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Is the creative, media bifurcation complicating the communication process?

24-January-2005
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Is the creative, media bifurcation complicating the communication process?

The bifurcation of creative and media into two distinct camps has led to a lot more heads being involved and configuring the right balance is often a Herculean task. The success of any communication effort depends largely on the synchronization between the client, media agency and the creative agency. Conversely, failure would result inevitably in a blame game.

From the client’s perspective, the exercise involves twice the number of individuals and giving a patient hearing to both sides. Ask any creative person about the root of any successful communication effort, and he would ascribe it to the “big idea” and the seamless tapestry of visuals and emotions on the small screen. But a media planner has other things to ponder over -- rates, right mix of mediums, GRPs, TRPs, reach, frequency, budgetary concerns, etc.

Arvind Sharma, Chairman & CEO, Leo Burnett, strongly feels that media agencies mushrooming on their own accord and emerging as independent entities “has certainly complicated” the process of communication. “Now, the client has to deal with twice the number of people at both ends and coordinate the activities of both. Brands which have their creative businesses scattered among two or more creative agencies and in addition a lone ranger media agency, have to consequently face the brunt of it,” he said.

Sharma added that he has “nothing against media agencies breaking out of the traditional mould” since it gives a great deal more to the client in terms of tools, processes, business strategy and ROI. “But it does make the job much easier for us if it’s a full service account and we have both the creative and media business being furnished under our roof. That way everyone knows what’s going on; there is a clear partnership between the creative minds and the media minds; and you get plenty of creative room in addition to media strategy and TRPs and GRPs,” he explained.

On the other hand, Harish Shriyan, Vice-President, Mediacom, asserts that the clear bifurcation of creative and media has been a positive step, since the client now acknowledges the tremendous role that media planners and buyers play in the communication effort. Said Shriyan, “Earlier, the role of media was clearly sidelined in the communication process. Media people could never really emerge out of the ‘idea based advertising process’. Today, the client is well aware of the contribution made by media professionals in terms of rates, strategy, orientation, qualitative mapping, reaching out to the right target audience and frequency. You can be sure that your work is not going unnoticed and is not lost in the middle of the’ big idea’. Again, the client gets a lot more value for money since media agencies are competing fiercely against each other and getting the best in terms of tools technology and qualitative mapping.”

Chandramouli, Vice-President, Marketing, Mirc, thinks that the “divorce between media agencies and creative agencies has complicated the deal to some degree” for clients. “Earlier, there used to be one representative who would coordinate the entire process (both creative and media) and you only had to deal with him. Now you have to corelate with a multitude of agency people, both from the creative and the media side.

There are layers within layers. But on the flip side, the client can expect a lot more support from the media side than he could in the past. There is a clear thrust on data analytics, quantitative mapping and tools and technology,” he said.

Where shall the twain meet, especially as both have evolved under the same roof? The bifurcation has led to certain loose ends within the client’s domain and the issues can only be resolved through interactions between the three parties. Either way, it’s the client’s symphony and he ought to give it the right direction.

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