Diary of a Jurist: Mark Stewart, Media

Managing Director, OMD, Eastern Region, USA

June 20 Judging for the 2005 Media Lions is off to a roaring start and I swear to you, it’s not as easy as it looks. Entries reached record levels this year; it’s a great sign that media is making strides in the world of creativity and innovation, but it also means that entries have to be even that much more outstanding to make the cut.

Average ideas fall to the wayside very quickly; what is getting the judges attention is work that allows the power of a great integrated and well-executed idea to shine. There are entries that represent pure media innovation; there are some that are clearly smart creative delivered in a standard way. There are also entries where it’s not so easy to differentiate if the big idea is media or creative. And while the judges may argue about the latter for hours, it’s an enviable position for any entry to be in, because chances are, it is an insightful media idea brought to life through brilliant execution.

Also evident in much of the work we’ve seen so far is the extent to which the lines between advertising leveraging or encroaching into content continue to blur. Some markets are much further ahead in breaking these barriers than others, so it is important to recognize that while an idea may appear “groundbreaking” in one market, it could actually be commonplace within its own.

Additionally, as agencies and clients look to differentiate brands through expanding the idea of media delivery or integration with content, the boundaries of local market regulation or what is allowable by local governance and appropriate are pushed further. On the mind of the judges is “are consumers actually more engaged or offended” as brand integration and the barriers between content and marketing continues to fall? Great media ideas are not intrusions or annoyances; they are able to intersect with consumers at exactly the right moment with exactly the right message, and move imaginations, populations and actions in the process.