Unhooked Part 1: The Future of Advertising Production

April 9, 2019

This is the first post in a three-part series from our Unhooked event in New York.

Last week, Catch&Release hosted its first event, Unhooked, in New York City. More than 75 Creatives, Producers and Business Managers from both agencies and brands came together – maybe for the first time ever – to discuss the current and future states of the advertising production industry. Our panelists, Stephanie Ambroise, Sr. Business Affairs Manager at TBWA; Aaron Duffy, Creative Lead and Founder of SpecialGuest; and our own Analisa Goodin, Founder and CEO of Catch&Release, lead an informative and provocative conversation about where the industry is now, and where it's going.



The rise of the in-house agency, the challenges and pitfalls of working with influencers and the impact of authentic ‘Found’ content were among the topics covered. Each speaker brought their own unique POV from each part of the production workflow. And by the end of the discussion it was clear we share more commonalities than differences, no matter what stage of the project we work on. Below are some key takeaways.

What has been the biggest shift in advertising production in the last two years? What are some of the challenges that have resulted from these shifts?

Technology, for starters. “Everyone has pretty decent technology in their pocket to be able to create whatever they want – which wasn’t always the case,” noted Duffy. Better camera technology means it’s easier for anyone, directors included, to produce higher-quality content. But this has become somewhat of a two-edged sword: higher-quality content can be more easily produced, but consumers now expect  almost require  top-tier content from brands at all times.

Ambroise observed that bundling has become a common theme: “Before it used to be that production and print would go under the same scope. Now, it’s production and print, and radio and cinema and behind-the-scenes – all under the same scope and with a limited budget.” Brands expect their agencies to create more content for more channels, with less money and in a shorter amount of time – rightfully so, if they want their advertising to succeed in an omni-channel world. Ambroise also noted that, “by the time it gets to me, time is not on my side; by the time it gets to me, I have to be the voice of reason and the voice of finance,” which is almost always a tough spot to be in. On the flip side, bundling allows you to create a whole family of varied content and brings a greater feeling of gratification when you are able to bring everything that was promised to fruition.

However, with every new shift comes a new challenge. When it comes to bottlenecks in the production process (besides time and money constraints, of course), Ambroise and Duffy experience similar challenges in getting brands to buy into the creative vision. They both agreed that it takes creative leadership to guide the client in a way where they can imagine a bigger picture, beyond what’s on the brief in front of them. Moreover, each team member from each part of the production process has their own opinion on how to best deal with the perceived bottleneck: “Business managers have a different set of eyes and a different mindset when we approach a project. It’s different from a creative's point of view; it’s different from producers’. We are looking at it from a whole different context, looking for things to watch out for.” Business managers are in a unique position to execute the creative vision, but also keep them and the end-client safe from any legal issues later on.

Fortunately, we are seeing these different functions starting to come together more to collaborate and optimize time and budget limitations, without sacrificing creative integrity. How? Find out on part two of this series where we discuss “Found” content – what it is and how its revolutionizing how Creatives, Producers and Business Managers do their work, and work together.


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