Pepelatz Production is a proud supporter of LBB. Over the upcoming months, as part of the sponsorship of LBB’s Bossing It channel, we will be spending time with some of the personalities at the forefront of the global production industry today.
In this conversation, we speak with Vera Nesis, global head of the production for AB InBev’s Hub Studio, about the benefits of bringing production experts in-house, and how her team has been smoothing out production, helping marketing teams get their heads around the process, finding creative and technological solutions. As well as producing content in-house, Vera and her team is also facilitating better relationships with external partners.
LBB> In your opinion, do you believe that brand CMOs (in general) want or need a better understanding of the production process?
Vera> Understanding the processes of other teams always helps to increase flow. This normally generates order, prioritisation and empathy for the work of others, something which is always good and healthy for any project. In the case of the Production Hub, which is an internal global production area of AB InBev, working alongside with marketing teams certainly helps to understand processes. However, I think that it is not only important that CMOs understand production processes, but also that production understands marketing processes to be able to work jointly and collaboratively.
LBB> As we emerge from the pandemic, do you think we will continue to use solutions like remote shooting?
Vera> Definitely! There are new solutions that are here to stay, both for usefulness and cost efficiency in some cases. Remote shooting, online editing, remote design feedback tools are some of the several examples of tools that helped us navigate the pandemic and we will undoubtedly continue to use. I also believe that there was an improvement in communication during the pandemic, since distance forced us to optimise the handling and transferring of information, to avoid hallway information, to structure the information for video calls and to maintain communication in the teams.
LBB> Do you think the past 18 months has made people look at the way we do things in a different way? Has there been any change?
Vera> There was really a lot of creativity offered to production during the pandemic. Producers got creative and had to reinvent ourselves a bit during that period as well. There was a first month in the pandemic that seemed impossible to produce because we were anchored in the traditional way of the process. As a result of that impossibility, there was hard work not only in investigating new ways of working, but in training ourselves in these new formats. Self-shooting, cell phone shooting, use of existing footage, protocols, filming without face-to-face supervision or even with remote-controlled robot cameras… These are just a few examples of these changes. It was also interesting the fact that this generated not only a change at a production process level, but also regarding creative processes, since we were able to provide tools that helped to think of new ideas.
LBB> The industry is reshaping with both brands and agencies in-housing at the same time. What do you think that means for the business?
Vera> This is a great opportunity. The business is being given the chance to attract talent that belong to the industry, something that always seemed a long way off, or only possible through external agencies. In the case of AB InBev, we not only sought to have an internal team, but also to have the best talents. The main focus was to promote the understanding of the business and the needs of the consumer in depth, to work with a brand-agency team logic and to eliminate many bureaucracies in the processes. I think this has been reflected in the awards (Cannes, Effie, OneShow) where we can see every year more and more internal agencies being awarded, and even in many cases, in briefs that were proactively proposed as a result of the deep understanding of the business problems.
LBB> What do you think this means for production?
Vera> In the case of Ab InBev's Global Production Hub, this means there is a demand from brands for speed, less bureaucracy, and better costs. We can help brands with the management of their assets, generating alliances with their usual partners, proposing new visions of formats, or bringing in new talents, but also relieving brands from having to explain to different interlocutors how the internal bidding processes are, compliance, payments, etc.
LBB> And when it comes to assets, how important is it for a brand to hold their own production masters and library of assets?
Vera> In the omni - channel volume and logic that is handled today, it is very important to be efficient and intelligent in the management of masters and brand assets. Internal production teams have been doing a great job regarding this point, helping brands to build a database of materials produced and generating a lot of efficiency, both in costs and in the time that sometimes we waste locating fuzzy assets. Brands are also beginning to understand the benefits of having these libraries, mainly those that produce on a large scale, with many adaptations and various markets.
LBB> Do you think there's any loss of continuity with the amount of content brands are creating now?
Vera> In some cases, I do believe there is a loss of continuity and in some others I don’t think so. It depends on the brand, what they are communicating and how clear their vision is.
LBB> What are your predictions for the next five years in the production environment?
Vera> I believe that new technologies, new formats and, beyond question, new talents will continue appearing. The use of social networks, being so close to brands, being able to have a high-quality camera on a cell phone were generating greater interest in the industry and fortunately, there is more and more diversity of voices, of new talents, and new ways that no longer belong to traditional processes and that are increasingly valued.