Adweek Media Survey

Who is your primary source of strategic counsel?

Creative/Brand Agency: 91%
No Answer: 6%
Management Consultants: 2%
Media Agency: 1%

Consumer Durables: 100%
Telecom: 100%
Financial Services: 100%
Pharmaceutical: 100%
Food & Beverage: 94%
Computers: 92%
Automotive: 91%
Entertainment: 50%

The creation of what amounts to an entirely new media specialist industry has not come without conflict. Creative and media agencies continue to fight over who has responsibility for strategic media planning. While this fight has most prominently featured OMD, where BBDO, DDB and TBWA\Chiat\Day adamantly refuse to share strategic media planning with their unbundled sister, variations of the tug-of-war have taken place to some degree at almost every unbundled operation—and continues to be a competitive challenge for the independent shops like Carat as well.

Media agencies have also rushed almost in unision to expand beyond their core competencies into areas such as mix modeling and other forms of marketing intelligence. Still, while these efforts have made some headway, the survey indicates there is a long, long way to go.

For now, creatives appear to have the upper hand overall. Apart from their specific area of expertise, media specialists’ ability to influence a client’s marketing strategy is dramatically limited, according to the survey.

When asked, “Who is your primary source of strategic counsel?” 91 percent of respondents name their creative or brand agency. Two percent indicate management consultants and a paltry 1 percent name their media agency. Seven of the eight categories indicate their creative or brand agency at least 90 percent of the time, the only exception being Entertainment/Publishing/Retail at 50 percent—and which turns to media shops for general strategy 12 percent of the time.

“Media resources are still staking their claim to understanding the consumer,” said Arthur Anderson, managing principal of Morgan Anderson Consulting. “As they do more and more research, it broadens their claim, but they aren’t doing the kind of research that the general advertising or brand agency is, or has access to. It’s not whether or not they can do it. It’s a perception issue. But I think in the next few years we may see more [client reliance on media shops for general counsel]. Just to see some movement is a positive sign for the media agencies.”