Tag Archives: opinion

2009: A Single Perspective to Weather the Storm

A few years ago, I was invited by CTAM to speak on a panel at Summit. I received the formal invite, which included the name of the session “Who Wins? Balancing Agency and Client Perspectives”. Interesting! This would be something I could get my arms around.

I checked out the other speakers invited to the panel. Stephanie Gibbons, SVP Showtime. Nina Gramaglia, Group Account Director DDB Worldwide. Spence Kramer, VP ESPN. And yours truly, rounding out the group.

I was working in our Los Angeles office at the time, so as the only participant on the west coast, I was greeted with a 6AM conference call each morning (espresso in hand) with a warm and sympathetic “Denny, are you awake yet?” sort of welcome.

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Filed under branding, marketing, opinion

Reader Response to “Paying for Creative Pitches”

It’s 12:25 AM.

After a fully packed day of meetings and presentations, I’m finally settling in for the evening. If you’re a regular reader/subscriber, you already know that yesterday’s post took a look at pitch fee compensation in the US & Europe. Just 24 hours, and over 2 dozen emails later, I get the sense that many of you have something constructive to say on this issue- a genuine desire to contribute to the conversation. Most of the emails were from the agency-side of the business, however I did get a handful of client-side opinions that were thoughtful and enlightening, especially against the backdrop of new economic pressures felt across the channel-sphere. In the spirit of “real talk”, I thought I might share one such letter that came from Greg Duncan, who many of you may remember from NY-based Verb. Please note that his perspective is provided unedited (as it should be) and published with his consent (I’ll always ask before putting your name in lights).

Response to “New Survey: European Clients More Likely to Pay for Pitches”
By Greg Duncan


I’m really enjoying your blog. Our industry suffers from a profound lack of communication (and industry standards) about these topics; BDA suffers from being both client- and vendor-focused at the same time and blogs like Motionographer seem to simply showcase the latest new trick from the latest new design stars.

The pitch fee compensation article is fascinating. I can’t believe that half of the respondents said they never receive compensation for pitches. At Verb, we were paid for probably 80% of pitches, and we stopped doing free pitches for the last couple of years. Often, clients would say that they had no money for the pitch, and we’d just hold firm to $2500 – $5000 (occasionally $1K for something tiny). I would estimate that half the time the clients would come back to us with money.

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Filed under opinion

2009 European Branding Report: Design of the Times

Last month, media & brand strategy consultant Martin Poole and I sat down for a couple hours in London to share a drink (or two) and discuss the state of the European and US broadcast design markets. We spoke on a range of topics including challenges facing broadcasters and agencies alike, as well as the incredible opportunities afforded by the changing marketplace. If you’re interested in the European Television Branding landscape, you should checkout his recently published M21 report titled “Design of the Times”. It features:

  • an overview of 2009 European broadcast design market
  • a look at how broadcasters across Europe are trying to differentiate their channels and brands
  • a catchup with some leading UK creative shops including Red Bee, Bruce Dunlop, Addiction, Beautiful TV, and Kemistry
  • a few thoughts from yours truly

The overview/first page of the article is presented here for a quick read. Click here to download the .pdf to view the entire article including the European brand case studies.

Design of the Times
By Martin Poole

No review of the European broadcast design market can ignore the current financial inconvenience that most broadcasters find themselves in, but this year’s crop of featured projects shows no lessening in creativity and ingenuity, even if budgets are lower and timescales shorter.

Everyone seems to agree that there’s something about constricted budgets and difficult circumstances that helps great ideas to come to the fore, whether it be using skill photography to illustrate the wonders of high definition or developing long-lasting storylines by creating your own characters and letting them develop lives of their own with the viewers.

The other thing that seems to be happening in this recession is that it’s forcing people to collaborate more. When budgets are tight, ideas are at a premium and everyone from creative director to ad agency to design agency to promo outfit is more than willing to explore other ways of working in order to get the best results. There’s a real sense that the creative community on both sides of the client/agency fence is pulling together to make sure we all get through this in one piece.

One area that everyone is focused on is customer service – when you know your client has only a little work to give out you want to be first on their list every time and agencies are trying to be much more attentive and ready to respond whenever they get the call. Despite that, most European agencies still have a lot to learn about how to present themselves, according to Denny Tu, an exec producer from LA who splits his time between Europe and the US. “Agencies are working harder to stand out but rarely do an effective job of communicating value differentiation above and beyond the creative reel,” he believes. While he is no doubt that the UK market in particular is one of the most creative in the world, if the agencies there want to grow they need to pay more attention to proving their value and worth than they do at the present. (click keep reading below for more)

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Filed under branding, channel identity, industry news, marketing, opinion

TV Brand Identity: Balls, Blobs, and Spandex Clad Men

A hilarious must see: sharp witted (and award winning Australian film & television critic) Marc Fennell does it again. Marc sent me a message yesterday regarding ‘#zombie looting’. Unfortunately, I don’t have all my Tweet-speak down yet.

What I do know is that audiences are equipped with greater awareness of our work in screen branding. They are connected to the mass media dialogue like never before. And since consumers now interact with content and programming through intersecting media portals, they’re quite likely to tweet and blog their true feelings towards our entertainment brands (and how we package them) into the digital hemisphere. The real question? Will those of us in the branding business hear their call?

There’s never been a greater opportunity to listen, speak, and interact directly with our evolving (and lean forward) audience.

In the span of just 6 minutes, Mark manages to channel some collective Aussie angst, while simultaneously being able to talk about Channel Nine’s Balls and the (beloved) BBC Three “Blobs” engaged in some alleged dubious behavior.

If you manage to get through the video without smirking, smiling (/crying), grinning, or outright chuckling, please immediately run out and get yourself some Pinkberry. Make that a large with blueberry, raspberry, and kiwi.

You, my friend, have yoda-like self control.

Do you have an opinion on this issue? Go ahead! Post your (g-rated) thoughts below and share your comments on the current state of television branding and continuity. We’re listening…

And as a (uber important) friendly reminder, If you’re a fan of the blog, you must:

a) Follow me on Twitter, by clicking here


b) If you’re on Technorati, please click here to add me to your favorites.

If you do so, the Kogi BBQ Truck is guaranteed to stop right in front of your house tomorrow night. So worth it.


Filed under branding, channel identity, ident, opinion