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2022 Production Outlook Survey Response: What’s Next? Where Do We Go From Here?

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February 04, 2022

Will Benham – Executive Creative Director at Chemistry

How did your agency adjust/adapt to the marketplace in 2021 (new strategies, resources, technology, health/safety expertise) and what is the most relevant business and/or creative lesson you learned in 2021 and how will you apply it to 2022? 

We’re lucky to be independent so we can make decisions based on our values and principles instead of just the balance sheet, and last year our ownership really took that to the next level. We turned down some opportunities that didn’t feel like they lined up with the type of work we want to make or the type of agency we want to be, and we pitched with a really strong, really honest POV on what the right type of work was for our partners. And it turns out that’s a really compelling argument to work with us.

Creatively and personally, I learned to let go of some things and leave some room for the teams to learn through trial and error on their own (and maybe even a sprinkle of failure here and there). I was very fortunate to have CDs who let me run with things, and I want to do a better job of giving that same opportunity to the creatives I get to work with heading in to next year.

How are the events of 2021–from the pandemic to the call for diversity, equity and inclusion–impacting the content you create and/or the way you work? 

The biggest thing is just trying to bring more understanding to what everyone is going through every day outside of the work we’re doing together. It’s been a lot. Whether you have kids or you have aging parents or you’ve been stuck at home alone in a one bedroom apartment – everyone is dealing with a lot, so trying to take that into account when the days get tough.

Also trying to dictate less and ask more. There are plenty of things I don’t understand right away so instead of jumping right to my point of view, I’m trying to ask more questions and make sure everyone is heard and understood before we’re making decisions on the work.

What are your goals or New Year’s resolution, creatively speaking or from a business standpoint, for your agency or department in 2022? 

We have a really strong group of creatives and a great group of client partners, so my biggest goal for next year is to get them all opportunities to make work they’re proud of. And get the creative teams things they can own from start to finish without having to jump-ball against other teams. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a project that’s yours.

So just making sure everyone is making, And making things they’re proud of. And making things that make an impact.

Oh, and making sure that everyone still has a personal life, too.

Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the advertising and/or entertainment industry–creatively speaking or from a business standpoint–in 2022?

More fun in the work, and more fun in the way we work. I think we’re already starting to see it in some ways, but life has been very serious for almost two years now and it feels like we’re ready to put that to the side and make fun things again. (That’s not to say there hasn’t been fun work happening, but it feels like broadly speaking we’ll see more fun work and less serious work next year).

And when it comes to making the work, it feels like everyone is pretty over running through a meat grinder to get things made. I think a lot of us are going to prioritize having more fun while we make things because when you’re having fun with fun people, you usually make the best work.

The original article can be found here.