At the most recent ANA conference just completed in Phoenix, one of the themes that emerged is that Media is The New Creative.
It's an interesting theme, and while I understand the logic—distribution and context in the digital marketplace rivals creative execution in importance—I can't help but wonder if thinking this way does any of us any favors.
The reason is that the digital marketplace is all about accountability. And if accountability is going to be properly assigned, then we have to be able to delineate between who did what.
Media should be accountable for exposure to the message, not involvement in the message. Creative should be accountable for involvement in the message, not exposure to the message.
Yes, I understand that websites are now considered to be both media and the advertising message itself. At least in the case of Nike.
But even within websites themselves, there will be videos which can be measured separately and held accountable on their own merit.
The problem with the industry, up to now, is that there was no delineation between media and creative. A commercial would run on broadcast TV and we would have no idea whether it involved viewers or not. Creative was basically a commodity. Since creative could not be measured on its own, good creative could not be distinguished from bad creative.
The result being that good work cost the same as bad work.
The digital marketplace finally offers us the opportunity to change all this.
If only we'd let it.
If only we could stop the so-called Masters of Marketing from throwing out bon mots like "Media is the New Creative." Or, how about this one — "Insight Into Foresight", another theme from the conference. Apparently, this somehow refers to how technology can enhance targeting capability.
Clear as mud, right?
And here we wonder why those of us in the communications business have such a hard time communicating.