Media buying is losing its scientific temper. The media is increasingly becoming a commodity and the game is getting reduced to procurement at lowest rates. In an interview with Campaign,Jack Klues, Global CEO, Publicis Media Groupe, talks about this and other challenges the industry is grappling with.
When the trend in the industry seems to be launching more media and marketing outfits, Publicis Media Groupe is consolidating its business. What explains the consolidation of media buying under Indian Media Exchange?
The intention behind consolidating media buying of Starcom Media Vest and ZenithOptimedia is to build scale. That will give us a meaningful presence in the market and help us service our clients better. We have done it only in India and China because in the US and Europe, these two agencies are pretty strong individually. China and India are the fastest-growing markets for us. Hence, we thought better coordination between the two agencies would help.
Media buying seems to have been reduced to beating down advertising rates. By launching IMX, is Publicis also trying to build muscle to negotiate better?
Our intention is certainly not to build muscle to negotiate better rates with media owners. Indeed, better volumes allow some conveniences and clients do want better deliveries from each dollar spent, but pushing and cutting ad rates is a short-term approach. We have consolidated our business because it allows us to pool our resources and redefine our relationship with media owners from mere price negotiations to a better access to our capabilities and ideas across the two platforms.
You have vehemently opposed the suggestions to re-integrate creative and media buying functions. Arguably, consolidation should help both functions in serving client needs better.
The reasons why the two streams had been segregated have not changed, so why should their character be changed? In fact, the reasons for independent existence have become far more accentuated now. Thanks to media proliferation, there is an increased pressure on media buyers to understand and streamline the process of brand communication across all platforms. As an independent player, we can focus on our priorities and demand better attention from clients on issues pertaining to resources and investment.
You have been heard saying media proliferation is good for the industry. Many of your peers think it is a nuisance.
I think the debate over whether evolution of new media presents an opportunity or a challenge is immaterial because it is here to stay. Understanding new media requires application of research, strategy and planning.
What happens to traditional media such as TV or print?
In my professional career of three decades, I have not seen these mediums losing their relevance. They still continue to account for the lion’s share of advertising spends. Then, they themselves are devising ways to make themselves relevant for the new breed of consumers. While it is difficult to predict the future, I believe they will not become redundant, not in the near future, at least.