by Giannis Stoubos, Chief Revenue officer of Tailwind EMEA.

Article originally appeared at Campaign Middle East.




The creative media gap


Picture this for a second: Mary, the marketer, pours her heart and soul with her agency to craft and launch a campaign that resonates with her target audience. They launch it online, hoping it’ll stand out., yet amidst the sea of content out there, Mary’s ad gets lost in the crowd, “passing like a ship in the night”, as David Ogilvy would say. Sounds frustratingly familiar, doesn’t it? 


Welcome back to the relentless battleground of digital marketing, where every click and scroll can lead to a new discovery and a new distraction. Here Mary and all her fellow marketers are fighting for the most precious commodity of all: Consumer Attention.  


In this landscape of fragmented media consumption, relentless ad clutter, looming data deprecation, and insatiable consumer appetite for engaging content, the stakes have never been higher. The undeniable truth? Compelling advertising isn’t just desirable— it’s essential for growth.  


The power of creative to drive brand growth has repeatedly been highlighted as the advertising variable with the highest potential to drive brand growth amongst practitioners. Research by Flashtalking finds that 65% of marketers identify creative as the advertising variable with the highest potential to drive growth and business outcomes. Technology is an essential enabler of the creative process. Generative AI (genAI), which accelerates marketers’ adoption of intelligent creativity, supercharges technology’s impact. 



Creative variable has the highest potential to drive brand growth



Yet, our industry’s response over the last 15 years has been over-indexing on media at the expense of creative, which has created a gasping chasm. Let’s call it the “creative-media gap”. The rise of programmatic advertising has exacerbated this trend, with its over emphasis on data-driven targeting and automation. While programmatic has undoubtedly revolutionized ad buying and optimization, it has sometimes led to a diminished role for creative teams. Media teams, armed with advanced analytics and targeting tools, have gained prominence, while creative teams have often been relegated to a more executional, less strategic role. 


Today’s creative-media gap manifests itself in three distinct ways:  

First, siloed teams, process, and technology, creating inefficiencies with escalating costs and slow go to-market. A recent report by Forrester ranks the disconnect between media and creative teams as the most important one, and highlights the need for brands and agencies to align their strategy, people and processes to see the value of their technology investments. 

Second, repetitive, and irrelevant messaging, not considering the media context, numbing consumers – no surprise that ad-blocking usage is so high – and reducing their responsiveness. Neglecting creativity in favor of media efficiency can result in generic, uninspired campaigns that fail to make a meaningful impact. 


Third, the lack of creative intelligence, creating hurdles in learning what content resonates. Unlike third-party audience data suffering from signal loss, creative data is superabundant but is not used as frequently to optimize campaigns. 


To bridge the gap marketing teams must pivot towards:  

Breaking down silos between media and creative teams, processes, and technology platforms. Foster joint teams that unite left- and right-brained talent under the same goal. 

Bringing back the “big idea” in a relevant way; crafting brand messages tailored to the individual, the context, and the moment to ensure resonance. Story telling is even more important today and it can be more powerful when amplified by technology.  

Embedding creative insights into every stage of the optimization process. 


But here’s the kicker: The Ad-Tech industry holds the key to unlocking this potential. By striking the right balance between creativity and targeting, it can revolutionize advertising as we know it. How? By spearheading the development of captivating ad formats, automating creative production across diverse channels, and harnessing the power of real-time audience targeting with insights-driven creative optimization.


So, if Mary and her fellow marketers are tired of spinning their wheels on the merry-go-round of lackluster advertising, there’s a clear path forward: Bridge the Creative-Media Gap, unleash the power of creativity, and emerge victorious in the battle for Consumer Attention. The time is now.