And neither will a really fat media budget… but we’ll get to that…
Two days after returning from the AdAge Digital Conference, I’m still stuck on the Earned vs. Paid Media discussion that kicked off the event.
It all started with Fred Wilson’s opening keynote which proclaimed:
In case you’re new to the “paid” vs. “earned” debate, here’s a handy little diagram from David Armano, VP of Experience Design with Critical Mass:
Nifty, eh? And applicable not just to digital media but to ALL media (IMHO).
But what’s really interesting isn’t the rising trend toward earned and away from paid [a hotly debated issue!], but the bizarre skewing of creativity vs. spending within the two models (also from Fred’s presentation which can be downloaded here):
Is it me or does it appear the Paid Media approach is um… a little bit o’ cheating? A la “Just in case I’m not creative enough… I’ll BUY enough visibility to hammer the goddamn message home.”
So all this thinking was percolating in my teeny weeny brain when Simon Clift, CMO of Unilever stated rather bluntly (and probably to the great horror of his media planners):
“I’m convinced fat media budgets help make people lazy, and we’ve thought about [whether we] should cut media budgets on some specific projects in order to force people to come up with ideas.”
It’s no secret that the very best, most compelling “case studies” in marketing, advertising, and PR are those that succeeded in spite of tiny [or non-existent] media budgets—not because of them.
Yet the model that our industry was built on demands—and most certainly relies—on EXPOSURE, REACH, EYEBALLS, IMPRESSIONS [insert synonym of choice] doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.
I’m sorry, people, but that’s so 1999.
Which is why, true to character, I shall now throw down the proverbial gauntlet:
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A JOB IN MARKETING, ADVERTISING, OR PR 5 YEARS FROM NOW, PLEASE STOP COUNTING ON A FAT MEDIA BUDGET TO COMPENSATE FOR YOUR LACK OF CREATIVITY.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news (or do I? Jury’s still out…), but better be honest now than sorry later.
Earned media is here. It’s aggressive. And it has no respect for its elders.
So instead of fighting it, why not give it a big ole hug?