The chang­ing face of MBUS

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

The world of me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing used to be so much sim­pler 10 or 15 years ago. Ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies would make 30-sec­ond TV com­mer­cials, craft a few print ads, and per­haps send out the oc­ca­sional di­rect mail just for the sake of di­ver­sity. Mean­while, be­hind the scenes and away from all the fuss, me­dia agen­cies planned. They bought me­dia space and strate­gised, crunch­ing data in dark­ened rooms. Now it’s not so sim­ple. Far from it in fact.

The blur­ring of the lines be­tween me­dia and cre­ative agen­cies is be­com­ing more ap­par­ent by the day. Where once there was an eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able line be­tween the two, now the two par­ties are in­creas­ingly tread­ing on each other’s ter­ri­tory. None more so than me­dia agen­cies.

Me­dia agen­cies have been adding an in­creas­ing num­ber of strings to their bows, many of which in­fringe on the tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory of other dis­ci­plines. The ap­point­ment of cre­ative direc­tors to me­dia agen­cies has only acted to high­light this fact, with many cre­ative agen­cies frus­trated by the en­croach­ment of their for­mer al­lies onto their per­ceived turf. And who can blame them, with me­dia agen­cies pitch­ing for cre­ative ac­counts and team­ing up with con­tent cre­ators.

Mean­while, tech­nol­ogy and data have trans­formed the day-to-day busi­ness of me­dia agen­cies. Driven by the speed of shift­ing me­dia con­sump­tion, me­dia agen­cies are now as fo­cused on cre­ativ­ity and con­tent as they are on pro­gram­matic buy­ing and real-time bid­ding. The key dif­fer­ence per­haps is that me­dia agen­cies have a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the en­tire paid, owned and earned me­dia ecosys­tem. Un­der­stand­ing this ecosys­tem al­lows them – in the­ory – to tai­lor ideas and con­tent,

Novem­ber 2016 but also gives them the abil­ity to dis­trib­ute con­tent with pre­cise tar­get­ing. It is the com­bi­na­tion of th­ese two el­e­ments that helps me­dia agen­cies de­liver the im­pact and re­turn on in­vest­ment that clients de­mand.

In­deed, the core fo­cus of a me­dia agency sits on a throne of data. And that data is driven by tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate the best pos­si­ble con­tent. With­out tech­nol­ogy and data, we are sim­ply left with a piece of art with no am­pli­fied plat­form to sit on. That’s the ar­gu­ment at least.

Why have me­dia agen­cies taken a lead­er­ship role in con­trol­ling ad­ver­tis­ing bud­gets over the past decade? Satish Mayya, CEO of BPG | Maxus, spells it out quite suc­cinctly in the fol­low­ing pages. “The shift is di­rectly cor­re­lated to the trend in con­sumers’ me­dia con­sump­tion,” he says. “Dig­i­tal and tech­nol­ogy have be­come main­stream me­dia, con­sumers have mul­ti­ple screens and mul­ti­ple plat­forms to en­ter­tain them­selves and so­cialise. This com­plex­ity is a huge mar­ket­ing chal­lenge lead­ing ad­ver­tis­ers to look up to MBUS for an op­ti­mal so­lu­tion.”

We live in a dy­namic yet com­plex world. Tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing ev­ery­thing. Which is why those in­hab­it­ing the me­dia land­scape can be for­given for some­times feel­ing fright­ened, be­mused or over­worked. It’s the rea­son why the chal­lenge of bridg­ing the gap be­tween cre­ativ­ity and tech­nol­ogy is a con­stant one, and why cre­ativ­ity lags be­hind tech. It’s also the rea­son why the pace of change can be in­sane for those work­ing in me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing, and why keep­ing up with that change is of para­mount im­por­tance.

Where will it all end? Your guess is as good as mine. There are those who be­lieve we will go com­pletely full cir­cle and re­vert to full-ser­vice agen­cies once again. If we do, it seem in­creas­ingly likely that me­dia will be in the driv­ing seat if the full-bod­ied re­turn of the one-stop shop ma­te­ri­alises.

Why? Be­cause mea­sure­ment, data anal­y­sis, tech­nol­ogy and the abil­ity to make sense of a plethora of in­for­ma­tion is only go­ing to in­crease in im­por­tance. Clients know this and are in­creas­ingly seek­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions so­lu­tions un­der a sin­gle roof. Whether that roof is at a group level or an agency level is as yet un­clear, but it looks more likely to be group un­less clients de­mand fur­ther con­sol­i­da­tion.

Some­one, some­where, af­ter all, has to man­age the com­pli­cated world of de­vices and cus­tomised ads that target spe­cific au­di­ences based on real-time anal­y­sis of con­stantly chang­ing data. Data that must in­form not only cre­ative, but me­dia buy­ing, brand ex­pe­ri­ences and cus­tomer re­la­tions.

As Houda Tohme, gen­eral man­ager of Havas Me­dia UAE, says: “Clients are look­ing be­yond their me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions groups for so­lu­tions [that] fit modern brand and mar­ket­ing needs. The re­al­i­ties of the me­dia have changed, the con­sumer has adapted and evolved, and so must agen­cies.”—i.a.

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