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German Advertising Production: The Forecast for 2022


German production experts consider the drastic changes their industry has been through and how they plan to navigate the inevitable challenges and opportunities of the year ahead

German Advertising Production: The Forecast for 2022

As part of our partnership with Werbefilmproduzenten (the Association of German Advertising Film Producers), the beginning of a new year seems like the right time to check out the state of play in German production looking forward to 2022. 

After a couple of years that have precipitated drastic shifts in the advertising production landscape in Germany, 2022 seems like the year that the best of that will be cemented, while some challenges will hopefully be less prominent for the business.

To find out where we stand, LBB’s Alex Reeves asked the same three questions of some of the top production minds in Germany.

Watch out for more LBB coverage in the year ahead to build on these insights.

Wolf Stundl

Managing director/executive producer at WUNDERFILM

LBB> What are the most significant changes happening in German production at the moment?

Wolf> The most significant change is the exact ongoing change over the years, trying to find the answer to the question: "How much does a film cost?", and the answer is unfortunately not "42". It keeps changing; it always has.

The answer is still similar to "how much does a house cost?" Pool? Yes/no? Roof? Yes/no? Tiny house? 

I have my fully charged phone with me to make you a film, pretty fast and cheap. Then why does Hollywood, which is money-driven, not shoot this way, all the time? 

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Wolf> It needs the knowledge to scale down, cut the extras, and keep what is necessary. Every film needs a solution, so we keep talking and working together with agencies and clients to find the best fit for the budget.

Also, we founded our unit to accommodate smaller budgets by working in a more tiny-house style.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will look shape up to like in 2022?

Wolf> Hoping for good conversations on all levels to produce professional productions according to the needs. 

Furthermore, I wanna see lots of commercials that I actually wanna see ;) As in surprise me, entertain me, inform me, make me cry, make me happy kind of commercials.

Timm Reinfarth

Head of creative & sales at tempomedia

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Timm> I am sure you’ve heard this quite a few times now but the biggest challenge is the current discrepancy between client budget and expectations. 
While the fees for crew are on an all-time high it becomes more and more unrealistic to work profitably.

From our very own perspective the market changed drastically in the past three to five years since more and more “smaller” production companies opened up. I feel the acceptance on the client and agency end has never been higher for them. They have a much better position in many pitches since the market of freelancer directors is far more competitive than five years ago and their overheads allow them to be quite aggressive in the pitch. 

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Timm> It's not something you can turn around so easily and one thing is for sure: you have to be creative and adapt. 

Being a bigger production company that is around for more than 35 years our agenda is to diversify our business and try to protect our premium product tempedia. Our clients still love our undeniable production expertise and mostly call us when jobs are big and difficult. In order to “protect" this business we decided to found a new label that is able to compete with the new players on the market in a different way because it has a different approach. besides that, we focus on our creative talent as we believe that our roster is still the most valuable asset to qualify tempomedia as an international premium production. We are constantly on the hunt for great creative minds and upcoming talents. 

Another thing on our agenda is the national producers alliance. We think it's about to unite our production voice even more and constantly work for better conditions within the industry. 
One of the biggest topics right now is a certain change to the pitch phase. It creates a lot of costs on the production end and especially bigger companies have a hard time to cover these costs nowadays. We are easily pitching 120 projects per year and we feel there needs to be a cultural change in the industry in that. 

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Timm> I am not really a person that has hopes to be honest. I’d rather think about today and maybe tomorrow. 

Especially after what happened in 2020/21 and I guess we can all agree that we “hope” this is sort of over now. 

Werner Klemm & Dominik Meis

CEO and production lead at REKORDER

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Werner> We notice that we are teaming up more with agencies and at a very early stage of projects. Hence, the trust we have built over the years and the impact of the corona pandemic have made us work together in genuine partnerships even more - from script development to final execution.

Dominik> We are noticing that more services are being shifted from the agency and corporate side to the productions - we see this as an opportunity to be involved even better and, above all, earlier and to be able to provide more precise advice. 

The production of integrated campaigns with film, photo and other disciplines is also still increasingly in demand. In addition, it is becoming apparent that today more than ever, clients need to be given a good reason to call here rather than there. I believe that the companies that have a rather interchangeable offer, or integrate zeitgeist supposedly interesting only as a business model, but not as a live component, will have a big problem in the medium term.

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Dominik> From the very beginning, it was part of our DNA not only to produce film and photo with an artistic dimension and depth of content, but also to think, research, design across genres and disciplines - simply put: to solve. We don't just dock on any supposedly successful business building blocks, but let ourselves be inspired every day, listen and integrate only what has grown credibly. Sounds so simple, but hardly anyone does it consistently.

Add to this our internationality in the team, where it is especially important to share all influences - be it language, culture, interests, talents, special skills and otherness. In this way, we can give in many ways and also always want to: learn.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Werner> We think it’s great that meetings are still happening more digitally than before the pandemic. It saves a lot of travel and is healthy for our planet. I wish that it stays this way and that we use resources responsibly. And in terms of upcoming projects, we are always looking for creative, unique and bold projects.

Dominik> Let's not kid ourselves: Much will remain as it is, and budgets and schedules will become even tighter (which together is a particularly bad combination). But I'm hoping for two things: first, that a renewed sensibility will also show companies that they can only get through to people with a special and unique approach. With more thoughtful, pointed, less interchangeable, more credible scripts and a new love for quality in all aspects. Second, that the new cohesion we've learned in the last two years, the humanity, the finding new ways, the awareness of what's important and what's not so important, will help us cut out the bullshit and simplify things in the best sense.

Alex von Wasielewski 

Managing director at Dog Ear Films

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Alex> Due to the rise of social media, the demand for video content and ads has reached a new high. I think the biggest change that this brought, is the speed at which things are happening. Deadlines are getting shorter whilst the load is increasing. We see an increase in young and fast moving production companies on the market. Even the established production houses are founding smaller units to meet demand and stay attractive for a fast moving ad industry.

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Alex> We have to invest in the future. The high demand has revealed a shortage of professionals such as freelance producers, camera assistants, electricians, set designers…
It is our responsibility to make a career in the creative industry more attractive again. For example, we are working on reducing the typically long working hours. We also should be offering more trainee programs and creating opportunities for young people to spend some time on a film set.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Alex> Looking into the future, I hope that we can push two things. First of all, carrying on our efforts regarding green production, meaning to drastically reduce or even neutralize the footprint of a production. The German Producers Alliance [of which Werbefilmproduzenten is a part] is doing great work here. Secondly to continue our path in becoming more collegial with each other as production companies. I feel that this has really changed for the better. We have become more open with each other, helping out when there is need, talking about challenges in the industry and so on. I hope that will continue.

Anna Honerlagen

Executive producer at Bears Calling

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Anna> The more obvious ones are not shooting abroad that often anymore and trying to shoot as green as possible. Sustainability and environmental awareness are on the top of the list of qualities agencies and clients look for so that they can promise customers a minimized carbon footprint.

Shoot vertically, so 9:16 - although I would love to stick to landscape. But I can relate to it, as most of the watch time is done on a mobile screen nowadays.

Social media assets filling more and more space in the PPM and lots of short short formats.

And last but not least the way we work is evolving, with more younger people entering the workforce and a hell of a lot more remote workers. Maybe traditional full-time employment will be a thing of the past.

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Anna> Learn, Adapt. Overcome.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Anna> Green becoming the colour of recovery!

Hopefully back to more genuine Storytelling across all formats and lengths.

More focus on emotional connections with the viewers by telling stories and showing vulnerability.

Nico Kreis

Managing partner at Bonaparte

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Nico> 1. 2022 will be a rediscovering of possibilities. We’re going to see an increase in production in Germany and Europe, but also on a global scale. I think there will be a shift back to how we can make things possible on an international scale again. There is a need and a want to be face to face, boots on the ground filmmaking. Clients and agencies want enablers, and do not always want to talk about limitations. Our service is making things possible and exceeding expectations, it always has been.

2. We see more and more briefs that also include the stills campaign. It’s becoming a standard part of the deliverables. Which makes sense, why not funnel both through the same creative house?

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Nico> 1. By being the enablers. Choosing the right projects and partners with the right mindset. Creatives out there are interpreting advertisement as an art form and want to do relevant work that has the power to change the status quo. A film production 2022 is a creative power house you call when it’s about creating something exceptional and making the impossible possible. At least that’s how we see the role of Bonaparte.

2. At Bonaparte we treat the stills campaign as important as the moving image — soon we will announce our own photo department.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Nico> I’d like to see more diverse perspectives brought into advertising. On all sides, production, creative and clients side. And, we’re here to do our part to shape the German market even more into a creatively driven, international and diverse landscape. So you’ll definitely gonna hear from us again in the near future. 

Frank Siegl

Managing partner at Zauberberg

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Frank> Production companies have become a multimedia 360° stop over for clients and agencies.

On most of our jobs we are taking care of (parts of) the concept and all media production including film, social media, photo/print and post production.

We are starting to work on most concepts at a very early stage. With agencies, but also with clients directly.

Most of our directors are used to that now and some have been able to establish a strong and trustful relationship with a brand (we still call them directors though, and not creatives or artists, hehehe… but most of them have an agency creative or film school/ scriptwriter background anyway).

Bottom Line: On most jobs client and agency need a strong and experienced partner who can take the lead in the asset jungle.

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Frank> We try to set up continuous teams (creative, production and post production) for certain repeat clients so we don't lose time, quality and energy with resetting production for new projects.

This builds trust and keeps communication fast and direct.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Frank> Basically that the trust between our agencies, clients and us keeps growing so we can continue to work this way - which has proven to be very creative and successful.
In my opinion the quality of German ad work has increased in the last years…
Covid doesn‘t make it easier, but we are fast adopters.

Mira Harnischmacher

Managing partner & executive creative producer at peoplegrapher
LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?
Mira> Because of coronavirus, Germany has become more interesting again as a production location. Travel was made difficult by the pandemic and no one wanted to take unnecessary risks. For the crews in Germany, this is of course a positive development. In general, I also find this trend very welcome, we can reduce our ecological footprint and support our industry here locally. However, with this development the price level has also risen in terms of supply and demand, there have been some wage adjustments that make it difficult for us as productions to keep Germany as a production location, because our budgets do not usually increase - rather the opposite. I don't want to say that I want to lower the price level, but the same understanding must be created on all sides.
Another development, also due to the pandemic, is that the productions are focusing more on the domestic market again regarding directors. What I think is great. We have super good people here on site. And I don't have to fly in international directors for every job back and forth. But at the same time, no German director has to fly to the US for a less creative job.

LBB> How are you navigating them?
Mira> First and foremost, we always try to approach each project individually and assess it with the current pandemic situation. What do we need? Can we realise the project in Germany or do we have to travel due to weather and locations? But it also means taking the customer by the hand... What risk should be taken? Evaluate and communicate cost-benefit analyses better.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?
Mira> I wish for our industry that customers will become a bit more sensitive. We need to create a better understanding of our job. For many customers, a shoot is still a "break from the office," but for the crews, the set is a daily routine. Awareness needs to be created here about salaries, breaks, overtime and what is really realistically possible. But this issue is known to the Werbefilmproduzenten and is already being addressed.
I also hope that the industry will continue to grow together, that there will be less competition and that we will pull together, especially with regard to the purchasing departments of large customers. Less price dumping, more quality.

Sebastian Schelly

Executive creative producer at True Motion Pictures

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Sebastian> As always our industry is ever evolving and highly volatile. So we don’t consider them big. It’s more like an organic growth or natural evolution. The thing that comes to mind that takes some getting used to is the new challenges triggered by Covid-19. Furthermore, what used to be literally one TVC today often is an asset flood of different lengths, formats and localised versions. Staying on top of this and allowing for the needed time and resources takes some getting used to.

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Sebastian> We are transparent in our reasoning and plausible in our decision making. We always try to – even if it's a digital workflow and you literally only meet on set – make our workflow, the challenges we encounter and the way we solve them palpable.

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Sebastian> To keep on evolving into a competitive, fair and diverse community.

Till Strauß

Managing director at doity

LBB> What are the biggest changes happening in German production at the moment?

Till> There is a decline in the very classical job structure of TVC brand campaigns coming top down from the big lead agencies. The clients’ budgets seem to be allocated widely and therefore the market is becoming more and more complex. 

For example it's not unusual to be bidding to three boards coming from two different agencies and one coming directly from the client at the very same time. As the campaign budgets are split between the various agencies you often receive film requests with incredibly small budget expectations. Sometimes it's worth explaining the economical necessities of a commercial film production. So sometimes you then receive reduced scopes and / or a raised budget. Many times it's not happening and one should have declined the request in the first place. 

LBB> How are you navigating them?

Till> Staying open minded and sharp / fast. Sometimes you need to make tough calls by prioritising meaningful and profitable work and cutting / refusing the bs. 

LBB> What are your hopes for what the German production landscape will shape up to look like in 2022?

Till> We hope that clients realise that ultimately they need high profile talents on all ends of their moving images communication. 

That means that not only do we wish for less pressure on production budgets but also that the level of work experience and creative / PM quality on the agency side remains bearable. 

view more - Trends and Insight
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Werbefilmproduzenten, Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:49:14 GMT