Media ink

Joe Mandese

MEDIA AGENCIES LACK INNOVATION AND VISION

I have a confession to make. Admap is not my primary publishing outlet. I have a day job in the US, editing online ad trade publications published by MediaPost. And about this time each year, our editorial team begins the process of reviewing and selecting our 'Agency of the Year' awards. Our criteria are a little different from those used by other trade publications, which generally emphasise things like new business wins, billings and creative awards. Our focus is on innovation, strategic vision and media industry leadership. And for each of the six years that I've been involved in these awards, we have selected some combination of Starcom MediaVest Group as our Media Agency of the Year, each and every year.

It hasn't been a popular decision. The top brass at the other big agency holding companies have scratched their heads over it, and have even said that our decision to give it to Publicis media agencies year after year has diluted the value of the award. Needless to say, we think it's just the opposite – that we've proven our editorial integrity by not simply spreading the honour around the industry, but genuinely recognising the best media agency each year, even if it happens to be the same one over and over again. But each year, when I stand at a podium in midtown Manhattan to bestow the award, I plead with other agencies to come back next year and unseat SMG.