Time for a new name?

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Non-working media lay the groundwork for advertising excellence. (Photo courtesy of the Kheel Center, via Flickr.)
Non-working media lay the groundwork for advertising excellence. (Photo courtesy of the Kheel Center, via Flickr.)

Labels can be misleading. In the advertising world, it's time we came up with a new name for 'non-working media' -- the people who break ground for big campaigns.

As a young account director, I used to joke that I longed for the day when I would be classified as "management overhead."  Now I find that I, and all of my colleagues, are frequently labeled as "non-working media."

That would be the people who do, and analyze, the research to come up with the insights. The people who use these insights to create powerful campaign ideas and craft and produce all the executions. The people who plan who to reach, when and where, and buy all that working media.

In an age when there is clear evidence of increasing leverage in targeting, context, messaging and creativity — leverage that is measured not in percentages but double-digit multiples — and where "earned media" (100 percent "non-working media") is not just celebrated, but actively sought by clients, does this really make sense?

I will argue as strongly as anybody for the value of an extra dollar invested in media, but I think we should find a more accurate descriptor for the other dollars clients invest.

How about "working non-media" instead?

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