Today Technicolor announced the incorporation of VFX studio MPC Advertising into sister brand The Mill, to create one global studio network.
The Mill’s existing studios in London, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Bangalore will combine with MPC Advertising’s studios in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Shanghai, New York and Los Angeles.
Moving forward as one brand, the expanded studio will focus on three core business offerings within the advertising and brand experience markets: visual effects, creative production and brand experience.
Although the 51-year-old MPC brand will no longer operate within advertising, it will continue in the form of VFX studios MPC Film, MPC Episodic and Mr X combining under the new brand MPC VFX, focusing solely on premium visual effects for the feature film and episodic market.
As these structural changes roll out in January 2022, LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to the leaders of the formerly separate brands - Josh Mandel, previously CEO of The Mill, now president of advertising at Technicolor Creative Studios and Mark Benson, former CEO of MPC Advertising, who becomes executive vice president for VFX.
LBB> What are your initial priorities now to make uniting under The Mill brand go smoothly for all your offices?
Josh and Mark> Our goal is to become the world’s largest visual arts company, providing both our staff and clients with the opportunity to do the best and most exciting work of their careers. Our intention is to increase the types and diversity of projects that our artists can take on, accelerating their careers in ways we couldn’t achieve as separate brands.
LBB> How are you ensuring that there will not be redundancies?
Josh> This move is about expansion, not reduction, about building a bigger global muscle. We are actively recruiting and scaling up across all our existing studios, in addition to opening new ones globally (such as Seoul in Q1 of this year). There is a place for everyone at The Mill because our company relies on its talent. Inevitably, change can be uncomfortable for people, and they may choose not to take this next step in the journey, but personally, I would like to see us retain 100% of the talent we currently have on board across both The Mill and MPC Advertising.
LBB> With this influx of talent from MPC, how do you think this will affect The Mill's offering to clients?
Josh and Mark> For clients of both studios, this move provides growing capabilities, a much wider talent pool and a larger footprint on the ground in new locations. For those existing MPC clients, they now have access to The Mill’s evolving creative technology and experiential arm, in addition to a roster of directors who specialise in everything from design to live-action production. Existing clients of The Mill will now see a growing pool in top-tier VFX and colour talent, which is unrivalled, in addition to a local presence in areas The Mill previously did not have a footprint, such as Amsterdam, Shanghai and Seoul.
LBB> And what is your message to long-term clients of MPC Advertising who you hope to come back as clients of The Mill?
Mark> We can now offer you a broader suite of capabilities. In essence – clients of MPC will continue to be able to work with the artists they know and love, with the additional support and opportunities provided by a team focused on creative technology and experiential activities, as well as a global infrastructure that no other VFX, direction, design and experience group servicing the advertising industry can rival. In joining The Mill, we are scaling up ten-fold, providing both a boutique on-the-ground feel, and the scale needed to tackle projects that really break the mould.
LBB> Mark, this must be a big moment for you personally, having led MPC Advertising for so long. How do you feel about this huge change?
Mark> I am incredibly excited about the opportunities this offers both our clients and employees. Both MPC Advertising and The Mill have a rich legacy for crafting some of the best digital imagery of the last 30 years. Together, our opportunities for growth and innovation are limitless, and our ambition to create truly memorable and award winning work stronger than ever.
LBB> And Josh, we established last time we spoke that you've got immense respect for MPC. How are you feeling about that talent rolling into The Mill?
Josh> It is well known that MPC has some of the industry’s top, award-winning talent, that have rivalled that of The Mill’s for many years. I’m incredibly excited to bring that talent into the fold. I’ve always been a great admirer of the work that MPC Advertising has done, and secretly jealous of the work they’ve put out over the last few years especially.
LBB> You mentioned that TCS will be expanding in 2022, including a new studio in Seoul. Why is that the right market to head to next?
Josh> Seoul is home to a series of cutting-edge, blue-chip brands that are experimenting at the forefront of digital media. They place a high premium on innovation and what’s next. This ambition is synonymous with that of The Mill – we are looking to help brands navigate emerging technologies and apply them in the best way, to create the most resonant brand experiences. There is a real appetite for a company such as The Mill in the Korean market to partner with these brands, to navigate their place in the Metaverse, their use of new production techniques, and push the visual fidelity of their presence across all mediums.
LBB> Other than that, what sort of disciplines and areas of expertise will you be looking to, to expand your offering and attract talent?
Josh> We are really looking forward to embracing and developing our virtual production capabilities, further driving our knowledge of real-time game engine technology, and helping brands navigate what is possible in the Metaverse space and other digital platforms. New forms of content creation and filmmaking such as these rely on the application of high-end visual effects, something we have been working on for decades. As we expand, we will be looking to further our partnerships with technology companies and brands alike, to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of content creation.