Paid, owned and earned media: Integration's Holy Grail

Alistair Green

Getting paid, owned and earned media to work in tandem, enhancing the effect of each, is the ultimate goal, but it requires a fully integrated marketing structure

I got my first job in advertising because of integration – not that I completely understood what it meant at the time. When asked at the job interview what a renowned denim client should do to lure back its lost youth audience, I drew breath and suggested they needed to do a bit more than a cracking TV ad. All the brand's hideous retail consumer touchpoints needed to reflect the brand values in the TV ads, which were the coolest on air. They needed to think of all consumer touchpoints as media, and they needed to be all joined-up. Fortunately, my prospective employer seemed to agree, and I got the job.

We achieved a lot in terms of integration in that era, around 1999. We made everything look as cool as the TV. It was integrated, it all looked the same – job done. Since then, consumer behaviour and technology have changed. Everything and everyone became a brand, reality became the new drama and every little scandal is instantly public news on a global scale. The effects on brands and their agencies are huge.