At LBB we’re endlessly fascinated by the side of the advertising industry that’s full of people actually making stuff. And this year, we pursued that fascination in all sorts of different directions.
Here’s our selection of the biggest conversations, most momentous business news and most remarkable director signings of 2022.
The WPP and Hogarth global head of production was the most-read interview in our ‘Production Line’ channel on LBB and it’s no surprise. In his ‘Future of Production’ interview he discussed how Covid highlighted practices that he already favoured, his proudest career moments, and how production needs to care how people buy as much as how they watch. Another big theme was how content should be made by those already embedded in the audience. “A making approach can also leverage how it activates in media, via makers with an inherent relationship with the audience,” he said.
Publicis Groupe’s EVP, global head of production was also featured in the ‘Future of Production’ series. He discussed how the metaverse could impact production, why Marcel was the perfect tool to help him get to grips with a new job, and why producers are no longer only ‘creative enablers’.
Both Dave and Sergio made a contribution to this broader feature, among other experts, in which we interrogated the seismic shifts that the power and abundance of data can have on the production landscape, from big brand “super shoots” making use of tech like virtual production for unprecedented adaptability, to an increased focus on building production pipelines early, to a focus on tagging assets with metadata.
This year everyone’s been experimenting with AI creation tools, wondering if they’re going to automate our jobs away. But we spoke to some production figures about how these tools really help them do their jobs.
The ad industry has pointed to production as the area where clear wins on sustainability are possible and we had even more conversations about sustainable production this year. This was one that resonated, in which Barratt Mistry, head of project management at dentsuMB London, shared his expertise, tips and his favourite tools to help reduce the environmental impact of making advertising.
Covid offered a moment of introspection on what it means to “advertise to the advertisers”, wrote Charlie Roberson, head of talent and new business at UK production company Rogue. Sales certainly doesn’t get spoken about as frankly as this often, so it resonated.
Where is animation heading? As the tug-of-war between handcrafting and technology intensifies, we spoke to world leaders in these areas to find out.
This year, virtual production started to be used on a scale not seen before in the commercial world. And we had our fair share of conversations around the possibilities it opens up. Like this one, in which Michelle Excell, founder and creative technology strategist at The Antipodean, breaks down the immersive and enthralling power of volumetric video - and how it can take AR, VR and experiential media to a new level.
The purpose of a music video, and the cultural context in which it sits, is not static. In 2022, we spoke to some of the people pushing the artform forward about where the best innovations will come from.
Big Business Updates
As the advertising side of mighty VFX brands The Mill and MPC became one brand, we discussed this change with Josh Mandel, previously CEO of The Mill, now president of advertising at Technicolor Creative Studios and Mark Benson, former CEO of MPC Advertising, who became executive vice president for VFX.
Technicolor Creative Studios - previously a division of Technicolor SA - in September announced its listing as a standalone company moving forward.
The start of 2022 saw a neatening up of the partnership between Company 3 and Framestore that begin with the acquisition of the former by the latter in 2020. All of Framestore’s colourists, including Steffan Perry and Simon Bourne, joined the Company 3 roster bolstering its already formidable capabilities as a grading powerhouse.
Hogarth’s global chief production and innovation officer Penri Jones and Monica Hinden, partner and executive producer with Final Pixel, explained Hogarth Final Pixel, how they’re planning to support and upskill WPP’s producers and why they’ve decided to set up their own LED stages.
Reckitt also made a significant move along similar lines in the summer, revealing a pioneering drive to move the majority of its marketing production projects to virtual production. The multinational consumer goods company behind hygiene, health and nutrition brands like Dettol, Durex, Enfamil and Finish, made the decision after a successful pilot in France.
In August, RSA Films announced it was launching its new Unscripted Division following the announcement of a multi-part Robbie Williams series for Netflix. The project is the first from RSA Unscripted and builds on the success of the production company’s recent feature documentaries 'Oasis: Knebworth 1996', 'Kipchoge: The Last Milestone', and 'Life in a Day 2020'.
Luke Colson discusses the vision for Untold Studios as the head of creative partnerships in LA.
In February, Danielle Hinde, founder of Doomsday Entertainment which reps directors like Hiro Murai, spoke to us about launching a sister company focused on the metaverse, fandoms and NFTs.
Creative production studio Psyop launched its first studio in Europe in April. Managing director Justin Stiebel explained what the production company’s plans were as it opened in Germany.
As commercial production company Girl Culture Films entered a new phase as INSTITUTE, Lauren Greenfield spoke to us about the newly expanded roster of directors, the industry’s current barriers for underrepresented talent, and what to expect from the production company going forward.
International production company Stink Films announced the opening of its new office in México City in April. Stink México is led by managing director Vanessa Hernández Vega, who brings her vast knowledge of production and México’s market with nine years of experience as a founding partner and EP of a local production company. Joining her as executive producer is Daniela Polo.
Already a serious player on both US coasts, commercial production company Epoch Films announced its expansion to the UK in May 2022. Alongside company founder Mindy Goldberg, and partners Melissa Culligan and Martin de Thurah, Epoch’s London office is helmed by former Smuggler director of talent Megan Campbell and former Tony Kaye Films, Stink, and Smuggler producer Nick Fewtrell.
Closely following the opening of its US studio in 2019, hybrid production company and artist management agency, Jelly, announced its expansion into Europe with a new studio in Hamburg, Germany, in February 2022, following increasing demand from that market.
Big Director Signings