Well Done, Bega! Finally, Someone Gets It!

Well Done, Bega! Finally, Someone Gets It!
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Always quick off the mark, B&T’s resident rabble-rouser, Robert Strohfeldt, has used his latest blog to applaud Bega’s decision to hand media and creative to the one agency, Thinkerbell. And it’s time, he argues, other marketers followed suit…

I was reading yesterday’s media section on The Australian yesterday and saw on the front page the headline: “Bega not a happy Vegemite with ad spread.”

The story goes on to say, “Some of Australia’s top food brands, including Vegemite and Bega Peanut Butter have sent shock waves through the advertising world by moving all of their creative and media buying work to a single agency.”.

I realised that it has been well over 20 years since an MBA-driven idea separated creative and media.

So, a couple of generations of marketers and advertising people “grew up” thinking media is media, creative is creative and never the twain shall meet.

Totally fucking lunacy, driven by the “logic” of putting all holding company’s media dollars together to get a better deal. (Hence, I say MBA thinking because no decent advertising person could see any merit in the idea).

But these decisions were made far up the food chain and the media people, who have always struggled with low margins, though it a great way to increase these crappy margins.

Of course, if you stick to a revenue model that was first devised in the 19th century when agencies were “advertising agents” and simply bought as much print space, in bulk, as they could and then on sold it to clients, they deserved to be stuck in a revenue hole.

A lot had changed since the 1800’s and as well as just buying space, planning/advice was added to the mix (which required access to expensive media research), but still the old commissions revenue model stayed. No charge for the advice.

Media agencies, instead of working with creative to devise not only the most cost effective, but impactful way of reaching consumers, were left to their own devices.

I have a sneaking feeling that “content” had part of its genesis in media agencies trying to “add value”.

There is an old saying “Divide and conquer”. That has happened to agencies. There has been some debate about getting away from the past, long boozy lunches, politically incorrect jokes and 3pm drink carts, which were taken from hearsay and shows such as Madmen. (As I said in an earlier article there is a better work/life balance today than in the 80s and 90s when people worked ridiculous hours, leading to late night drinking sessions and many family break ups.)

The was a lot in the past that made advertising a great industry to work in and one that was respected.

I have said this so many times I have literally lost count: advertising = media + message.

Finally, some clients are realising this formula is where all great communications start.

With such a fragmented media landscape, it would seem obvious this basic is more important now than ever.

Well, finally someone gets it. Let’s hope it is the start of the industry fightback.

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Bega Robert Strohfeldt

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