Broader views of neutrality

Charlie Makin’s contribution to the media neutrality debate (MW September 19) seems to have missed the larger point.

Media neutrality is only one aspect of the bigger question of communication neutrality. Makin recognises this, but only considers a narrow range of media as appropriate solutions to the communication problem. PoP or product packaging, or any number of areas that are not traditional media, are equally part of the communications process as the radio or SMS examples he cites.

I have yet to encounter a media agency that is broad-minded enough to step outside of traditional media solutions, and brave enough to tell the client that, for instance, the packaging is the communication problem. Equally, there are any number of clients who believe that media is the solution before anything else.

I agree that the best media planners are already media neutral. However, consumers interact with brands through every contact, not just media. Clients and their agency teams need to challenge all aspects of their brands before deciding that media is the way forward. This makes the process even more challenging, but at least sorts out what, where and how the story should be told before the media brief is written. Media neutrality is tinkering at the edges; communication neutrality is where the consumer is at and where client and agency teams need to be.

Oliver Devine



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