio and cable TV, before enjoying the current good times, underwent a long process to make themselves more in tune with the new needs of large ad buyers. That has put them in position to reap benefits. In outdoor, for example, as one executive explains in our Special Report, while agencies "are learning to help our clients target a little better," the wave of consolidation among outdoor companies has made that medium more sophisticated in its ability to sell locations. Ditto with radio, also hot; and local cable, made more accessible by years of work via electronic data interchange.

If there's a message for other traditional ad media, it's that they had better get their acts together. Such upfront media planning as that now being practiced by Ford, Kraft Foods and Unilever means they, too, need to learn to dance to the

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