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Omar Oakes 

Week in Media: Mediapalooza may last forever

Week in Media: Mediapalooza may last forever

The current higher than usual volume of account reviews is likely to last well into next year and beyond, predicts the editor of Mediatel News. But what challenges will this throw-up?

After having recently pointed out that the commercial media market is becoming too volatile to predict, it’s probably not the time to start guessing what will happen next year.

But, then again, where’s the fun in that?

It increasingly looks like ‘Mediapalooza’ is going to be a permanent state of affairs. At least this higher than usual volume of account reviews is likely to last well into next year.

Philippe Dominois, CEO and founder of media pitch consultancy Abintus, told me this is due the volume of pitches being so large that many media agencies have been turning down opportunities to pitch and, therefore, smaller advertisers are having to wait their turn.

He explains it this way: “It is, logical to assume that the medium/small-sized advertisers will jump on the media agency pitch wagon next year not to be left empty-handed.”

This creates a potential problem, however. If media agencies have been fighting tooth and nail in 2021 to win the larger priority accounts, will they have resources left over to properly service the smaller accounts they pick up next year?

Dominois warns: “If [a smaller brand’s] media agency has recently won one of the world's biggest advertisers, has it thrown in the kitchen sink to win it? What impact will this have on its existing clients?”

But there are more compelling reasons to assume the likes of Abintus, and the recently majority-acquired MediaSense, may continue to benefit from continued pitchmania.

Nick Emery, speaking on our new weekly video series ‘Making Sense of it All’, is confident that advertisers are increasingly turning away from the idea of having an ‘agency of record’ altogether.

“[Clients] need people who can fit in around their teams ... we want to create several organic solutions for clients and assemble and dissemble teams. Because six months ago you probably didn't need a team which was concentrating on decentralised finance  and the metaverse and NFTs but now you do," he says.

Of course, it’s in Emery’s interest to say that, but the underlying point remains: the demands of marketing can change rapidly and agencies will either need to continually prove their agility or be prepared to work with a broader spectrum of specialists.

This could prove to be a headache for account handlers who may find it hard to manage clients and deal with their own agency colleagues.

But, as Simon Akers’ thoughtful column yesterday remains us, agencies will continue to have an “unfair advantage”.

“There are literally hundreds of media planners working across agencies every day,” Akers writes. “Agencies are also where the learning and the adoption of the less ‘performance-focussed’ channels can be adopted.”

This is why tech platforms like Snap are increasingly looking to hire senior media planners like Jed Hallam, formerly of Initiative, as they seek more direct relationships with brands.

If all this sounds like it’s a good time to be working in media because there are loads of jobs to be filled, then you’d be right to trust your instincts.

There’s a reason why everyone on your LinkedIn is posting vacancies – there are simply more companies looking to hire from broadly the same talent pool.

We could be at the beginning of a strange paradox in commercial media. While media agencies may be more in-demand than ever before, the volatile nature of supplying what advertisers want could make this a profoundly difficult time for agencies.

But then, only a fool would make predictions now, right?


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