It is time for creative and media to get back together again, but some things have got to change first…


On the 23rd May 2024, Flock hosted Conscious Recoupling – an event centred around the dynamic between creative and media to discuss if the two disciplines were getting back together again.

We were joined by a lineup of great panellists each with such extensive experience, including:

  • Gabriella Neudecker, Marketing Director at Easyjet
  • Caitlin Ryan, Creative Leader ex. Meta, Karmarama and Proximity BBDO
  • Shula Sinclair, CSO at T&PMm
  • Mick Mahoney, Creative Coach ex. Ogilvy, Y&R and Havas

Here is a roundup of the key themes discussed.

Can and should media & creative come together again?

Simply put, yes. All agreed that when they do converge together, there are better outcomes and stronger work. The speed of optimisation and speed of culture requires creative and media to be joined up as a team.

But now, this is the exception to the rule. So, what is stopping the remarriage of the disciplines?

Context is important

Caitlin Ryan ex. Meta, spoke about the importance of context. As a creative you need to understand the context of where your message is going to be – the media of where you are operating. Separating this will not serve what your brand is trying to do. For instance, an influencer Instagram story is completely different to something appearing on the back of packaging. If the message does not fit the context does not work. Not everyone understands this.

Everyone wants to be in charge

We heard from Gabriella Neudecker, Marketing Director at Easyjet who said joining up creative and media is a tricky thing to do, especially in the day-to-day operations, more so than the initial brand strategy. In the day-to-day you start to see that there are different responses to briefs from creative and media, both wanting to lead the other. The tension becomes quite clear in the responses. The main issue is that most creative agencies do not fully understand the volume of content required for media platforms to feed the algorithm of modern media. To just create one big ad and slice and dice 30 ways is not enough, we need 3000 not 30.

Creative culture has got to change

A big topic of discussion was around culture being a big barrier to creative and media integration being driven especially from the creative side. There is a view that media companies are much more open to bringing creative in. Mick Mahoney, Creative Coach, spoke about his frustration with the industry still having such a narrow-defined idea of what creativity is. We still have the notion that creative is centred around TV ads and because of the way creatives are remunerated through awards this narrative is perpetuated. This is perpetuated on LinkedIn, where Cannes and other award coverage is focussed on TV and OOH, and stunts.

Technology isn’t the whole answer but….

Caitlin talked about how having data and tecnology at her fingertips changes the way that ideas are built – now they are a series of tests and iterations, rather than “ta-dah eureka” moment of days gone by. The technology will change some roles to being an editor and curator, but all panellists recognised the power of tying media data to the creative briefs, and live iterations.

The declining power of the creative agency

Shula Sinclair, CSO at T&Pm spoke about the territorial issues creative agencies have. There was time where the Creative Director was the be all and end all and the creative teams owned all the insights. Since then, they have had power chipped away at them slowly. Big data and other factors mean that clients can own insights, and it is no longer just what the creative Director says. She says this power struggle has prohibited creative agencies from fully innovating and moving forward.

Money talks and separates

The panel spoke about a lot of the disconnect between creative and media being driven by money. Unless you can change the financial structure model of how agencies can make money, there isn’t going to be a full integration. If agencies can start making money through integrated models, or getting paid for ideas, it will attract others to do the same.

To summarise, all agreed that media and creative are stronger together and should empower each other. However, there are still some quite big barriers to overcome to get to a place where a fully integrated model is the norm, not the exception.

If you missed this event, but want to join the next one, head over to our LinkedIn for updates on all upcoming events we have planned.

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