Note to readers: Media Mavens is a Storyboard18 series featuring media investment firms and power players - the X-Women and X-Men who make the big calls on how and where to spend advertisers' money. This is a peek into their minds - how they work in a dynamic landscape, the next big trends they’re watching for, insights into what advertisers need today, the disruptors driving change and the factors driving their decisions. Watch this space for sharp and fast insights.
For decades now, media agencies were the last piece in the massive advertising and marketing puzzle. Coming into the picture once the television or newspaper ads to do one job - buying space on television channels, newspapers or magazines. Over the years, that role has evolved greatly with media agencies coming closer to centre stage with every passing year.
The continuing growth of content, social media and the explosion of OTT and CTV has seen media agencies looking to increase the services it can provide to marketers. Media agencies have begun flaunting about their ability to offer clients greater integration with increasing enthusiasm.
On a personal note, I was recently appointed chief creative officer at Wavemaker, India, a role almost exclusive to creative agencies and almost never seen in a media agency. It was a move that raised quite a few questions. Are media agencies now going head on with creative agencies? After close to a decade in one of the best creative agencies in the business, I can see the difference almost instantly.
It is very clear that we are not here to do what the existing creative agencies do. We are here to look at content and creative assets through the lens of media optimisation and therein lies the difference. I see my role as one that strengthens Wavemaker’s integrated offering by combining the power of media, creative and technology and driving client growth in a richer, more dynamic approach.
So is this the future?
Almost certainly yes. With the rapid growth of content, marketers have begun to look at their advertising mix in a whole different way. Brands now want to be seen more as content creators rather than be seen as mere advertisers. The need for brands to stay connected with their consumers 24 x 7 is growing and not just as brands and consumers but as friends, advisors and even mentors. Brands are now ready to talk one on one rather than talk one to many.
The new age media planner has access to data and technology like never before. He or she can now look at a media plan innovatively to create media properties that are customised and designed for maximum impact in ways that were not possible earlier. There have been numerous examples of this in recent times. Properties like Coke Studio have driven brand awareness and brand engagement at a scale that has seldom been achieved.
Red Bull, HUL, Coca Cola and Mondelez have created content that become case studies for marketers. The “Not Just a Cadbury Ad” with Shah Rukh Khan by Mondelez a couple of Diwalis ago pushed the envelope even more by combining a brilliant creative idea with innovative use of technology and media to create a piece of advertising history. It won the hearts of buyers, sellers, marketers and advertising juries around the world.
Welcome to the new age of content.
The campaigns mentioned above are only the beginning. They have merely scratched the surface. They have whetted the appetite of every brand manager on the planet. The metaverse has come and the metaverse has gone. Generative technology is here and now. If every brand manager was looking for a metaverse idea, today they are looking for an idea on Chat GPT. While movie stars and cricketers still dominate the mainstream media, Youtubers, Instagrammers, stand-up comedians, gamers, musicians offer a wide spectrum and voices that connect with both young and old. While Big Boss, KBC, IPL, Indian Idol rule on OTT, Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite all offer brands a newer and fresher way to win their consumer.
So are media agencies the new creative agencies?
One point is that the complexity of landing a creative thought is growing by the day given the audience segments, platform nuances and formats etc .. to land these creative ideas, partnerships, platform understanding and the skillsets of audiences becomes very critical.. which is where a media agency becomes critical. Addressability and addressable content is an example
While a media agency can never really compete with a creative agency, in pure craft and brand ideas they are more than equipped to take an idea from the creative agency and lift the ideas to stratospheric levels. But the sheer complexity of landing a creative idea is growing by the day given the ever evolving audience segments, platforms, formats and technology. To fulfill the potential of these brilliant creative ideas partnerships, platform understanding and the skillsets become very critical and here’s where the role of a media agency becomes critical. I am excited about the resources that are at my disposal at Wavemaker. The data, advocacy, tech and addressable teams are the creative teams of the future.
And that’s the transformation of the traditional media agency.
George Kovoor is Chief Creative Officer, Wavemaker India. Views expressed are personal.