When media and creative stretch their remits, good things happen

As I write this (end of August,) everyone is in that odd anticipatory limbo stage that signals the end of summer and the start of September. We feel like we should be squeezing in every last second of fun in the sun possible, yet also are chomping at the bit to leap into serious tweedy mode, comfy knowing that the target audience are safely ensconced in front of fall TV, and not outside the media beltway, lazing on some dock.

As I write this (end of August,) everyone is in that odd anticipatory limbo stage that signals the end of summer and the start of September. We feel like we should be squeezing in every last second of fun in the sun possible, yet also are chomping at the bit to leap into serious tweedy mode, comfy knowing that the target audience are safely ensconced in front of fall TV, and not outside the media beltway, lazing on some dock.

It’s likely some residual back-to-school mental shift, coupled with the very real return to our regularly scheduled frenetic agenda. ‘Be There,’ our events page, has gone from slim pickings for the editors’ perusal, to a full calendar to pick and choose from this month.

Apparently rather a lot of you chose to sign up for our event the ‘Media In Canada Forum: What’s the Plan?’ So many, in fact, that we’re relocating the one-day conference to a much bigger venue, the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre. The interest level isn’t surprising, given how often the changing role of media factors into marketing news lately, with new units spawning, ground-breaking deals and strategic hires frequently in the headlines.

The evolving nature of media, and the fruits of this ongoing reinvention are also the impetus behind a few articles in this issue of strategy. Globally, there’s energetic jockeying going on between creative and media agency types for the strategic planning piece of the biz. We look at how that’s playing out in Canada in our Biz feature this month (See ‘Who owns the strategy?’ page 11,) and find that while our market isn’t immune to the power struggle, due to economy of scale (less wallet tolerance for duplication of services), we’re actually a bit ahead of the curve in organizationally sorting it out in a way that best suits marketers.

In our Media feature (‘Together at last,’ page 26), we focus on the creative side of this equation. We wanted to bypass the debate of who is best positioned to take the creative reins, and rather look at the fruits of true collaboration. The examples ranged from sister agency cooperation, to embedded media in creative agencies, to non-affiliated agency collaboration models, the latter actually producing some of the star work. Doug Checkeris, president/CEO of MBS, sums up the impetus for the shift nicely by saying: ‘There has to be a great deal more collaboration to create a selling idea that can be applied in a variety of ways.’

Check the stories out, see who’s playing nicely, and what they’re coming up with.

In other strategy news, we’re now well into the gruelling Agency of the Year competition process. Agency prez have identified the work they deem juiciest for our memory-jog list, and we’re now at the industry peeps phone poll stage, where you and your peers determine who should be invited to participate. If all goes well, the shortlist may be ready to announce next issue.

We’re also busily developing content for ‘stimulant,’ the daylong strategy Creative Forum that precedes our Agency of the Year Awards this year.

Last year some of you requested more of an opportunity for folks to see the great work the top agencies had done. This year that will happen, plus we’ll be looking at some of the underlying approaches everyone can tap into to improve their own creative processes. If you have a foolproof M.O. for boosting innovation in marketing, give us a shout. That is, if you’re willing to share. And if you want exposure to the methods and tools that help trigger new ideas, pen ‘stimulant’ into your calendar: Dec. 7 Toronto.

Cheer,MM

Mary Maddever, VP/Editorial Director