Update January 15, 2021: At Extreme Reach, we take Talent & Rights management VERY seriously. Our “Air Quotes” Campaign is no longer live and the usage rights have expired. While we must blur the picture, we applaud the work of our amazing (funny!) cast of actors.
As the media landscape increases in complexity so too do the strict payment obligations to the performers and rights owners who bring the brand stories alive. Because Talent & Rights payments are intrinsically connected to where and when ads play, tracking them across our ever-expanding digital universe is beyond what is possible using manual-heavy legacy practices. At the same time, understanding the impact these expenses will have on the scale of the production and media buy requires priceless human insight—especially when navigating the give and take between a highly creative process and budget realities.
At ER, we’ve spent over a decade working with the biggest brand storytellers in the world to bring insight into the right combination of tech automation and expert counsel for successfully managing the talent piece of complex cross-screen campaigns.
As the CMO of Extreme Reach, I can say emphatically that the guidance and counsel of our expert team, coupled with powerful technology, is priceless when you’re pouring your creative heart and soul into crafting compelling stories. Our concept for a new campaign to demonstrate the benefits of our AdBridge™ platform, called for casting an ensemble of eight union comedy actors. In addition, my budget-oversight-oriented right brain knew that we’d need to get every single shot and scene required in one, very long, 14-hour shoot. To add complexity to this challenge, we are an ambitious bunch and our goal was to create not just one brilliant story but everything from a long-form episode to two different :15 skippable pre-roll spots, to outtakes and extra scenes to keep our campaign fresh.
The development of our AdBridge Air Quotes marketing campaign gave me and my in-house creative team the opportunity to experience our technology and services from the client side. Aside from the fact that it’s hilarious to watch an ensemble of improv actors deliver advertising lingo lines, here are a few of my other observations about managing the Talent & Rights function.
Microchipping your Creative
As every animal lover knows, chipping a beloved pet provides peace of mind should he or she stray too far afield. When video lived solely in the closed, controlled TV environment, keeping track of the contract obligations and required payments associated with each ad was a straightforward process.
Enter the internet. In this video-everywhere world, where the number of assets and the destinations they’re bound for have exploded, it makes logical sense that Talent & Rights is best handled when that function is seamlessly integrated in the same platform that handles all the functions that deliver the assets—linear TV distribution, advanced TV delivery and video ad serving to any screen. That’s precisely why we built AdBridge. It’s the ad GPS your campaign needs for staying in compliance.
Our AdBridge Air Quotes campaign includes many different types of assets from video to display ads to print and more. I may be a tad biased, but I can surely report that I sleep much better at night knowing my precious gems are all living in one central place together with all the corresponding metadata, destination information, usage data, Talent & Rights detail, and everything else I need to watch over them.
An Advantage in a Rubik’s Cube Endeavor
Determining all the places our assets can go depends upon the estimate of Talent & Rights scope that is part of the campaign process. But understanding estimates and their implications on the broader campaign requires fluency in complex union agreements and deep insight into the way productions work. Our talent team ran many different scenarios through our estimating process as the creative concept came to life and as scripts moved through many iterations. This gave me valuable budget context to weave into our collective decision-making process.
For example, our concept began with only four on-camera principal actors but along the way, the creative team felt passionately that we needed an ensemble that could play off each other in a way that would elevate the humor and help tell our B2B message more clearly. By re-running scenarios and understanding usage rights complexities, I was able to shift our usage plans in order to afford an amazing group of talented actors.
Trust me when I say that this kind of teamwork in real time, working side-by-side with the creative geniuses and the Talent & Rights experts, not only speeds the process of nailing your plans but also fosters a highly collaborative and satisfying dynamic between the storytellers and the penny counters.
Professional Handling of a Precious Investment
When we talk about being peerless guardians of precious assets, we mean it as more than marketing speak. My own experience developing the AdBridge Air Quotes campaign underscored how deeply personal a campaign becomes to the marketing and creative minds (and hearts) behind it.
We marketers invest our own blood, sweat and tears in everything from writing a brief to inspiring strong creative concepts, to shaping plans, to ensuring the brand stories play perfectly everywhere they are supposed to. The process is humbling and it creates as much personal vulnerability as professional.
I believe, and know first-hand, that AdBridge doesn’t just ensure seamless creative asset management and handle all the functions involved in that, but maybe even more importantly, the technology and the people also bring priceless peace of mind during an exciting—but also stressful—high-stakes endeavor.
At Extreme Reach, we’re immensely proud to support the art and business of brand storytelling in all its forms, removing workflow friction and providing human counsel to ensure our clients are ready for every media innovation that’s yet to come.