A Revolutionary Challenge to Conventional Wisdom
By Paul Feldwick, Former Worldwide Brand Planning Director BMP
As all readers of the Tintin books will know, Thomson is not to be confused with Thompson. Neither is J Walter Thompson to be confused with the Thomson Organisation, founded by the Canadian-born Roy Thomson, which during the 1960s was one of the main media proprietors in the UK. Between 1962 and 1971 it was the Thomson Organisation that sponsored a series of annual awards “to stimulate fresh thinking upon advertising research problems which are not adequately dealt with by existing techniques”.
It was a worthy intention and it seems a shame that, since 1971, as far as I know, neither media proprietor nor agency has supported anything comparable. Each year, Gold and Silver medals, with substantial cash prizes, were given for the best papers written on set topics. For the first five years, the focus was very much on media planning questions, but in 1967 the Thomson judges broadened the field to include issues of creative research, inviting papers for the Gold Medal on “the pre-testing of press advertisements”.
The original request for submissions suggests that, in the judges’ view, media planning had already become “analytical and sophisticated”. The challenge they saw now was for the development of creative content to be brought up to a similar standard of efficiency, and for press advertising – Thomson’s main interest – the state of practice was particularly problematic. ...