Ego is a strange thing in advertising, or any creative field for that matter. In one way, it seems to be essential, but in other ways (like collaborating) it’s the stick in the gears. The small thing that’ll break down the entire process, and maybe the whole agency, in the end. For Danny Hunt, Creative Director at Lucky Generals and formerly at The & Partnership, Saatchi & Saatchi, and more, he’s found the right place for it.
Brands are always looking for the holy grail of advertising: Authenticity. But, it’s one of those tricky pursuits where the more intentionally you grasp for it, the more difficult it is to acquire. By its very nature, you can’t manufacture something that’s organic. And, that’s why brands bring in talented directors like Jane Qian. She’s quickly becoming a prominent name in branded content, through her work with Arm & Hammer, Nike, Paralympics, Chevrolet, and more, and a big part of that is because her work doesn’t seem branded at all.
Amid the hustle and bustle of getting things done, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are and what we’re about—it’s easy to neglect our brand. We can get so caught up creating that we forget the “why” behind our work, and everything we do starts to feel fluid and ungrounded.
Take Stink Studio’s Executive Producer Omid Fatemi, for example. He’s behind the TUMI x Chris Pratt spot, which is simple on the surface, yet infinitely effective—a funny film about a man packing for his first trip to Hong Kong. Of course, it helps to have Chris Pratt as your talent—but, there’s so much more to this project than that. And that’s where Omid’s magic tricks come in.
For many filmmakers, branded content is a tough code to crack. With variables including — but not limited to — product, budget, timelines, and internal politics, it may seem like a game not worth jumping into. But, allow Scott Ballew, YETI’s Head of Content, to simplify it for you.
The tagline at the end of Volvo’s new ad, “Moments,” says: Sometimes the moments that never happen matter the most. If there’s a corresponding idea in filmmaking, it might be this: Sometimes what you don’t show is the most affecting. In “Moments” — an ad as heartwarming/heart-wrenching as any we’ve ever seen — a young girl speculates about the rest of her life before starting her first day of school. What friends will she make? Where will she travel? Who will she meet? What unfolds is a fantasy within a fiction: an entire life in less than four minutes. What you see is beautiful, striking even. But ultimately, it’s just a stencil for what you don’t see. The story — the girl’s life — is the negative space.
Documentary filmmaking takes a lot of grit, to say the least. The conditions can be anything but favorable, the stories you’re hunting for can feel just out of reach, and the characters can sometimes be at their breaking point. After two devastating hurricanes hit the island of Puerto Rico in 2017, knocking out their power grid, awareness around the island’s situation surged before steadily tapering off.
Defining the role of a producer is like trying to hit a moving target. One day they may be drumming up funding and the next day they may be booking flights for their team. Or, in Lindsey Hagen’s case, doling out ginseng tablets to help prevent altitude sickness and climbing a 19,000-foot volcano in Ecuador. As the executive producer on La Cumbre, she played a decidedly hands-on role from start to finish. In fact, she formulated the film’s concept herself on a 3-month hike across New Zealand. Her goal: to bring a group of adaptive athletes to a region where “adaptive athlete” wasn’t even in the vernacular.