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Which Comes First – Media or Creative?

Posted by Neil Pace on Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

It’s a question that clients have always struggled with. It’s certainly not as polarizing as the “chicken or the egg” question might be, but it’s a question that every client wished they knew the answer to before they selected a vendor. “Is the media more important than the creative?” Or vice versa. We have our own perspective on this and you might be surprised by the answer considering we’re a media only agency.

It’s neither.

No wait. It’s both.

Let us explain.

Media can’t be planned in a vacuum. There are so many options out there that are reliant on the creative assets available or that can be developed. McCulloch+Company has worked on several plans that have over delivered on client’s expectations, only to have to rework those plans because the creative assets or the budget to create those assets weren’t available. Don’t get us wrong - we’re happy to rework plans for a client. But when you’ve shown them the best possible version of a program and are then forced to downgrade it in any way, all the client sees is what might have been. In our experience, that can cast a shadow over every effort made moving forward.

The same goes for creative. As a media agency, it not uncommon for us to be brought on board after a creative agency has already developed or gotten approval on concepts. As a whole there’s nothing wrong with that. But if an execution presented is not one that is recommended or available from a media standpoint, it can leave a bad taste in the client’s mouth. Billboard creative when there was no inventory available. Television spots when the budget didn’t allow its inclusion. Magazine ads that don’t fit your target audience. Not to mention the time and energy that the creative team effectively wasted on unusable concepts. “I wish we could still use [insert creative option here]” is a refrain we’ve heard all too often in the past.

The truth is a cohesive advertising program needs to be developed with the media and creative team collaborating every step of the way. This is especially true if the budget for media and creative come from the same bucket, which is the norm these days. And it doesn’t matter who was brought on the account first. Egos need to be checked at the door. Otherwise, both agencies will be down a client and the client is back at square one.

McCulloch+Company prefers to think of ourselves as an extension of your marketing department, and we’ve cultivated a list of creative partners that have the same philosophy. And that’s how we see them - as partners - working toward a common goal of making your business successful.

McCulloch+Company is an advertising media services company that integrates the innovation of digital media with the strengths of traditional paths. Founded in 1994 and located in historic Roswell, Georgia, McCulloch+Company is regarded as one of the Southeast's preeminent media agencies. The agency is skilled at managing B2B and B2C clients in a multitude of industry categories. 

Topics: creative agency, Media Agency, partnership

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