Wednesday, July 18, 2018
  • Friday, Aug. 18, 2017
Mid-Year Report Card: A Fearless Girl, The Value of Story, AI, Branding
McCann NY’s “Fearless Girl” for State Street Global Advisors was oft-cited as among 2017’s most inspiring, impactful work.
Execs, artisans offer food for thought, reflections, predictions, observations and assessments of the industry’s journey thus far in 2017

Respondents to SHOOT’s Mid-Year Survey are quick to point out that you can learn a lot from a “Fearless Girl,” the much lauded creation from McCann New York for client State Street Global Advisors. The statue of a young, defiant girl staring down Wall Street’s famed “Charging Bull” has become popular worldwide. Artist Kristen Visbal crafted the statue of a four-foot tall lass in a windblown dress, standing in the path of the famous 11-foot-tall bull, an iconic symbol of commerce. “Fearless Girl” was installed in lower Manhattan to highlight the dearth of women on corporate boards.

Michael Di Girolamo, founder/managing director of production house Hey Wonderful, shared that it was “gratifying to see ‘Fearless Girl’ become one of the most honored initiatives in Cannes Lion history. It single handedly brought attention to woman leadership and gender equality in the most simple, forceful way.”

Additionally the medium for this message which resonated with so many is hardly state of the art. Javier Campopiano, chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi New York, observed that “it’s refreshing to see that one of the most prominent ideas in any award show is a simple sculpture of a little girl. Amid all the noise about technology, an idea executed in one of the oldest mediums in the history of human kind got all the world to talking. To me, that’s a really good sign for an industry this is supposed to be about ideas, regardless of the technology we use to bring them to life.”

On the flip side, tech also struck a responsive chord with SHOOT survey participants who shared their takes on plans and developments that have highlighted 2017 and figure prominently in the years ahead. Jon  Ellis, chief production officer of We Are Unlimited, predicted, “AI both online and in everyday life is going to take a big leap forward in the near future. From personal assistants to online chat bots who can deliver perfectly timed and targeted information to consumers, AI will become a huge part of everything we do.”j

Alastair Green, executive creative director of Team One, noted that his agency’s parent/holding company, Publicis Groupe, “is disrupting the industry with the launch of Marcel, a new AI-based platform that’s designed to connect our 80,000 global employees, enhance decision-making and improve creativity for our clients. It’s an ambitious project, and we plan to skip Cannes and other 2018 awards shows to concentrate on this venture.”

Green added that Team One opened an Artificial Intelligence lab in 2016 to explore the possibilities of the creative uses of machine learning. I see a huge opportunity to use this technology to create experiences that defy our clients’ expectations and create magic for consumers. We made a short film called An Artificially Intelligent Director to chronicle our process of creating a movie that was conceived, directed and edited entirely by machines.”

Furthermore, Team One continues to be active and invested in VR and AR, pointed out Green.

Christopher Neff, sr. director of innovation at the community, cited a key development being “the excitement around AR with the wider adoption of mobile-based AR. When Apple released their development kit and news of web-based AR likely to be on the new iPhone, excitement just exploded. I love AR for its ability to apply to any vertical and think that, with advancements in live visual detection, we will see a new age of daily exploration.”

Story, branding
While she foresees “a surge of VR content in the industry for the next few years,” Antoinette Zel, CEO/co-founder of The Story Room, affirmed that in the big picture, “Storytelling is the driver, regardless of the medium. Despite digital efforts to saturate audiences with brands, those few select creatives who understand the basics of a story—characters, tension, resolution—will succeed. It is not easy with certain brands but if you try hard enough, you can deliver a quality craft to build brands.”

Jeff Benjamin, executive creative director/partner at Barton F. Graf, said, “In an ever changing world of technology, social, devices, fancy cameras and data—whether it was 50 years ago or 50 years from now—work that champions the human spirit in original and creative ways always rises to the top. And more than ever, brands are looking for their unique way to do this and make sure what they stand for matters.”

Chris Dorsey, CEO of Dorsey Pictures, related, “Messages with heart that awaken what’s best in us and bring us together stand out in a world where out institutions seem dysfunctional, self-serving and chaotic. Any advertising that can create a personal relationship between a brand and a consumer always stands out.”

For our Mid-year Report Card, SHOOT surveyed professionals from different walks of the business—including ad agencies, production and post houses—to gain their observations and assessments of 2017 thus far.

We posed the following questions:

1) What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2017 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 2017 and beyond.

5) What do recent honors on the awards show circuit (Cannes Lions, AICP Show/Next Awards, AICE winners or Emmy nominations) 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 for a slideshow of survey responses, or click on the headshots below.

Name Title Company
Jeff Benjamin executive creative director/partner Barton F. Graf
James Bray executive creative director Arnold Worldwide
Javier Campopiano chief creative officer Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Michael Di Girolamo founder/managing director Hey Wonderful
Chris Dorsey CEO Dorsey Pictures
Jon Ellis chief production officer We Are Unlimited
Steve Gandolfi founder/editor Cut+Run
John Gilliland executive producer/partner Lucky 21
Bonnie Goldfarb founder/executive producer harvest films
Alastair Green executive creative director Team One
Jonah Hall creative director Timber
Kate Hildebrant VP/director of content production CP+B
Lola Lott principal/CEO charlieuniformtango
Lisa Mehling president/owner Chelsea Pictures
Tom Murphy co-chief creative officer McCann New York
Christopher Neff sr. director of innovation the community
Avi Oron owner/editor Bikini Edit
Michael Pardee executive producer/owner The Mission
Natalie Sakai executive producer/partner ContagiousLA
Damian Stevens managing partner Arcade
Antoinette Zel CEO/co-founder The Story Room


MySHOOT Profiles

Director, Editor

Visual Effects and Animation
Rebecca Blake