Putting the Horse Before the Creative

Should Creative or Media Lead Advertising?

Often in our industry an account executive’s creative brief to the team may read, “The client needs two print ads and a 30 second TV spot.” Then, it’s up to the creative team to come up with how to deliver the key message in those particular media outlets. The problem with this approach is the ‘where to say it’ is dictating the ‘what to say.’ This forces the idea to be molded to fit a medium before it is really even formed.

Here is where the philosophy of ‘concept-driven media’ comes in — not a particularly new concept, but far less common than the industry standard of ‘media-driven concepts’.

When you let your idea drive your media, amazing things happen.

  • More Natural and Effective Messaging
    Advertising is far more authentic if the message itself dictates where it should be said. The communication takes place in a natural, unforced environment, speaking to the right target audience in the right way. And natural, authentic messaging is the most effective.
  •  More Impactful and Engaging Creative
    Which would stand out more for a new Mini car launch, a giant toy car box in the middle of downtown or a few prints ads? Concept-driven media is a lot more likely to be talked about, and even picked up by the news. But probably not in the original media plan.

So, how can you start letting your message drive your media? Do not start creating a full media plan until the creative team gets involved. If this can’t happen, at least try setting aside a portion of your media budget for ‘concept-driven media’ and let your message speak where it wants. Your advertising will be more effective and engaging, and ultimately more rewarding.