The Marketing Democracy is a consulting firm that helps marketers, marketing services agencies, and the media integrate their various marketing assets into powerful, integrated marketing solutions. We have specific expertise in finding the powerful intersection between creative (content) and media (channel).


The Secret Ingredient to Adweek’s 2012 Media Plan Award Winners

October 9th, 2012

Each quarter, I take a look at the materials that I use in my media class to ensure that the students have access to the most contemporary and innovative work in the marketplace.  Now that awards season is behind us:  EFFIE’s have been awarded, the Cannes Lions are sitting on shelves, and the trade publications publish their ‘favorites’, I decided to take a look at the ‘winners’ and see what makes them special.  I have to admit that I was a bit perplexed by Adweek’s 2012 Media Plan of the Year Award Winners: what was the big media idea in each of these plans?  Let’s see… we celebrated an ‘advertorial’ in magazines, content/talent integration into a sitcom, a digital game, a Facebook contest, and a ‘Super Bowl’ spot… to name a few!  Really?  This is media innovation?  I am very confused.

Media Innovation is when the medium itself becomes part of the brand experience: like the Wired/Lexus integration where the ad becomes the car’s dashboard… brilliant!  Or, years back when Cadillac launched :05 tv spots to demonstrate that its engines could go from 0-60mph in under 5 seconds.  Or last year’s celebration of the Bing/Decoding Jay-Z media plan where media were redefined based upon what was authentic to the story that Jay-Z had to tell.  We need to be careful on the labels we place on sound ‘blocking and tackling’.

Do I believe that the Adweek Award Winners are worth consideration?  Yes.  But, for a very different reason than a pure ‘media’ reason.  These plans demonstrate that the content… the message that the brand needed to convey…. would drive the media experience.  If these plans are any indicator of a broader trend, we can perhaps look with optimism toward a reconsideration of the merger of medium with message.  A Super Bowl spot is what it is.  But “Halftime in America” that tells a brand story at a contextually relevant pivot point is smart marketing.  Is this true media innovation?  No.  But, who cares!  It demonstrates the vitality and utility of the media tool box.

When media strategists and creative strategists align on media/message synergy and make choices that create perfect alignment between the two halves of the same coin, we have award-winning work.  Media innovation?  Perhaps not!  But, we’re on to something important here, and I hope that we see more in the year to come!



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