Point of view: Media planning - friend or foe

John Woodward
Publicis Worldwide

It was interesting this week to read that Visa is overhauling its advertising development process, joining the growing band of major clients who are involving the media agency before the creative agency, and doing the media planning before the creative ideation.

This is, I think, a good thing. However, it's frequently misunderstood, and badly executed, either because media agencies have a mistaken idea of how they can add value or because they are ill-equipped in staffing or skills. The result is often, therefore, strategy proliferation, friction between media and creative agencies, and unhappiness. By being precise about the value a media agency can add, much of this can be avoided. There are good reasons for putting the horse before the cart.

First, in a practical sense, we need to know what sort of formats to create, or at least what sort of moments of receptivity to target before we get the crayons out, and that is no longer as straightforward as it used to be.