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Tom DenfordMar 30, 20233 min read

Who Wins the 'Better Media' Award for 2023?

Brands Deserve Better Media

A weekly column from @tomjdenford


When we reflect on the best media work of the last year, how much should we consider its impact on equity, truth and the fate of planet earth? 


I have spent this last week reading and evaluating some very interesting award entries. It is for a new award called the ‘Better Media Practice Award’ that we launched this year in partnership with the Festival of Media.


A new award for a more conscious industry

This new award category for 2023 will recognize the progress we are making as an industry and celebrate those committed to delivering a better quality media outcome for the brands we love. The award looks to celebrate those in the media industry who are striving to make media better for brands, improve the marketer experience and make a positive impact in the world.


Better media practice is really driven by the idea that we are all in service of brands. Maybe that doesn’t sound very revolutionary, but yet we do have to remind ourselves that in the media industry we are working to build brands, because otherwise media becomes a robotic financial engineering exercise. We're all in service of the brands we love and our consumers love brands; that's one thing we can all agree on.


A current focus on sustainability and inclusivity

The award entries I have reviewed covered a wide range of subjects within the broad tent of Better Media. I was really curious to see how the category would be interpreted by the brands and agencies entering. There is certainly more emphasis on work to reduce the environmental impact of advertising and also to promote inclusivity and equity in advertising. Some examples include:

  • New methods for tracking and reducing emissions from media campaigns

  • Innovative promotion of environmentally conscious consumer products 

  • Campaigns pushing for inclusivity and promoting empathy in social media

  • New KPI setting and measurement approaches that change behaviors

  • New techniques that help media campaigns benefit disadvantaged groups in society


It is amazing to learn about all this great new thinking and I’m excited for you to see the winning entries in a couple of months, after the final judging rounds. What I think is most significant is that some of the entries are promoting new techniques for how we measure success in advertising. Personally, I think that will be the real driver of change in the industry for the better. 


$600bn is a lot of influence

It's important for the media industry to pan-out sometimes and think about some of the wider implications of this $600 billion industry. We have a lot of power and influence and I think in recent years there's been a bit more of a move to a greater consciousness about the impact those dollars can have. 


Those in media are increasingly aware of diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry. We all recognize now the impact that media dollars can have on quality independent journalism. We are starting to correlate a rise in societal divisions with the growth of social media platforms. The energy use of digital marketing is vast and the environmental impact of our industry must be considered and reconciled. 


Are we making any progress?

These are just some of the bigger impacts of media that we should be more conscious of. It's important to recognize the progress we've made (where we have made it) and perhaps give people some inspiration and new ideas along the way. Let’s celebrate media that is being planned with a wider consciousness. 


'The ID Comms Better Media Practice Award' is a special award given to the advertiser, agency, publisher or campaign that can demonstrate an innovative approach to media that intentionally considered a wider impact of the media investment.


The jury will decide

It has been great to see agency leadership lean into this award and show us their very best progressive thinking and help set new standards for media planning and execution.


I’m looking forward to final decision-making with the Festival of Media jury - comprised of top marketers, agency executives and publishers - to identify the very best media ideas of the year that had consciousness built-in, by design.


The short-listed entries will be announced on April 13, with the winners announced at the live finals ceremony on June 1.


Brands deserve better media. When brands get the media they deserve they grow, and when brands flourish, we all win. Let’s celebrate those making media better. 





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