Media360: Maxus's Pattison on why 'we need to act like dolphins'

Lindsay Pattison: the chief executive of Maxus UK
Lindsay Pattison: the chief executive of Maxus UK

Lindsay Pattison, the chief executive of Maxus UK and chair of this year's Media360, has said media agencies, owners and brands need to behave like dolphins and be both innovative and social to stay ahead of other markets.

Pattison, who is also the global chief strategy officer of Maxus, said in her opening speech at Media360 that the industry needs to work together in a spirit of "collaboration, innovation and acceleration".

In a series of examples from animals, she said that a dolphin adapts to find food in different ways: from looking under rocks to mimicking human hunting behaviour.

Crucially, Pattison added, it works with other dolphins to develop these approaches.

"The dolphin innovates in a social way," she said. "In a more democratic age when media, brands and consumers are coming closer, they become more co-dependent."

Innovation, Pattison said, "Shouldn't be contrived and handed down" but should be useful and social.

She argued collaboration should be defined as more than working together, but rather challenging and stimulating each other.

But this is different from agencies and brands being pitted against each other, which could lead to the UK losing influence, she said: "If we are against each other, it means we decelerate and procrastinate, and then fall behind consumers and then more crucially behind some of the eastern markets which are snapping at our heels."

Speaking at London’s Tobacco Dock venue, Pattison went on to talk about media more broadly, how planning buying had altered in recent years and was becoming more important in the wider industry. 

She said: "We don't buy media in the same way: the industry has moved on, so get over it. We can't blindly buy attention; we have to earn it. We now have a media landscape of extreme fragmentation, such as ad avoidance — often overstated — and ad blindness — often understated."

Media agencies now have a much closer relationship with clients than in previous years, and had evolved to command more than "those squeezed two slides at the end of a creative agency pitch".

Follow all the news and commentary on Media360 with the Twitter hashtag #M360UK

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