The Media Mix Of The Future

Ty Montague, co-president and chief creative officer of JWT in New York, and jury chair of the Clio’s sophomore Content & Contact competition, admits creatives and media types haven’t always played nicely. Between the industry’s siphoning off of media planning and the territorial resistance of creatives to let other disciplines into the idea-generating process, agencies facing the challenges of reaching consumers are recognizing the need to build new bridges between the two. “We’re mending fences,” he says.

One way to foster greater collaboration between media and creative, says Montague, is to reward co-dependent efforts in award show categories such as the C&C competition, launched last year to honor campaigns for not only their content, but the context in which they reach consumers. “When media and creative are working together in equal balance—that’s where something special happens,” says Montague. “The category better reflects the way clients think, the whole experience a consumer has with a brand.”

The five-member jury panel, comprised of media and creative professionals, includes Montague; Justin Barocas, partner at Anomaly in New York; Andrew Keller, vice president and creative director Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami; William Rosen, chief creative officer of North America at Arc Worldwide in Chicago; and Daniel Sheniak, media director at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore. To keep the creative and media perspectives balanced, each year Clio alternates between creative and media specialists to lead the jury. (Last year, Nick Brien, CEO of Arc, served as jury chair.)

Twenty-three finalists made the short list this year. The campaigns range from a soft-porn spoof for Virgin Atlantic Airways, created by CP+B, to a treasure hunt that saw high school students collect clues using their mobile phones and race 20-foot high game pieces around five cities in a ConQwest campaign from SS+K in New York, a late-night TV show for Rainier Beer, from Cole & Weber/Red Cell, and a chicken fight sporting event for Burger King, from CP+B.

Judging such a disparate range of communications proved a challenge to the panel, who had to consider how integrally tied the product was to the campaign idea, as well as how the creative idea and media execution worked together. “The complexity of these projects is what’s great about it,” says W+K’s Sheniak. “It’s realistically addressing where the industry is going.”

The jury considered event-type ads, like the Adidas Olympic campaign from TBWA\Japan in Tokyo, which had athletes run up a skyscraper; product-placement in programming, such as the U.S. Army’s Monster Garage campaign, by Leo Burnett; and promotions such as Oprah Winfrey’s Pontiac giveaway, from GM Planworks in Detroit. Ultimately, the winners will “represent a road map of where we want things to go,” says Montague.

“It’s important that award shows begin to award these sorts of actions by agencies and their clients,” adds CP+B’s Keller. “Until we start to reward other types of thinking, the industry is less likely to embrace it. It’s baby steps in a direction that is exciting and right now represents some sort of a frontier.”