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

Madison Wharton
Global Board Member, Integrated Production
Forsman & Bodenfors

1) What an intense year this has been. Our country is divided. The daily news is equally heartbreaking and terrifying. The planet is on a dangerous path. But in our industry, we have had moments of greatness. In our best moments, we’ve used our power for good. 
We’ve asked brands to define their purpose and stand up for what they believe in. We’ve celebrated good deeds, courage, love, family, and compassion. We’ve focused on creating inclusive communities within our agency environments and worked to make our industry make-up more diverse. We’ve put our damn foot down on sexual harassment. We gained greater awareness of the impact of our buying power and are taking significant measures to diversify our production partners. We are using technology in new ways to enhance our production possibilities, making what used to be impossible now possible. And we’re using technology to simplify the lives of our audiences. I’m reminded of Newton’s third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I’d like to think that our industry is more aware of its power and working towards a positive reaction now when it’s needed most. 

2) This was a very significant year for Forsman & Bodenfors. Our New York office worked closely with the 3% Movement, the Paradigm team, ADCOLOR, and other valued consultants to make significant strides in building an environment where all employees feel safe and valued. We merged two agencies that had shared values and complementary skills and became the new Forsman & Bodenfors, a new creative collective with 8 offices globally. We’ve adopted a flat, collaborative structure where the task is the only boss and are building tools to allow for interoffice/intercounty team collaboration. We’re building GrowYourCircle.org, a tool for the industry that will allow producers from any agency to find production partners across all aspects of underrepresentation.

3) I’m most proud of our work for Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative. This is a global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital. Earlier this year, a brief came our way to produce an integrated campaign for this initiative and it was obvious to me that we needed a female director but then I asked myself, “why stop there?” We challenged ourselves to make the entire production crew female. While we did not quite meet this goal, we were able to put together a team of predominantly women, from agency and production all the way through post-production. This obstacle inspired us to build GrowYourCircle.org, a tool that will give access to agency producers and production partners who are looking for skilled talent from different underrepresented backgrounds and experiences. There’s more to come from this tool in 2019!

4) Change is happening at exponential speed. Many of our clients’ industries are preparing for massive shifts in their business models like the auto industry, retailers and any brand competing against direct to consumer newcomers. The media landscape is changing by the second. And more than ever, audiences are making buying decisions based on a company’s brand values and purpose.

5) Creatively speaking, I want to find new opportunities with new interfaces like voice. I want GrowYourCircle.org to become an everyday tool for agency producers in every agency. Personally, I want to take my family to Asia. More family vacations. Less news. More hugs.

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