Is the Digital Strategist/Producer team, the new Art Director/Copywriter?


In the future, I could quite easily see myself being set up in a Digital Strategist/Producer team similar to the dynamic of an Art Director/Copywriter team of a traditional Ad Agency.

Media is the creative in so many circumstances in Digital and without a gun Producer being able to work out the feasibility of your ideas, you’re really nothing.

I was lucky enough to be paired up with Cate Mathers for a number of projects over the last six months. She was in a producers role at The Population even know she was clearly more of a strategist. I found as a team we were able to produce some great strategies that we were then able to translate into ideas and turn around and implement.

Unfortunately, Cate is onto bigger and better things moving over to OMD as a Integrations Strategist. However, I am looking forward to the future of the Strategist/Producer team. It comes as no surprise that there is currently a high demand in Sydney for good digital producers.

10 comments:

Ben Shepherd said...

i like it - interesting correlation jules - and accurate.

good ideas are great, but if they're not feasible they're worthless. a good producer/strategist dynamic means all ideas presented can be actioned.

Jye Smith said...

Great approach - definitely something we're seeing. Even across our search teams (looking for a journo for e.g.).

Nic Hodges said...

Interesting thought Jules, and definitely one that is getting talked about.

My short answer however, is 'no'.

If you look back at why writer/AD teams were created, it's all about crafting a cohesive idea. And a big idea at that.

So the short answer of no is my way of standing by the value of a great idea. Strategy and production are more important in today's advertising world than they ever have been. However people focusing on these roles need to be working in tandem (where once they were 'supporting') a creative team.

If there is one thing that I worry about in today's thinking about marketing and advertising, it's the back seat that decent ideas are taking. This in a time where a big idea is even more important to cut through the 64,000 YouTube videos and 2 million blog posts that got created today.

My long answer however, is 'yes'. But they simply form part of a bigger team. The idea of a creative team working in isolation, being fed in a brief from a planner/strategist, then having it created by a producer, is approaching extinction in the digital world. I work with an absolutely brilliant digital planner, and also work closely with the whole production team.

What I do is definitely not a traditional 'creative director' role, and what our producers, designers, coders, and strategists do is something that blurs more and more every day. The end result of this is that the strict structure of 'creative teams' coming up with ideas that producers then execute is slowly disappearing. But it won't be replaced with another solo team model, it will be replaced with a bunch of people working together to make great ideas come to life.

jaxinteractive said...

I have worked as a "producer" for many years and have seen a variety of maifestations of this role at various organsiations and a variety of skill levels and expertise/strengths in other producers over the years.

It's my belief that a good producer is really a hybrid person who can understand and synthesise all the different aspects of the project, and assess the feasibility with a solid understanding of the client/business needs and make it happen as smoothly as possible.

I would agree that they are key for implementing strategy and understanding and assessing feasibility.

And yes, there is no substitute for a solid "big idea"...
but my question is does the "creative director" necessarily have to own the big idea....

I hate organisations that render producers to the realm of execution....where the creatives sit in their glassed offices and come up with the goods....

It is my belief that "big ideas" can happen in a collaborative situation where various members of the project team can bring their varying perspectives to the problem....

I am quite strategically led myself, but the piece I bring to the pie as a producer is definitely around the how, the how-long and the how much...

Ben Arnold said...

Spot on, particularly with regards the increasing role/importance of media in the digital picture.

I've worked in this way to a certain extent already, and can absolutely see this as the way forward.

Great post.

Julian Cole said...

Hey Nic,

I guess this is relevant to type of agency that The Population is at the moment. We do not do any production in-house, we are a strategy agency.

Hence we are relying on really strong Producers to be able to let us know what is feasible. As you point out, it is probably not going to be the same in a larger agency with multiple departments.

Rog said...

Nice observation Julian.

I think this is actually a manifestation of bigger changes happening in this industry, where ideas generation and execution are (truly) not exclusive to creative departments.

Cheers,
Rog

Adam said...

back when I was in agency land it was always my hope that i could find a job which would include me in a team of Producer/Planner/Creative - working in the same room, on the same briefs - unfortunately i could never find one...

ravi said...

Great post.

What about CD/ strategist parings? Half my work is freelance and the most effective pairing I have is at Sony where my counterpart is CD. I’ve also been paired with the EP and sometimes an art director. I think a new set of configurations will most certainly appear as critical skill sets devolve into specific roles. It’s interesting to see how this is unfolding and I’m curious to know what’s working best for others.

Thanks, Ravi

Miranda said...

Very effective material, thanks so much for this post.