What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2022 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of this year and beyond?
There have been a number of significant happenings at a global and U.S. level that we are all feeling the impact of; from the invasion of Ukraine and the shocking circumstances the Ukrainian people are navigating, to the knock on global economic effect on inflation, food and gas prices, to the spate of shootings and then the Roe v Wade decision that many are still processing. All of these occurrences have meant that we as industry/agency leaders must strive to have a greater level of empathy than ever for our talent and provide them with as much support as possible beyond the traditional parameters of work.
How have any societal issues--such as the pandemic, the Supreme court decision on abortion, calls for equity, inclusion, diversity, racial and social justice--impacted the way you do business, company policies and/or selection of projects/creative content?
Our agency was founded one month prior to the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Our first two years have been spent remote working and made the process of getting to know each other and shaping agency culture more challenging than in previous times. One of the positive changes for us in recent months has been the opportunity to bring our team together in person in a new office space on a regular hybrid basis. This brings with it a host of practical considerations that never existed pre-COVID but we’re navigating through how we make our in person time together as productive, meaningful and enjoyable as possible.
What’s the biggest takeaway or lessons learned from work (please identify the project) you were involved in this year?
One of our biggest takeaways is that sadly the societal issues we’re living through aren’t going away. If anything, the level of dissent in the U.S. will continue to heighten. This places even more importance on the work we do to shine a light on the injustices that exist and to try to broaden people’s view points. P&G’s “Widen The Screen” campaign, is a great example of the type of work our industry needs to be doing to broaden the lens on storytelling, stereotyping and biases that the media have played a part in defining.
What work (advertising, entertainment, documentary) -- your own or others--struck a responsive chord with you this year and why?
One of the campaigns that stood out for me recently is the Cannes Film Grand Prix winner--Channel 4’s “Super.Human.” It’s an exemplary film for its editing and sound craft but also beautifully captures how extraordinary the Paralympics is and shines a light on inclusivity in such a celebratory way. The overarching message of not quitting no matter the challenge was something that also really resonated with me.
While gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky proposition, we nonetheless ask you for any forecast you have relative to content creation and/or the creative and/or business climate for the second half of 2022 and beyond.
There is a strong likelihood budgets will tighten as economic pressure mounts. As ever the businesses and brands that are able to keep up a certain level of spend will be the ones that can accelerate their growth when things turn a corner.
Has the first half of 2022 caused you to redefine or fine tune the goals of your company, division, studio or network--and if so, in what way(s)?
As a predominantly project based business, the turbulence of the first half of the year is a strong reminder to always be in a growth mindset. With this comes opportunity and a thirst for innovation and entrepreneurialism. This proactive and always on mode has to be balanced with looking after your people and respecting their needs beyond just the workplace.