Everyone knows, one of the worst things that ever happened to advertising was taking media out of agencies.
At a stroke, it removed a massive chunk of creative possibility.
For instance one evening Ken New, the media director of AMV, and David Abbott were sitting around discussing the Economist advertising.
They’d been doing TV but nobody was really thrilled with it.
They only went on TV because that was traditionally the quick way to get a sales uplift.
David Abbott was doodling on his pad.
He said, “It’s a pity we can’t do 48 sheet posters.”
Ken said, “Why is that?”
Abbott said, “Well a 48 sheet poster is exactly the same proportions as the Economist masthead.
We could run headlines in their typeface, on a red background, and it would be fantastic branding everywhere.”
Ken New said, “That’s a great idea.”
Abbott said, “But does it make media sense?”
Ken said, “Don’t worry about that. I can make the numbers fit.”
And the result ran for two decades and was one of the best poster campaigns of recent times.
That couldn’t have happened without media in the building.
Nor could Chiat Day’s Yamaha poster.
In California, Honda was by far the brand leader in motorcycles.
To crow about it Honda were going to run a poster featuring a Honda zooming along, left to right, with headline:
That would put the upstart Yamaha in their place.
Chiat Day’s media department found out where Honda’s posters would be running.
They bought up every site on the right hand side of Honda’s posters.
They showed a Yamaha zooming left to right, seemingly in front of the Honda.
And featured the headline: YAMAHA. DON’T FOLLOW ANYONE.
So they piggy-backed Honda’s campaign.
They used their competitor to do most of the work for them.
Honda looked pompous, and Yamaha looked like rebels.
Perfect imagery for a motorcycle brand.
Yamaha wouldn’t have been allowed to run it as a poster.
But here they were, not only getting away with it, but with Honda paying for half of it.
You can’t get more creative than that.
And you can’t do it when you don’t have a media in the building.