The first leg of the two-city exchange4media Conclave 2005 kicked off in Delhi yesterday with eminent panelists discussing the issue of Media Services: Will media come first? Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dr. Jaipal Reddy in his keynote address mentioned the powerful role played by media today and the opportunities it throws up.
Moderating the first of the two panel discussions was Santosh Desai, President, McCann Erickson. He started the debate by posing a question to the panel that as media has got distanced from the creative, what are clients really looking for. The panel comprised CVL Srinivas, MD, Maxus India & Asia Pacific; Sulina Menon, Consultant, Media Services; Rohit Ohri, Senior Vice-President, JWT; Salil Kapoor, Head, Marketing, LG Electronics; Vikas Gupta, VP, Marketing, Coca-Cola India; and V Ramani, CEO, Connecturf Worldwide.
Initially, Srinivas was of the opinion that media gets a better grip on the consumers. Menon agreed with the point saying that the consumer preference is changing, while he is becoming more cynical and insecure. “Media is the bridge of building better relationship with the consumer. Media is a reflection of what is prevalent in the society,” she said.
Taking a different stand, Rohit Ohri posed a few questions as to why should media come first? “We are not defining the size of the opportunity. Will don’t cut the coat according to the cloth but according to the need,” he said.
Reacting to this Salil Kapoor said that needs are ever ending. “Larger needs can pose problems as the objective has to be met. Business is all about numbers, ROI, profitability, business objective, etc, and creativity is about art. Once I know how to reach my target group, creativity comes into picture and we can define the need,” he added.
Vikas Gupta said, “Every medium is screaming to get the audience attention. So the real question is what would it take to make an impact. While 360-degree is important as to how we surround the consumer, the message imparted is equally crucial. We are in the business of marketing and to us both functions are indispensable.”
With a similar stand, Ramani said, “You can compare only what is comparable. Creative in wrong direction and media giving the wrong message; both cannot work. Message has to lead to the medium. There is no question of number one or number two.”
To Santosh’s question ‘where does media really stand,’ Srinivas said, “Media needs to move up the value chain. The total revenue of media agencies put together in the country is Rs 250 crore. And the total cost comes out to be about Rs 250 crore, so in the end, media agencies are left with nothing. Media needs to be accompanied by effective planning and figure out a way to survive and do things radically. It’s a business model issue.”
Menon reinforced her point by stating that vision of media agencies is better understanding of the consumer. And a media person can do that best by defining the target audience.
Gupta contradicted saying it’s about creating and building the brand. “I look for business solution and not who came with the idea or what medium,” he said.
Ohri made an interesting observation saying that brand comes first and creative and media need to work together. “Advertising has changed. It’s not about selling products anymore but buying consumer time,” he said.
The common thought that prevailed at the end of the discussion was that media services and creatives should go hand in hand in the interest of the brand rather than taking precedence over each other. Brand emerged to be stronger and more powerful as at the end of the day, it is the brand that media and creative agencies work for.