Media Redefined: The creative dept every media agency should open
by Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) What is the biggest myth in advertising? That a brilliant idea may come from anywhere.
I know this pricks the bubble of anyone not in the creative department. To be fair, I also used to buy into this. It certainly motivated my entry into the industry, and it meant I spent hours in the shower, waiting for the ‘aha’ moment which would brilliantly connect and excite consumers.
And there is the odd exception, where the tea lady arranged the biscuits in a way which magically spelt “Met eish” (OK, I’m making that up).
What I have come to appreciate is the specific kind of mind that is required to be creative. It really is a professional art, a craft learnt and honed over years of doing nothing else. Lateral thinking will never come easy to the literal. And that’s fine. Everyone needs to play to their strengths.
Creative gap opening up
But things are shifting, and a creative gap has opened up for media agencies especially. It’s a space from which most creatives are running a mile, and more and more clients are demanding expertise in. The opportunity is the development of a specialised creative team that is geared to respond quickly and inexpensively to consumer feedback . Yes, the dreaded data word. Creative formulated and executed entirely on what the data says.
It’s understandable that creatives are not attracted to this. It’s the equivalent of telling Da Vinci that research showed that people prefer their painting subjects to be happy, so could he paint Mona with a bit more of a glint in her eye?
A key line needs to be drawn here. Creative that is tasked to engender brand build and love with softer noting and liking metrics should stay absolutely in the existing creative department. What this is about is pure response data. Data which immediately and accurately measures the response to an execution. It already exists in digital, and more and more experimentation is taking place in other media, especially TV.
Two key components
The crafting of this creative needs two key components.
- It needs to be flexible, to be able to be expressed in a number of different ways — an experimental approach aimed at achieving the most optimal outcome.
- And it needs incredibly quick turnaround. Data has a very short lifespan, and the ability to move fast is what will give data-led creative the edge.
Why should this offering sit in a media agency? Exactly because it is data-led. It will require a certain kind of creative skill-set, one that buys into and is willing to listen to what the data says. And ultimately that will be listening to the person closest to the data — the media strategist.
So look out for more media agencies launching creative departments. But not the kind you thought they would.
Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) is managing director of Connect, an M&C Saatchi Company, with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Martin has spent 18 years in the industry, and has previously worked at Ogilvy and was MD of MEC Nota Bene in Cape Town. He contributes the monthly “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to MarkLives.com.
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