Creative and Media Buying – So Happy Together

You may not be aware, but the world of advertising is having a bit of a kerfuffle over whether creative and media buying should be separate, or unified disciplines. 

A History of Creative & Media Buying

In the era of Mad Men, big Madison Avenue agencies did everything.  People like Don Draper produced creative,  while people like Harry Crane bought media space for that creative to run in.  Sure, they had separate offices, but they worked together on accounts, and they both worked for the same boss.

Fast forward a few years to the real world 1990s, and some advertisers started to specialize.  Large agencies like Ogilvy & Mather spun off their media departments into separate companies and named the process unbundling

The arguments for this practice can be distilled into the argument for specialization anywhere – when you only do one thing, you can become streamlined, more efficient, more focused.

Today, the advertising world is starting to rethink the separation of media buying and creative.  Ogilvy & Mather’s ex-CEO (and current board Chairman) Shelly Lazarus  thinks unbundling was a mistake, and this year’s Association of National Advertisers conference debated the issue at length

Our Take

We’re big proponents of cooperation.  It’s not that we like to hold hands and sing kumbaya, it’s that we believe that the most effective advertising is created when the whole agency is working together. 

Good media buying and good creative need each other like cookies need milk.  But the best media buyer in the world and the best creative in the world couldn’t create a truly successful campaign if they weren’t cooperating.  And while it’s possible for two separate companies to cooperate, it can be a challenge. 

At Echo-Factory, when we have the opportunity to execute both the creative and media buy of a campaign, both disciplines are fully integrated from the start of the campaign.  In our very first brainstorming sessions, we’re discussing both the message, and the medium.  Practically, this lets us more effectively pick our audience, and more closely tailor our message to that audience. 

Keeping your creative and media under one roof gives your campaign a better chance of maximizing its effectiveness, which, in the end, gives you more bang for your advertising buck. 

In short, we think there’s a strong case to be made for re-bundled media.