Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sterling Silver

Q: Introduce us to yourself and your company.
Hello all, my name is Harry Crane and I head up the newly created Television Department at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency.

Q: Interactive Producers come from all walks of life, they are a hybrid of talents, tell us about your background and how you got interested in digital production?
I originally started off as a media buyer until I was recently appointed the head producer of Sterling Cooper's newly formed television department. The department is pretty small right now, it originally consisted solely of me until I expanded the department by adding a script reviewer.

Q: How do you stay on top of emerging technologies and keep your team informed and motivated?
Well since its initial launch in the U.S. in 1940, TV commercials have become one of the most effective, persuasive, and popular method of selling products of many sorts, especially consumer goods. We are still in the pretty early stages of TV and there is a long way to go before we start to see what this square box can do. For now I watch tons of commercials and even try to think of ways to adapt what some of those folks in Hollywood are doing on the big screen for the small screen. Its pretty neat if you think about it.

Q: What does your ideal client/project look like?
My ideal client would have to be a brand that is willing to think outside of the box and take a risk on putting more of their campaign dollars into television or broadcast as we call it in the industry. A client who can see past the obvious limitations of what the current state of Television is and realize that as early adopters it is we who are now pushing the envelope and who will take this new platform to the next level. Trust me when I say that it will be the innovators in this new platform, the clients who take a chance, who will adapt to it quicker and ultimately be ahead of the game when everyone else jumps on the band wagon.

Q: How do you educate your clients and set realistic expectations for a project?
Well not many people really know what the Television is truly capable of in terms of being a new platform for advertising in more robust and creative ways. Sure print is great, but TV has so much more punch. What I try to do is to give them a bit of a background as to what the technology behind Television is all about but then I give them a glimpse into the future! That is when they get excited. True perhaps I do set some pretty high expectations but I am just so darn excited about creating content for an emerging platform.

Q: What was the best project you have ever worked on?
Well I must say I am a bit biased because it was the project that landed me in my new position. It would be the Belle Jolie project I worked on with a copywriter here at Sterling named Peggy Olson. The reason this was an ideal project is that I took the risk of proposing to a representative of Belle Jolie that the cosmetics company sponsor a controversial viral television drama. The rep declined, but Bertram appreciated my initiative for forward thinking and let me start our new Television department.

Q: How many projects are you comfortable producing at one given time?
I would say about 3-4 at any one given time. I am a department of one so for now we send the creative out to a production team outside the agency who will then pretty much do whatever we ask. They are pretty quick with this stuff and have all kinds of cool editing equipment, I sometimes like to go watch, they love it when I show up!

Q: What does your dream production team look like?
Well that is pretty simple, it would start off with Don Draper who is one of the most mysterious men I ever met but no one in this industry can get into the minds of the consumer like Don. Then I would probably want Peggy Olson on board because the stuff she comes up with is golden, that girl has a real knack for copy writing. Salvatore Romano is a must have because what team would be complete without an art director? I would definitely want to include Ken Cosgrove who is a great account executive that manages the client in a way that keeps them out of our hair. With a team like that you cant lose!

Q: How do you ensure that your client's best interests are met?
Well, I will tell you a little secret, its the scotch and cigarettes. What we do is we kind of get ourselves going at around 11am, the stress level gets pretty high at around 3pm but we just take things up a notch and a few doubles and a good pack and a half smoked usually keeps us pretty calm. Our clients actually send us cartons and cases for the office, it keeps us creative folks calm and lets us think clearly when we are coming up with ideas.

Q: What is your vision of what the next phase of our industry is going to look like?
Oh there is a lot on the horizon. I think we have only scratched the surface of where Television is going to be in 20 years from now. I go to conferences and hear a lot of the chatter about new channels that have more content to advertise against. But these channels will be special, they will have a niche purpose to cater to specific audiences, imagine that. We can advertise directly to demographics that we are able to target through these niche channels. Its a long way off but innovations are being made every day. GE is actually working on something called Porta-Color, apparently all TV screens will be in full color but I think it will be a while before signals are actually broadcast in color. I know that there was a group who had developed a color system that was compatible with existing black and white sets and they recently passed FCC quality standards, with RCA developing the hardware elements.

Q: Please share a snippet of wisdom that you would like to impart on our readers.

Well I have to say that my wife has been instrumental in motivating me to be more ambitious at work. She says that advertising is a growing industry that will explode pretty soon. So I try to listen to her as much as possible and stay focused on my new department. I never get discouraged and know that my time to shine will come soon. So stay focused.

1 comment:

  1. excellent read Harry! I love your tips on keeping client's best interests in mind.. seems they have you addicted to it!