It's February, and it's way too late be writing a piece on "Top 10 trends" or "10 things to expect from your media agency".
I’m late off the mark, and actually, everyone is writing these stories anyway. Network media agencies have them packaged and printed well ahead of time. Like special presents, sparkling savantic gifts that clients dare not make a move in 2019 without.
Not this time. I thought I’d discuss my passion in media. The thing that got me here in the first place - creativity and innovation. (Shame on those of you that thought I was going to say SEM’s and media research funding).
You see, I’ve always been more art than science. Look I love the nerdy numbers bit too, but I enjoy creating. Creating something more than buying it pre-packaged from my favourite media owner.
In the move to automation and commoditisation of media, creativity and innovation are often lost along the way. It's not cost effective! How do we measure it? How much work is that? Will I have to do it? Very often it’s rolled out and spoken about when times are getting tough - “…we need to innovate!”.
Like it’s some sort elixir, a magic potion that will suddenly put everything right. It's just not a switch that can be flicked on and off.
Mostly the term ‘innovation’ is misused and misunderstood.
So what is it?
Innovation today is the ordinary of tomorrow
In my mind anything in media that is a deviation from the norm, that delivers a disproportionate advantage for a brand in any way, is innovation. This could be internal or external. So often we focus on what the target market sees and what gets flighted.
Clever new ways of buying media - that’s innovation.
A new media tool - that’s innovation!
Smart digital that allows us to segment better - that’s innovation. Everything we deal with now daily at some point was cutting edge and was innovation.
Just like digital is the traditional media of the future. Innovation today is the ordinary of tomorrow.
What about the media gimmick - yes, unfortunately, that’s innovation too! You know them - these one hit wonders, that often are so random and punny. Weirdly winning the occasional media award. Often these are just channel innovations and or a new way to do something that been done in so many other ways before. These tend to be blips and temporary and not campaigns.
Innovation in any form is great - it collectively helps move us forward.
Innovation lead by creative ideas
The innovation that really hits hard though, and excites me the most - is innovation led by creative ideas. It’s the simplest thought or a campaign idea that suddenly explodes into a plethora of great executions and iterations. The media starts writing itself.
Suddenly AR’s, page formats, spot duration etc., all fall away. This is the kind of media I love, and why I chose this direction. It’s the kind of media innovation that only happens when media and creative agency are both firing in tandem. It’s the kind of media that wins on the big stage, creating campaigns that are recognisable and a clear positioning for the brand. It delivers a punch that goes well beyond its weight.
Not too long ago when media and creative were still a tag team like Batman and Robin, sharing the same house - these ideas used to fill the building.
If there’s one thing I really do want from 2019 it is to see some great media innovation. To media strategists - lift your head up, stop just buying media space. Spend a bit more time doing and thinking. get out of the office. Let’s make some media magic that could only have come from great media and creative minds working together.