What’s the biggest takeaway or lessons learned from work (please identify the project) you were involved in this year?
Now more than ever, as a production company, it’s important to lean into transparency with your agency and brand partners, to demystify the bidding and production processes as you work together. The marketing spend on live action production isn’t shrinking, it has shrunk. User generated, influencer, and similar marketing is taking up more space than ever. Agencies and the production partners need to be aligned toward a shared goal, and being up front and open with information creates stronger bonds, and I believe better work. We found this to be the case on two significant projects this year: Bayer with BBDO Chicago and our director Liz Unna - where through this bond we made tough creative decisions that ended up in longer deliverables, better stories, and stronger media buys. And on a recent Thinx campaign, with Oberland NY and director Pamela Adlon - working closely and openly birthed an incredible 6-spot campaign, shot in two days, with a first-time commercial director who, with continuous trust and support from the agency team, nailed it!
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.
Facing a recession, marketers need to advertise in a way that builds trust in their customer, but also does what advertising is, at its core, supposed to do: sell products! We’ve gotten into a rhythm of creating work that’s cause-driven but sometimes more for show, and for notoriety and awards, than actually selling products. And I think consumers are starting to notice. Brands will Pride-wash their logo, but not put their money or resources where their mouth is in real ways when it comes to supporting that community. I think we’ll start to see marketing dollars being spent much more wisely - and hopefully, thoughtfully - to gain and build customer trust. It may not be a forecast that unfolds in only the second half of this year, but I hope it becomes the runway to what we can see in advertising long term.
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)?
Entering into this new phase of the pandemic, amongst not only global issues like war, inflation, impending recession, and continued civil rights issues, but also in a moment where humans collectively seem to be having an existential revisiting of what’s important to them, all of which are really affecting our industry - we’ve realized both sticking with, and even doubling down, with what we’re good at, and evolving with the times are both essential.
Sticking with what we’re good at is supporting multifaceted storytellers, auteurs and gunning for the rich work and opportunities that are out there. Evolving entails moving from an all female roster to all underrepresented. It means working more closely with our sister companies in entertainment, in art, and in photography to create a more robust offering to our agency and brand partners, as well as our talent. Times are changing, the mindset of the coming generations are changing, and we want to evolve alongside that while leaning on our expertise.