1) Two major developments have occurred this year. First, our zip code has finally embraced the power of what we do. Previously, the SF computer engineering world has regarded the need for branding and advertising as a sign of a fault in their concept. But Jonathon Mendenhall is leading the pack with Airbnb (see Cannes and every other award show) in a pronounced and deliberate manner showing advertising can deepen the emotional tie people have with code in the modern media landscape (Just ask VRBO). When you live and work in the world epicenter of innovation, and they’re digging your chili, that’s everything.
The other major thing happening in the agency world is the sudden rise of women in leadership roles. Keep in mind, all white male agency teams makes zero sense when you consider women influence the purchase of 80% of everything bought. At any rate, if the glass ceiling can be shattered for women, more diverse ethnicity is bound to be next. Good times.
2) I got to direct Sean Penn for the Global Causes Day 2016 campaign we developed for Facebook. You’ll never see the film unless you work at Facebook, thanks to an MSA clause. While my writers went back and forth with his writer on the script, someone came up with the idea that he’d be extremely difficult to work with. He was the opposite. It was an important job designed to generate a genuine response and he took it very seriously.
Actually, he said he’d stay as long as it took to get it perfect. Which was one take. The film worked—Facebook employees responded and they arguably have the world’s most charitable workforce.
3) I know the backstory of how it really happened, but the revival on the Colonel for KFC and the subsequent meta-Colonel or “cameo Colonel” appearances demonstrated both mastery of icon-smithing as well as multi-media screen choreography, in my opinion. Fast food is tough to do well. Also, barrettSF produced an amazing “Rap Alphabet” film with Gentleman Scholar for BleacherReport.com which is a stunning thing to watch.
4) A tidal wave of VR work is about to wash through the industry; anyone can see that. And it’s going to be a lot of fun experimenting and learning to use the medium to its greatest effect. We’ve got one in the early stages of production and I have to say, it’s pretty stunning. We’re lucky to get to work now.
Plus CMOs are finally allowed to spend money on broadcast buys after many years of alternative, often-exotic media forays. Really well filmed ads are re-emerging as a first choice message channel and with this comes a whole new batch of amazing young talent to work with. Right on.
5) The way you “read” an article will change drastically in the coming months, as indicated by the VR work for The New York Times which was awarded the AICP Next Award. It will become very common to teleport yourself to distant places and experience a story, supported by printed word and voiceover.
6) We produce content with the highest engagement on all of Facebook, shot on iPhone 6 (See Carlo Rossi on Facebook). Beyond that, we leave video and film production to the experts at production companies, as God intended.