The Struggle To Improve Creative

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that P&G and J&J are pushing for tighter integration between agency disciplines, particularly media planning and creative.

Johnson & Johnson has joined a growing list of marketers who are dissatisfied with the way advertising firms are structured, and it is calling for more collaboration between the people who do the consumer research and the people who actually create the ads.
J&J’s comment comes a month after Procter & Gamble, the U.S.’s largest advertiser by spending, offered a similar critique.
J&J’s views are particularly relevant now because the New Brunswick, N.J., owner of brands such as Band-Aid, Neutrogena, Listerine and Splenda recently placed its estimated $3 billion global media buying and planning account up for bid, creating a scramble on Madison Avenue. As part of that review, it is asking all the companies competing for the business to create a special division to handle the communications planning, or consumer-research, duties.
“We are looking to the agencies…to improve the model,” says Kim Kadlec, Johnson & Johnson’s global media chief. She believes the separate division will ensure that consumer research will have a greater impact on the type of ads that get created.

In other words, instinct and trusting one’s gut are totally out of vogue. In this MBA-laden environment, the need to prove and test and track is fast getting out of hand. Something tells me Bill Bernbach’s “Think Small” would never make it past a focus group today.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.