Cannes Lions 2017: How media can get a seat at the creative table - Without crashing the party

Hermeti Balarin, Gary Osifchin, Mark Sandys, Will Swayne / July 2017

Will Swayne, Global President of Carat, convened an expert panel at the YouTube Beach in Cannes to consider the perennial question of how best to integrate media insights into the creative process.

Kicking off an exploration of the relationship between media and creative, moderator Will Swayne, Global President of Carat, asked the panel if the idea of media gaining a seat at the creative table is the right way to think about this collaboration.

For Mark Sandys, Global Head of Beer, Baileys & Smirnoff at Diageo, this characterisation is too apologetic, and the two disciplines should be treated as equally important. “The unique role of media is defining who, where and when creative is going to be consumed,” he says, citing Diageo’s reinvigoration of the Baileys brand as a good example of how media insight can become the foundation of a campaign. With growth of Baileys flat for a decade, a change of approach was required, aimed at nurturing consideration across millions of trigger points defined by a new media plan developed by Carat.

Hermeti Balarin, Joint ECD at Mother London, picks up the Baileys story, explaining how this vast set of potential media touchpoints came to define the creative process. “If you’re thinking about ideas without thinking about where they’re going to appear, it’s just hit and miss,” he insists. Instead, the team at Mother built on media insights from the very start, using them to understand exactly where, when and how consumers could be reached by the new campaign. With Baileys now experiencing double digit growth, the approach has been an enormous success, establishing a compelling template for further collaboration between media and creative.

“If you’re thinking about ideas without thinking about where they’re going to appear, it’s just hit and miss.”

- Hermeti Balarin, Executive Creative Director, Mother London.


Discussing how the relationship between media and creative works on a human level, the panel were in agreement. “We put the opportunity in the middle and collaborate,” says Hermeti Balarin, “it’s the only way to get the best result.” Similarly, according to Gary Osifchin, VP Global Brand Equity at Mondelez, the media team from Carat sit alongside creative across all of the group’s brands, bringing insights that have recently inspired innovative, context-sensitive campaigns for brands such as Belvita. Summing up the feelings of the panel, Gary Osifchin gave the title metaphor a celebratory tweak, saying: “Media needs to be a VIP guest at the party, along with creative and client.”

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