Right around this time, in the dog days of summer, Adweek crowns the most innovative media plans from around the globe. So what are the secrets to claiming Media Plan of the Year? Three of this year's judges—Havas Media's Greg James, Horizon Media's Eva Kantrowitz and The Media Kitchen's Barry Lowenthal—each an accomplished media-agency leader, theorized their wisdom to shops hoping to get their work noticed. Here's what they said:
Greg James, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Havas Media North America, on the elements of a winning media plan:
1. A winning media plan likely has a sense of collaboration at its core among agency, client, content creator and content distributor.
2. Context is really important now. There's no excuse for delivering a message at a moment or in a space where it's not truly relevant.
3. Media can be far more efficient through data and technology, but its real effectiveness relies upon human insight.
4. The biggest danger in an automated, data-driven world is that we lose sight of the real consumer insight.
5. Media planners need to continue to be media thinkers. The media and the message alignment are more important when data and technology play such a prominent role.
Eva Kantrowitz, EVP, Managing Partner at Horizon Media, envisions the winning media plan:
1. I want to see a story.
2. Media planners should look for white space, where the brand can stand out.
3. Shiny 'creative' objects can sometimes feel like too many tactics in search of a strategy. There should be a wind-resistant, storm-ready umbrella approach that shows how everything is sticking together.
4. Strategy first, then the ideas.
5. The word 'programmatic' is talked about a lot, but used inconsistently. Define it for me and I'll tell you if it's a good media plan or not.
Barry Lowenthal, President of the Media Kitchen, wants a media plan that's:
1. Four words, three of which rhyme, one of which does not: creative, innovative, effective and inspiring.
2. Also, results. Results are very dependent on the campaign, so if you don't measure sales, measure engagement.
3. Today, if it doesn't involve complicated ad tech, it is neither inspiring nor innovative.
4. Mobile has consolidated the consumer purchase journey into one device. Now, we are going to buy the whole journey rather than impressions or uniques.
5. Mobile is disrupting every single facet of our business. But we're not asking ourselves the really hard questions. So here's a hard one: If we're spending more and more time with mobile, and mobile is one of the worst creative canvases, what do we do? Put that on your media plan, and I'll buy it.
Winners of Adweek Media Plan of the Year will be announced in the September 7 issue, followed by an awards ceremony on September 9th sponsored by The Trade Desk.