Creative Media: Telling a Story that Matters

By: Mandana Mellano, Chief Media Officer, Fallon

With the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in full swing this week honoring “creatives” and “creativity,” we also recognize the impact of creative media in a world that is far more complex than when the Cannes Lions opened in 1954.

What is creative media? Although there is more than one way of defining it, I, of course, see it through the lens of Fallon’s creative DNA: Bold in vision, relevant in culture, and effective in a very human way.

I know those attributes may not immediately seem expected for a media agency these days, but they’re exactly what makes us a different kind of media shop. Fallon as a full-service creative agency never unbundled its media business when the centralized media model redefined the world of advertising some 20 years ago. We didn’t unbundle because we always believed that for an amazing idea to land properly in the world and make a difference, we needed creative media talent by our side. The kind of talent that sees the world through the eyes of the consumer rather than a media planner/buyer.

Here’s how those principles come to life:

Bold in Vision.

Coming in with no preconceived notions of what a “media plan” should look and feel like. Consumers do not think or act within media channel walls, and neither do we.

Relevant in Culture.

Recognizing that culture is greater than your TV screen. Culture is toddlers being able to operate an iPhone, a village in a developing country getting wireless broadband connection, the underdog winning at the Olympics, or Snapchat’s featured story of the day. Experiences are all around us. Our job is to make meaningful, human-centered connections.

Effective in a Very Human Way.

People do not make decisions based on what they are told. They decide based on how they feel. We make them feel. Not only in what we communicate but also in how and where.

This belief practiced at Fallon has stood the test of time for more than 30 years, and today my team represents a new breed of media planners combining classic media experience with a modern approach to help clients succeed in a connected world.

Meanwhile, the industry is coming full circle in trying to create these synergies between creative and media. Big agencies offering to build custom teams with pseudo names and clients demanding integrated solutions with far too many wasted “all-agency days.” But deep deep down, we are all looking for the same thing — telling a story that matters. Whether that is for a bar of soap, a TV show, a can of soda, or a good cause — it’s all about telling a story that matters.

The new marketing landscape has warranted many new categories for the Cannes Lions. This year it’s the creative media approach that is the somewhat-invisible driving force behind this level of evolution. In fact, I believe that the agency of the future looks a lot more like a creative media shop than anything else — rooted in science, inspired by art, and enabled by technology.

We should all strive to tell stories that matter, and allow our media discipline to embody that sentiment with a confident outlook toward the future, both in what it requires and what it enables.