1) What industry trends or developments were most significant in 2018? 

2) How did your company, agency, network, service or studio adjust/adapt to the marketplace in 2018? (diversification, new resources/talent/technology, new strategies, etc.) You are welcome to cite a specific piece of work which shows how lessons learned in 2018 were applied.

3) What work in 2018 are you most proud of? 

4) Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the industry--creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint--in 2019? 

5) What’s your New Year’s resolution, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your company, agency or division? Do you have a personal New Year’s resolution that you can share? And if you like, tell us about a project you’ll be working on in early 2019

Eric David Johnson
SVP, Executive Music Producer
McCann NY

1) More, cheaper, faster. These three things are definitely top of mind this year. And I don’t mean this necessarily in a negative sense - rather it is the truth of the practicalities of what our industry is demanding of us right now. Clients are facing it, agencies are handling it, and vendors feel it too. We’re all in this continuing disruptive and evolving labdscape - so while challenging in many regards, I’m finding with my agency team/personnel ways for us to create more innovative projects and meaningful branding opportunities for our clients. Thanks in large part to our amazing collaborators on the vendor side. They sometimes are the unsung heroes making us all look good. So here’s my little shout-out and thank you to them. Thank you.

2) I think that one of the biggest challenges that we face in 2018 on the behalf of our clients is finding ways for brands to play meaningful roles in consumers’ (re: an audience) lives. For me, one of my favorite projects I’ve ever been able to help out on (let alone in 2018) was our MGM “Universal Love” project. Alongside executive producer Deb Archambault, the creative team at McCann and the executive music producers at Wool & Tusk, we worked tirelessly to create an album of love songs intended for the LGBTQ+ community, with household names like Bob Dylan and Kesha. Not only was it recognized within our industry but was lauded amongst music experts as well--which I think goes to illustrate just how robust and innovative it was--and on a personal level, it felt like such a win, particularly within the current political and cultural environment, which all too often feel like a loss. It was amazing for us to work with a brave client to effectively create cause-based work that resonated on a larger cultural level. #UniversalLove #Pride

3) MGM Universal Love - as mentioned above - is something I am, and always be, super proud of. Was nothing short of epic. Additionally, the Mastercard campaign around this past year’s Grammys that I was able to work on with SZA and six up and coming artists (William Prince, Radkey, Victoria Canal, The Tracks, Ruby Ibarra and Noe Socha) was not only so much fun to work on (weeks working at Electric Lady Studios!!!), super successful for the brand (incredible ROI, metrics and brand recognition) but it even went on to positively impact the lives of the emerging artists, who have since had additional successes in the music industry.

4) More cultural relevant and resonant work that has a meaningful role in people’s (not just consumers) lives. In many ways, at one of their best, brands can be patrons of the arts and of change and cultural impact. These are the kinds of projects that I’m particularly keen to work on.

5) New Year’s resolution is to be brave, innovative, create meaningful work and be an unflaggingly force of positivity in the world.

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