Why Creative & Media Need Each Other More Than Ever

Anyone who’s ever worked in brand or marketing for more than a handful of campaigns will know the stress that can quickly arise when creative and media teams work in isolation. There are few things more stressful than trying to coordinate these two elements across different agencies, with countless email threads, pointless calls and too many stakeholders.

You’ve probably seen amazing creative ideas ruined by where and how they’ve been placed out in the world, or media partnerships and placement approaches that could’ve been perfect, if only they were given tailored creative assets.

You are not alone. Your bewilderment, whether experiencing these situations first-hand or observing them from not-so-afar is shared by many. This is largely because both brands and agencies alike are still hellbent on splitting up campaign activity between different companies, offices and departments.

Ideas continue to be formed with no regard as to where they’ll eventually live, while media planners oblivious to the eventual creative plot their strategies in the dark. You wouldn’t rearrange your living room to make space for a new sofa without knowing what colour, style or size it is. Feng shui won’t forgive you. Neither will advertising.

No wonder there are numerous studies showing creative effectiveness taking a nose dive. Earlier this year, Peter Field analysed data across almost 600 case studies and concluded that the business impact of award-winning campaigns had fallen to its lowest level in 24 years. In other words, work recognised by the industry as stellar creativity is by contrast failing to produce the results that C-suite executives exclusively care about. Does it matter what we as an industry think good creative looks like if it’s not actually effective?

With alarming regularity, another big holding group will announce yet another re-organisation of its entangled agency anatomy shouting loud and proud about bridging the creative and media divide to become more impactful. Once in a while, an indie agency will talk about marrying up the two disciplines to offer what the big guns so often find hard to achieve. It begs the question, what happens when the two genuinely work together in synchronous harmony?

At eight&four, our hybrid setup and approach fixes this issue for our clients from the ground up. We organise our teams to ensure that every brief is worked on by both creative and media specialists from start to finish, sitting at the same tables, in the same rooms, in the same building.

The results; better work informed by multiple perspectives, targets smashed, happier clients, healthier teams and a growing pack of case studies that prove our approach and its three principles is effective;

  1. Creative is nothing without media
    An idea only exists and succeeds if it’s seen, organic reach is dead and it’s noisier out there than ever. For every million and one brand activities, there’s only one Oreo Superbowl tweet basking in the freak miracle of earned reach.
  2. Media is nothing without creative
    An ad unit is pointless unless it contains a strong idea. The extent to which ad-block loving consumers go out of their way to avoid brands is only going to increase. Media will only cut through if its content is attention-grabbing, thumb-stopping and unique from the competition.

    Nielsen Catalina Solutions 2017 suggests that as much as 47% of the effect of an ad comes from the creative idea itself.

  3. Platforms and publishers are their own unique environments
    They have different ad formats and usage behaviours that it’s essential for both creative assets and media tactics to align with. Failure to do so means a lot of time and money wasted for little to no gain.

eight&four founder and MD Kate Ross will be sharing the agency’s approach, do’s and don’ts, and the rewards of a creative and media partnership at Figaro Digital’s Digital Marketing Summit on 30thJanuary 2020.

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