An Intersport Perspective: Efficient Production: It’s not Rocket Science

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Amid mounting pressure to cut costs in the fall of 2014, the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble Co., turned to the same organization that put a man on the moon to find a solution. They were hoping a group of NASA rocket scientists could help them find less-expensive ways to shoot TV commercials and digital video content.

NASA isn’t exactly the first partner that comes to mind when you think about marketing budget solutions, but P&G was casting a wide net in hopes of finding an effective strategy to help achieve its multi-year goal to squeeze $1 billion in costs from its marketing budget annually

Perhaps part of the reason they turned to a non-traditional partner like NASA was due to their frustration over what they considered to be inefficiencies in traditional content production. In their request for information posted on NASA.gov, P&G explained that they were seeking “a new way to produce TV commercials and digital video that meets the demand of more flexible content” ,and ,“that produces more content at a cost that is significantly lower than today’s average” TV commercial while still meeting its brands’ production-quality standards. They went on to note that the TV commercial production process has been "essentially the same for the past 50 years." P&G felt the process might be obsolete considering brands have increasing needs for video content not produced specifically for TV, in order to meet marketers’ demands for higher return on investment have grown.

P&G is not alone in their search for more efficient and economic production methods in today’s expansive marketing landscape. Today’s brands have higher media demands than ever.  Marketers need more content to drive ongoing engagement via owned websites and social media channels while still fulfilling traditional advertising buckets. Some production companies are adjusting methods to accommodate this client need in the most efficient and economical way possible, while still maintaining quality. Those same production companies were once able to get away with production inefficiencies because the final product was limited to a 30 second spot. That’s no longer the case. The fact is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to produce high quality content for all of your marketing buckets on a reasonable budget.

Think about this: The consumption of digital video will only continue to rise, and by 2017, more than two-thirds of Americans will watch digital video at least once a month—which includes everything from TV shows, movies, news, and even ads. This year, 93.7% of Millennials will watch streaming video, and that figure will climb to 94.1% by 2019. More specifically, 96.5% of internet users 18 to 24 will watch streaming video this year.  The medium is approaching near universal reach among key demographics.

At Intersport, we’re constantly challenging convention to be more efficient with our production process.  For over 30 years, we’ve been lucky enough to work with a diverse subset of clients that needed content for multiple buckets, clients who sometimes have finite resources.  Those resources are often financial but, not always.  More often it’s a time issue such as available time for shooting and fitting into the schedules of celebrity endorsers. etc. Recently, we produced a series of NASCAR digital race previews for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina featuring Jimmie Johnson. Using just half a Johnson appearance day, we captured enough footage for 84 pieces of video content in varying lengths and formats, more than enough to fill numerous marketing and branding buckets providing coverage for the entire 10 month NASCAR season. That’s efficient production.

How did we do it? We thought through and planned the four hours we’d have with our talent and created a plan that accounted for every minute, every second and every frame. In choosing the host talent to facilitate the interview with Jimmie Johnson.  We identified ESPN reporter Marty Smith as an acquaintance of Johnson’s which ensured  seamless conversation throughout the shoot. For the shoot itself, we procured a studio and setup multiple camera stations to provide ease of transition. And most importantly, we knew what content buckets we had to fill before we shot and had a plan for each one.

What does all this mean? It means that producers should give SERIOUS consideration to maximizing what is captured and how all of that material can work to fill all of their client’s content bucket needs. In this day and age, nothing should hit the edit room floor. Successful producers should have a proactive mentality and a plan for utilizing ALL of the material captured to produce everything from that 30 second spot to an Instagram post, a Facebook video, a Snapchat and even a podcast. 

As P&G discovered in 2014, production has gotten smarter and budgets have gotten leaner. By facilitating an efficient production process, it helps to fill the increasing need for video content not specifically designed for TV but rather for a brand’s many content buckets while saving everyone’s time and money.

So the next time you are preparing for a production shoot, strategically develop a production plan that identifies where the content will end up and accounts for how it’s captured.  You can do that  by thinking through every minute, every second and every frame. Your subjects and clients will thank you for your efforts. Sure, it takes a thoughtful approach and a high level of organization, but it’s not as difficult as putting a man on the moon.

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