media or creative – which should come first?

It was a regular Monday morning at Jack in the box. We had just finished our weekly team breakfast and were getting down to business in the boardroom. Up for discussion, a new client in need of some serious promotion. The creative department were on track with the new brand and the strategic department were working hard on the promotional plan, but then the media plan reared its ugly head. It was soon discovered that two consecutive 40 cm x 2 column ads had been booked in the local paper without consulting the creatives. The great debate was on. What should come first? The creative or the media.

Being a wholisticmarketing agency, we at Jack in the box often have this debate, which is to be expected given there are left-brainers working so closely alongside us right-brainers. It is one that is fought with passion, particularly by our strategic department. As a member of the ‘creative’ side of this debate I thought I would voice my opinion once and for all.

Having studied marketing as a part of my university degree, I know the importance of studying consumer behaviour, market trends and making sure your media mix appeals to the correct target market for your product. Nobody knows this information better than our strategic team. They have access to mountains of information about who is buying what, why they buy it, when they are watching TV and what they are reading. They could probably even tell you what your favourite TV program is. This is why I believe that the media mix should definitely be locked in before the creative process starts.

What I don’t agree with is the format within this media vehicle being booked without consulting the graphic designer who will be working on the advertising. Choose the specialty section, choose the publication date, even pick the page but let the designer have some say over the size or format. There is no point booking a 1 minute TVC if the creative concept only works in a 15 second format. Likewise, if you only have landscape images to work with there is no point booking a 1 or 2 column advertisement because you can’t show off your product to full advantage. Of course, if you as a client have already booked your media, we will make it work, but remember it is always best to consult us first.

So there you have it, a graphic designer’s view of the great debate, where strategic comes out way ahead. Feel free to add your own comments.