Some of Mark Ritson’s claims around media are ‘dangerous’ says media agency exec

A senior media agency strategist has taken issue with some of the claims made by controversial marketing academic Mark Ritson, saying he is not “representing all of the facts as we interpret them”.

Peita Pacey, Sydney head of strategy at Carat who is a lead on the Woolworths account, told the National Radio Conference some of Ritson’s claims around traditional media, and in particular TV, are “dangerous” for the industry.

Peita Pacey:

Peita Pacey: ‘I think it’s dangerous to be presenting it that way’

In a keynote session at Friday’s conference Ritson had revisited some of his previous claims around “bullshit” digital metrics, and accused media agencies as marginalising radio because they see it as “uncool”.

Ritson told the room: “Here’s the problem: your average media planner is 27 years old, he’s male, predominately he lives in Sydney, occasionally in Melbourne, he’s never read a newspaper, he doesn’t listen to the radio, he does have a TV but he claims he doesn’t. He is already living the dream of the future. They don’t have a sensitivity to these other media.

“Most of these media planners are very talented and smart people but they have no training in marketing and no training in media, the new generation.

“Marketers are now paranoid they don’t know what they’re doing, and the look on their faces when you recommend radio as an option is best described as unpalatable. It’s like you’re fucking crazy, radio?! What are you? It’s not 1962 mate.”

He also described radio as “the great multiplier” which “plays well with others” and said sales execs should be using that as their pitch to agencies, rather than a “versus” mentality trying to get dollars from other mediums.

Mark Ritson:

Mark Ritson: ‘The average media buyer is a 27 year old male’

In a later session discussing what media buyers are looking for from radio the panel was asked by an audience member whether Ritson’s presentation had “moved” them, and whether agencies do ignore radio because it is “uncool”.

Pacey replied: “He stoked a fire in your belly. He didn’t, I think, represent all of the facts as we interpret them.

“I think some of his messaging around digital overclaiming can be interpreted as valid. The facts that he delivered about TV and traditional TV still the life and soul, I think it’s dangerous to be presenting it that way because it’s not the way it is moving.

“I don’t feel like in our agency we look at radio as a has been media in any way shape of form. I think we need to look very differently at how we use radio. He’s right that it is a complementary medium, and we would never go 100% radio, people don’t just consume one channel. For me it’s about understanding radio’s role in the whole of the mix of what we’re trying to do for our particular campaign or client.”

Zoe May: A radio=only campaign 'worked well' for a client

Zoe May: A radio=only campaign ‘worked well’ for a client

However Maxus Sydney’s associate director of Intel Zoe May disagreed with that last point, saying they had just completed a 100% radio campaign “and it worked really well”.

She added: “I don’t think we look at radio as not being cool, it’s how do we see the next evolution of where it’s going as obviously you guys have big plans for that and you should tell us about it and tell us that as we’re really excited to hear about that.”

See Mark Ritson’s presentation atthis year’s  Mumbrella 360 where he also pulls apart “horseshit” digital metrics below.


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