Today, Stuart Elliott reported in the New York Times:
General Mills will let its two principal agencies, Campbell Mithun and Saatchi & Saatchi, determine the media in which ads run and which agencies will create them, in a bottom-up approach. Previously, the approach was top-down as brand managers at General Mills coordinated those efforts, working not only with the principal agencies but also with agencies that produced online, retail and minority campaigns.
The goal is "to make sure a campaign, from the get-go, is media neutral, going to the best place for that brand," Mr. [Mark] Addicks [General Mills' CMO] said. Media neutral means that ads run where they belong most, rather than in outlets predetermined by tradition or the size of a commission.
First, I commend General Mills’ CMO for recognizing that he has a problem. Here’s a man who’s investing over half-a-billion dollars a year on his various brands and he’s seeing that the returns just aren’t there. However, everyone take note: This is a stop-gap measure at best that—I predict—won’t effectively address the real problems that the company’s marketing organization is working to overcome, i.e., to “adapt to the new-media landscape as it tries to reach consumers using nontraditional approaches like the Internet, e-mail marketing and branded entertainment.” Mark, it’s no longer simply about getting the media placements right.