Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Is Creative Engagement The Same As Media Engagement?

I only ask this question because at The Social Media Insider Summit held this week, the term “Public Engagement” entered the vernacular.

It seems if we already have one too many “engagements” as it is. And since no one seems to be able to separate creative engagement from media engagement, how do we start to factor in yet another?

In my opinion, creative engagement is how well the viewing audience engages in the creative, while media engagement is how well the viewing audience engages in the media itself.

Two very different things.

Creative agencies are accountable for creating “creative engagement.” Media publishers and networks are accountable for creating "media engagement."

Which “engagement” are media agencies accountable for?

Therein lies the rub, doesn’t it?

Media agencies don’t create engagement in a commercial like creative agencies do. And, they don’t create engagement in the programming like publishers and networks do.

In fact, media agencies don’t “create” engagement at all.

They buy it.

Which is why media agencies need to stop selling engagement. They don’t create it, so they can’t sell it. They can only buy it.

Or, not.

Yes, they can be held accountable for not buying a good, engaging program. But they can't be held accountable for not creating the engagement themselves.

On the other hand, advertisers have the opportunity to start holding their creative agencies accountable for creating, or not creating, engagement in the messaging they produce.

Until we, as an industry, can decide who’s responsible for the two engagements we already have, perhaps it’s best to hold off on introducing that third one.

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