Monday, January 21, 2019

2016 Year in Perspective - Jim Elliott

1) What industry trends or developments were most significant in 2016?

2) How did your agency or agency department adapt or adjust to the marketplace in 2016? (diversification, new resources and talent in different areas, new strategies, etc.) 

3) What work in 2016 are you most proud of? (Please cite any unique challenges encountered)

4) What do you think the “next big thing” in production or post and/or social media will be in 2017?

Jim Elliott
Global Chief Creative Officer
Arnold Worldwide

1) One trend every agency has been monitoring with a morbid fixation is the gradual erosion of the standard AOR model (thanks to a sea of other new trends). Brands have never been as promiscuous as they are right now in terms of marketing partnerships (“trysts,” really). With a dizzying proliferation of every conceivable permutation of an agency-like object – from media companies and social platforms as content factories, to management consultants with fledgling in-house creative departments, to digital specialty shops, social shops, experiential shops, experience design shops, etc.--all promising a Shangri-La of instantly actionable data. It’s like a LaGuardia Airport control tower radar screen full of shiny, fast-moving new options. All jockeying for a slice of the proverbial pie.

Speaking of trends: now imagine monitoring all that activity on Facebook Live through a pair of VR goggles connected via iBeacon to an AR mobile app synched to an AI chatbot that coaches you through the madness in the native tongue of Nien Nunb circa Battle of Endor, as translated in real-time by IBM’s Watson.

2) At a time of unprecedented disruption and change within our industry, one thing remains constant: the need for passionate, collaborative, “big idea”-driven talent. Better still if they come equipped with a hybrid toolkit. And we’ve been fortunate enough to attract some truly great folks in this regard.

Jon Drawbaugh recently joined us as EVP, director of integrated production, overseeing Arnold’s comprehensive cross-channel production capabilities, including our robust and growing digital, brand experience and creative technology offerings. 

Meanwhile, we’re going all-out to expand our tech/innovation capabilities with the addition of folks like Daniel Liss who recently joined our creative technology team as a creative director, filmmaker and technologist.
James Bray recently joined us after having spent six extremely productive years as ECD of M&C Saatchi LA. And Chris Valencius brings world-class experience and accolades to a small town distillery as the new SVP, creative director on Jack Daniel’s.

At the same time, we’ve seriously doubled down on our strategic offerings with the addition of Nisha Dass as global director, business strategy & analytics, corporate strategy, and Ed Castillo as global chief strategy officer.

3) I’m always proud of work that boldly and without a lot of pretense taps into an undeniable vein of truth.

Which is why I’m particularly proud of our recent work for Jack Daniel’s, which puts the actual townspeople of Lynchburg (where every single drop of the delicious liquid is made) right smack-dab in the center of the spotlight. Just a grassy hillside on the outskirts of town filled with several dozen colorful (and real) locals with names like Hiawatha Kitty McGee. 

It’s why I’m also quite proud of our recent “Water Should Be PUR” campaign for PUR water filters, which boldly inserts the brand into the national, post-Flint Michigan water contamination conversation. We set-up a pop-up “water bar” in Manhattan that served different tap water from around the country while informing customers about the “ingredient” facts of each variety. The microsite lets people track the source and journey of their tap water by typing in their home address. 

On the lighter side of truth, there’s our new work for Progressive Insurance which shines a fun light on the very real phenomenon that first-time homeowners face: becoming their parents.

4) Next Big Thing in Production/Post:
I’d have to say that the further maturation of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will continue to drive development of technologies to transport us to the next level of interactive content. I’m particularly intrigued by innovations like Interactive Dynamic Video (being developed at MIT) and Mixed Reality.

Next Big Thing in Social Media:
The proliferation of brands building off of platforms like Facebook Live and Snapchat to make big, real-time creative programming that takes advantage of all the scale and audience targeting these platforms offer.

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