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The Rise Of The Super Producer

In one of our most popular articles this year, Ben Clark from McCann Worldgroup sheds light on the evolution of in-house production, giving rise to a new breed of producer.

By Ben Clark

Over the last 20 years, the production landscape has changed dramatically. The agency’s position within the production “ecosystem” has made it essential for producers to be more than just “intermediaries” between agencies and their third-party production talent. Driven by digital and the demand for relevant multi-channel content, production methodologies have developed and adapted at pace, with the demands on agency production departments shifting with them.

It’s now crucial for teams to be made up of vast and diverse production talent gathered from inside the agency as well as from third party post-production and production partners. This evolution of new production models - and the requirement for new skillsets and teams to meet agencies’ demands - has led to in-house production becoming more strategic, varied and hands on, giving rise to the 'super producer.'

The super producer is now the expected norm. They can get anything made and make producing any type of content easy for agencies and clients – tailoring their solutions by using their internally accessible resources or adding in the right partner.

Super producers need to be strategic at their core to interpret large-scale briefs and collaborate with a mix of people. From clients, agency client leadership, strategic and creative teams and media and technology specialists; super producers must navigate complex stakeholder relationships to deliver great creative work, effectively and efficiently. To do this successfully it’s imperative that production is involved from the very start where there is a greater opportunity to influence and inform the process, while keeping an eye on the budget.

An in-house super producer might be an evolution but there’s always been a need for producers to be creative and strategic, but we now need to understand every facet of the media landscape and, most importantly, the client’s business challenge.

There is increasingly a requirement for the bundling of shoots, and the planning of “super shoots” - allowing multiple types of assets to be captured. These super shoots require a vastly different set of production skills than was previously required and working at this scale has meant production is more reliant of technology, including automation and AI. Technology enables us to move seamlessly across geographies and deliver at scale for global clients. To do this effectively, we need dedicated production technology experts who can integrate multiple production technologies and systems to achieve scaled production models. This means in-house producers must understand the whole end-to-end process and a key part of their role is embracing and understanding the mix of creativity, production, media, data, technology and ultimately business.

We, as production specialists, are also required to be experts in many different types of production: from virtual production, through Metaverse, Ai, CGI, 3D photography to name a few. Again, this requires a more rounded, and diverse type of hybrid producer who can bring in the right talent and partnerships to the project at hand.

In-house used to be viewed as a lesser option, merely used for versions and adaptations. Whilst this is still very important, that view of in-house is outdated, fundamentally underestimating what’s possible. The evolution of the highly skilled, multi-functional, hybrid production departments, has become a very important part of an agency’s offering. In-house production is hugely valued as both a creative and client partner.

In-house production is no longer about being better, quicker, cheaper. It’s about being an agile, adaptable, innovative, trusted, valued strategic specialist partner. A partner that can bring great creativity to life and deliver relevant, effective messaging across multiple channels to dive growth and success.

Ben Clark is Chief Production Officer Craft EMEA, LATAM and APAC at McCann Worldgroup


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