Marketers Desire For More Control Comes To Production

February 20th, 2018 | ACA Team, Association of Canadian Advertisers

old fashioned camera

With marketers under pressure to contain costs and be more accountable for their spending, many are taking back more control of their commercial production business.

That was the key message emerging from the ACA’s latest lunchtime webinar, presented by Fiona McBride and Susan Kurtz of Advertising Production Resources (APR), a global production consulting firm, headquartered in Denver, CO that works with hundreds of brands and oversees approximately $1 billion annually in commercial communications.”

McBride and Kurtz shared insights about current trends in the industry, offering suggestions and advice along the way.

The overarching theme of more control of commercial production flowed through several of the key trends for the year.

According to APR, 40% of all marketers in the U.S. are bringing aspects of production in-house, anything from production operations, to bidding, payments, and social assets. And an even larger number (66%) are choosing to work directly with production vendors and suppliers.

“That is a lot of responsibility to you as a marketer,” said McBride, APR’s executive director of client services. “You will suddenly see that there are a lot of things your agency does for you that are maybe unseen.”

The trend goes beyond advertising. Marketers want to work with content providers who can produce content across all platforms and for all media — from an app to website to long-form storytelling.

Marketers feel like they have more control over how their brand message is produced, what they are saying, and where the messages appear. “We predict that this will increase the rest of the year and into 2019,” said McBride.

Closely tied to the desire for more control is a growing interest in greater transparency throughout the production process.

At minimum, each marketer should establish clear production guidelines and insist their agency adheres to them, said McBride. But marketers should also be striving for more than that absolute minimum.

“Maybe you ask to get the [production] bids at the same time as your agency so you are seeing exactly what they see,” said McBride. That can be taken even further, with marketers taking the bidding process away from the agency, “and when you award the bid, the agency comes back in.”

Some marketers are taking this even further and exerting maximum control by paying the production company directly for the work, rather than through the agency.

Emerging Tech

As in most discussions about the future of marketing, APR also shed some light on how technology will shape production in 2018.

The adoption of more powerful artificial intelligence tools will help marketers turn the almost endless streams of consumer data into more practical and applicable consumer insights and improved targeting, explained Kurtz, APR’s expert on emerging technology and visual effects. (But marketers take note: that ability to better target consumers could lead to rising post-production costs if creative is customized for those specific targets.)

However, the most significant potential with technology lies in what is, for many, an entirely new concept. Everyone is talking about blockchain, financial services and fintech, and rightfully so, said Kurtz.

“But new transactional uses [for blockchain] are emerging for the buying and selling of media and it is possibly the most exciting of all tech trends. There are so many ways that blockchain can influence the advertising industry, addressing transparency, accountability and asset storage, payments and so much more.”

Some of the other key trends covered by Kurtz and McBride in the fast-paced, information-packed session included:

  • As demand for content shoots upward, marketers have to look beyond traditional agency relationships to produce that content. Often that means a lack of oversight and, too often, inferior product.
  • Experiential remains a popular tactic for many brands, and a useful source for social assets. But marketers need to be diligent about usage rights for the content generated from those events.
  • Canada remains a very economical option for advertising production. Costs in Canada remain roughly 70% of those in the United States. An average day shoot in Canada is about $180,000 (US) in Toronto compared to $235,000 (US) in Los Angeles.
  • Expect a greater use of augmented, virtual and mixed reality. The technology has become more accessible and giants like Microsoft, Facebook, HP, Google and Samsung are all expanding into the space.
  • Marketers are showing a greater interest in diversity in front of and behind the camera.
  • While the big consultancies have made headlines for acquiring creative agencies, they are also increasingly interested in production. “Towards the back of 2018 and into 2019, we predict they may start to acquire higher end production studios as well because they really do want to be an end to end provider.”
  • Similarly, the agencies and parent holding companies are increasingly interested in production work. If marketers want to work with agencies for production, do not allow them to run any bidding process where they are a production option, Kurtz and McBride advised.