Sunday, October 23, 2016
  • Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
Ad Agency Mid-year Survey: VR, In-House Production, Brands As Publishers
Andy Clarke, executive creative director, Publicis NY
Respondents provide food for thought, predictions, observations, opinions, creative and business assessments

Andy Clarke, executive creative director of Publicis New York, observed, “If anyone hasn’t woken up to the world of VR then I encourage you to immerse yourself into it quickly. It’s an insane piece of technology. My sense is that most marketers are using it in a rational and educational way but used in its purest form, it’s an amazing piece of entertainment. It’s certainly no gimmick. In fact, I would compare it to radio in the early 20th century, television in the late 1920s (later color) and the internet in the early 1980s as a breakthrough medium that gives us another option to entertain and communicate through. We’re creating an experience at Publicis for one of our brands and it’s truly amazing watching people learn how to build a visual journey. There’s so much technology learning needed and it makes me feel that 60 years ago our peers would have been having similar conversations about how to communicate through television commercials.”

Clarke’s comments were made in response to SHOOT’s Mid-year Survey of ad agency creatives and producers. And for many respondents, virtual reality and augmented reality were prime topics. 

Libby Brockhoff, a partner in Odysseus Arms, said, “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.” 

Conor Duignan, head of broadcast production, barrettSF, added, “We’ll continue to see more and more brands and agencies experimenting with VR. As we all know, consumers today expect more engaging, immersive experiences — and VR has the potential to deliver just that. But we still haven’t fully figured out this new technology. Once we crack the code of how to tell great narrative stories with VR, the way brands interact with their consumers will be forever changed.”

In-house development
Bryan Cook, executive content producer of Team One, noted that earlier this year the agency built an in-house VR lab which “has already begun paying huge dividends.”
Other respondents shared that their shops too have made significant in-house production/post investments. Vic Palumbo, director of production, Deutsch LA, said that the agency is building its own in-house production company, Steelhead, across the street, which will open later this year. 

“With content generation happening at such a rapid pace now and client demands increasing everyday,” explained Palumbo, “we saw an opportunity to invest, better enabling us to turn around quality content quickly. The new space will give us the ability to scale up and grow for future businesses.”

Insatiable for content
Matt Bijarchi, CEO and chief creative officer of Blend, related, “Increasingly, brands are realizing that they are really publishers themselves. They have a built-in audience and that audience has a nearly insatiable taste for content. The best way to service that consumer desire is to publish. 

“Take for instance what Dollar Shave Club did with MEL,” continued Bijarchi. “They created their own online magazine/blog and filled it with interesting content that their consumers yearn for. They essentially had already cracked the code with video content and they’ve now taken it one step further and became their own publisher. Very smart.”

For our Mid-year Report Card, SHOOT surveyed varied creative, production and executive talent in the advertising agency community to gain their observations and assessments of 2016 thus far. 
We posed the following questions:

1) What trends, developments or issues would you point to so far in 2016 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of the year and beyond?

2) What work (advertising or entertainment)—your own or others’—has struck a responsive chord with you this year and why?

3) What work (advertising or entertainment)—your own or others’—has struck you as being the most effective strategically and/or creatively in terms of meshing advertising and entertainment?

4) Though gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky proposition, we nonetheless ask you for any forecast you have relative to the creative and/or business climate for the second half of 2016 and beyond.

5) What do recent honors on the awards show circuit (Cannes Lions, AICP Show/AICP Next Awards, AICE winners or Emmy nominations spanning comedy, drama, documentary, etc.) tell us in terms of creative and/or strategic themes and trends in the industry at large?

6) What new technology, equipment or software will you be investing in later this year or next year for your company or for yourself personally, and why? Or, tell us about what new technology investment you’ve made this year and why it was a good decision—or not?

Click here to see and scroll thru the survey responses. Or click on the NAME below.

Name Title Company
Matt Bijarchi CEO/CCO Blend
Libby Brockhoff Partner Odysseus Arms
Matt Burgess Creative Director WONGDOODY
David Cardinali Executive Broadcast Producer Droga5
Andy Clarke Executive Creative Director Publicis New York
Bryan Cook Executive Content Producer Team One
Dave Damman Chief Creative Officer and Co-President Grupo Gallegos
Conor Duignan Head of Broadcast Production barrettSF
Dean Lee Executive Creative Director DDB Canada
Blaine Lifton CEO, Executive Creative Director Hyperbolous Advertising + Marketing
Tom Lorenzo Executive Creative Director Situation
Laurie Malaga VP of Integrated Production the community
Bennett McCarroll President Townhouse
Stacey McClain Director of Content Production Camp + King
Vic Palumbo Partner, Director of Production Deutsch