“There are moments in my career as a producer and company owner that have experienced great disruption but nothing compares to what we are living through right now,” said Bonnie Goldfarb, co-founder/executive producer at harvest films.
Yet out of the tumult of our times–from a troubled economy to COVID, concerns over women’s rights, social injustice, climate change and gun violence–comes a sense of purpose. “We can sell people things they need (and don’t need) but I see our role TODAY as being the communicators of a bigger narrative,” related Goldfarb. “We need more messaging that carries the weight and creative prowess to CHANGE the societal issues we are facing in our world. And I applaud the creatives in our community who are demonstrating this messaging at such a high level.”
Goldfarb’s comments came in response to SHOOT’s Mid-year Report Card Survey in which we sought feedback from a cross-section of the industry to get a better handle on where we are in 2022.
Beyond messaging, there seems to be a movement afoot to take tangible action within one’s own company to address societal concerns. Grant Ogburn, president of Publicis Experience, shared, “Publicis Groupe has updated U.S. healthcare benefits to pay for all colleagues and employees who need to travel for medical treatment. Additionally, DEI remains front of mind for the Groupe as we work to ensure parity by paying employees based on experience and contribution, and that our teams are cultivating diverse talent through hiring, developing talent internally, and bringing diverse perspectives into the creative process. Diverse voices in leadership and in teams are better reflective of the marketplace and that’s where we want to be.”
In that vein, JP Patterson, director of film content & partnerships at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and founder of its RESIDENCE program, discussed the latter which is a recently formed director-in-residence program designed to amplify historically underrepresented voices and establish authenticity earlier in the creative process. Patterson reported that “the response to the program has been overwhelming and really encouraging that there is a market demand for inclusive storytelling and diverse points of view. We have to do better at creating inclusive economic opportunities in our industry. The industry needs change and we’re ready for it so it’s time for more companies to stand behind their DE&I values and produce more results. Show me with the data.”
There are also other new frontiers to explore relative to the power of connecting with people. Jennifer DaSilva, president of Berlin Cameron, expressed the belief that “immersing yourself in the Web3 space will be extremely beneficial to brands as this vertical continues to evolve. It will be largely up to marketers to determine what the metaverse is going to look like and how people will interact with it. At the end of the day, I believe it offers major opportunities with limitless innovation. The hope is that brands push the boundaries of the metaverse and continue to create experiences that unveil what is truly possible with this technology and ensure we’re thinking with a utility-first mindset.”
Whether it’s the metaverse, more conventional communication disciplines or the weighty problems of our world today, there are creative solutions to be found. And during a time when we seem so deeply divided, key to developing and discovering those solutions is coming together. Sinan Dagli, executive creative director, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP), related, “One of our agency values is an old Japanese proverb, ‘None of us is as smart as all of us.’ My biggest takeaway this year was a reminder of that. Our best work this year, whether for ESPN, Blue Shield of California, Amazon, FootJoy, or Activision Blizzard, came from a deep understanding of teamwork. No one does good work by themselves. Time and time again, we are at our best when we do it together.”
Assorted industry professionals–including Goldfarb, Ogburn, Patterson, DaSilva and Dagli–were surveyed to gain their takes on the industry a little more than halfway through 2022. SHOOT posed the following questions:
- What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2022 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of this year and beyond?
- How have any societal issues–such as the pandemic, the Supreme court decision on abortion, calls for equity, inclusion, diversity, racial and social justice–impacted the way you do business, company policies and/or selection of projects/creative content?
- What’s the biggest takeaway or lessons learned from work (please identify the project) you were involved in this year?
- What work (advertising, entertainment, documentary)–your own or others–struck a responsive chord with you this year and why?
- While gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky proposition, we nonetheless ask you for any forecast you have relative to content creation and/or the creative and/or business climate for the second half of 2022 and beyond.
- Has the first half of 2022 caused you to redefine or fine tune the goals of your company, division, studio or network–and if so, in what way(s)?
What follows is the feedback we received from a wide range of respondents… to page through the survey responses click on the NAME or HEADSHOT below (shown in alphabetical order by last name).