Ad spend is growing, and we’ve all been made aware that the 3.4% growth (reported in 2017 by AA/WARC) was largely a result of increased ad spend in digital and mobile. In the UK, one in four pounds spent on advertising in the third quarter of 2017, went to mobile.
The demand for commercial content, destined for social and digital channels is strong. But whilst ad spend is rising in this area, budgets are spread more thinly across the number of assets that need to be created. The biggest budgets are still attributed to TV commercials. So how do we reconcile high quality content production with a thinly spread budget?
The past decade has seen an influx of companies beginning to provide wider offerings to accommodate this, i.e. agencies providing in house production and post, post companies providing production and brands creating in house agencies and so on. This obviously is not only to make work more cost-efficient and remove silos, but an attempt to put their arms around a larger majority of those dwindling budgets.
Whilst these models can be very effective across big integrated campaigns, there is a gap in the market for higher quality, lower cost production and post, particularly when it comes to the high-churn work – social content, TVC versioning and adaptations.
Having worked at an integrated post and production facility, I can tell you that there are several reasons some of these models haven’t quite gelled for small high-churn jobs. These jobs still need to be as high quality as a TV commercial would be, but they are often shot low budget in-house at the agency and handed over to the in-house post facility which hasn’t got the depth of experience working full time in all the necessary areas. Jobs are moved between different operators and departments in order to speed up workflow. This habitually leads to a disconnect in between the brief and the brand message at output. There is a void between the post and production stages. In addition to that, the talent just simply isn’t there. The big guns are at top post and production houses or they’ve left the business and gone freelance in search of a better lifestyle!
In my eyes, this freelance talent is where brands could be getting the results they want for the budget; getting the most experienced people for the minimum cost. Over the past year we have mobilised a group of top freelance post production talent with cutting edge transportable kit that can be set up anywhere they are needed. We can bring together bespoke teams, for individual projects or ongoing accounts – essentially a “Pop Up” facility using the best freelance talent. What we’re seeing now is that by taking this top talent into a production situation, and closing the gap between production and post, they are able to operate in a fast, efficient manner as one seamless team. Being closer, they can also have a deep understanding of what the brand messaging is at all stages of the process, from conception to delivery. Most importantly though the kind of output you’d expect at a top range post house can be provided at prices that correlate with today’s content budgets.
It’s time for brands to close the void.
Former Founder of Golden Square and ex-Director of Integrated Production at Prodigious (Publicis), Ewan MacLeod now owns and exec produces at virtual post production company, ewanme, His latest venture ewanme Workshop, based out of Itch Studios in Camden, London, combines post and production in an all-under-one-roof offering for brand content partnerships.