Monday, June 18, 2018
  • Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
Production Outlook Survey: Half-Empty or Half-Full Glass?
A scene from The New York Times lauded VR piece, "The Displaced"
Industry execs & artisans see opportunities in challenging times

If you view the glass as half empty, the dawn of the so-called post-truth era has us coming up short—an increasingly short attention span, a divided nation with short tempers on either extreme, and logic, civility and decency seemingly getting short shrift. 

But for the optimist, these uncertain, challenging times can intensify faith in the human spirit, and generate meaningful, sorely needed opportunities to do good.

In entertainment and advertising, filmmakers and brands can bring a smile to audiences, raise awareness of issues, and bring people together on a more positive path. Many see an unprecedented opportunity for brands to stand for something substantive and in the process not only gain relevance in the marketplace at large but also weave their way more deeply into the social fabric. Being able to convey that what we have in common is more powerful than what divides us can prove to be the most valuable form of branding—for not only brands but their prospective consumers.

This optimism is evident and harbored in feedback to SHOOT’s Production and Post Outlook Survey for 2017, as expressed by a cross-section of agency creatives and business people, production company and post executives.

Survey respondent Justine Armour, group creative director at 72andSunny, observed, for example, “Given the tension swirling around us in the news, I think brands with a sense of humor and lightness are going to be such a relief. Information and argument will feel like a drag; this is a time for us to bring more inspiration to our work and be more entertaining and less literal. And I think we’re going to be having a lot of conversations about how brands should behave in the world when consumers, especially millennials, are becoming increasingly more activist and engaged.”

Javier Campopiano, chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi NY, noted, “Marketers and their partners will have to work together to be nimble and responsive to the changes in people’s moods, because that´s what big brands are supposed to do—be on the side of their customers, making them feel special and accompanied under any circumstance. And circumstances are going to be tougher, more challenging and more unexpected than in the past five years. On a second level, for big brands, keep doing what is needed to reinforce their positioning, vision and voice amid all the noise, despite the context. It is almost a schizophrenic task, but these are the times we live in, at least for a while.”

Lee Einhorn, associate partner/creative director, Venables Bell & Partners, said his shop’s New Year’s resolution encompasses, “Looking for big brands to play bigger roles in society. To be fearless as we continue to pursue creative platforms that can stretch to hold content that can educate, entertain and engage. As we pitch new business and expand relationships with existing clients, we have a pretty high bar when it comes to what we feel will move both our clients brands and our own brand forward. With regard to agency culture we want to change the way we each think about, connect with and represent those different from ourselves.”

Brian Latt, executive producer/partner at m ss ng p eces, shared that he’d like to think that “there’ll be a substantial increase in bold ads and campaigns that feed the activist spirit in each of us. The Women’s March helped bring together a lot of great voices with some powerful things to say...and it was a whole new level of awesome. I’m looking forward to affecting a change and helping the greater community.”

Michael Raso, VP/executive creative director, CP+B, shared, “This is a time when people are questioning more, and making their own stand. They’re also looking at brands in the same way. We say this a lot at CP+B, but actions speak louder than words. Brands can take action and make a stand. You see this with REI’s Opt Outside work. It’s hard to make a brand meaningful to someone if we keep saying the same things. An action like REI’s is a stand. It helps define what the brand means to you. Warby Parker, TOMS, you get the drift. This is what changes perceptions and behavior towards a brand.”

Sarah McMurray, executive producer, Hey Wonderful, affirmed, “Confronted with the uncertainty and fragility that 2017 has ushered in, storytelling and the way that it binds and inspires us is more important now than ever.”

Several respondents pointed to the new levels of interactivity and immersion afforded by VR and AR as bringing new dimensions to such storytelling.

For those who see the glass as half full, VR represents more than a business opportunity. VR can put viewers in the shoes of people they might not ever get to meet. Last year The Displaced scored assorted accolades including the Cannes Lions Entertainment Grand Prix and Mobile Grand Prix honors, and Best In Show from the AICP Next Awards. Produced for The New York Times by (now Here Be Dragons), The Displaced put viewers directly inside the global refuge crisis. VR enabled people to develop an empathy for those they might never get to know or feel for otherwise. 

The potential of the immersive dynamic could be further realized in 2017, helping viewers to break out of insular worlds and delve into other people’s experiences. Of course, we’re then back to the human factor—as to whether such tools will be used for enlightenment or propaganda. Still, fostering empathy could be part of the cure for what ails us if filmmakers and brands can thoughtfully and responsibly deploy these new storytelling tools.

Promise, potential, predictions are all prominent this time of year as we try to get a handle on what’s in store. Towards that end this SHOOT Outlook Survey provides food for thought—and perhaps action.

SHOOT posed the following four questions to members of the agency, production and post communities:

1) Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the industry—creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint—in 2017? 

2) What’s your New Year’s resolution, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your company, agency or division? And if you like, tell us briefly about a current project you are working on in early 2017? 

3) What’s the most relevant business and/or creative lesson you learned in 2016 and how will you apply it to foster success in 2017? 

4) Do you have a personal New Year’s resolution that you can you share? 

CLICK HERE to page through the survey responses, or click on the NAME below.

Name Title Company
Justine Armour Group Creative Director 72andSunny
Eric Berkowitz Founder and President Humble
Javier Campopiano Chief Creative Officer Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Lisa Clunie CEO Joan Creative
Jon Collins President, Integrated Advertising Framestore
Phillip Detchmendy Executive Producer RSA Films
Lee Einhorn Associate Partner/Creative Director Venables Bell & Partners
Michelle Eskin Managing Director Cut+Run
Oliver Fuselier Managing Partner, Live Action Tool of North America
Vince Genovese Exec Director of Integrated Production BSSP
John Gilliand Executive Producer/Partner Lucky 21
Rick Jarjoura Executive Producer Biscuit Filmworks
Brian Latt Executive Producer, Partner m ss ng p eces
Todd Makurath President & CEO Bullitt
Tim McGuire President/CEO Cutters Studios
Sarah McMurray Executive Producer Hey Wonderful
Andres Ordonez Chief Creative Officer Energy BBDO
Stephen Orent Managing Partner Station Film
Michael Raso VP/Executive Creative Director CP+B
Tim Roper Founder. Writer-Director. F. Yeah & Associates
Rebecca Skinner Managing Director/Executive Producer Superprime
Sila Soyer Executive Producer Arcade Edit
Carl Swan Executive Producer/ Owner Community Films
Ed Ulbrich President and General Manager, VFX and VR Deluxe
Ari Weiss North American Chief Creative Officer DDB Worldwide