Procurement

Key Considerations for Globalizing Ad Production in 2018

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Producing relevant ad content for any target audience is a tall order, and it’s even more difficult when creating ads for multiple audiences and cultures. However, in today’s world, global campaigns are becoming the “new norm” allowing you to communicate a consistent message to customers around the world, provide strong creative synergies, and maximize cost efficiencies.

It’s important to begin the creative process (at the briefing stage) with the intent of developing global content as there are several key considerations including (but not limited to):

  • On camera dialogue
  • Cultural differences, humor
  • Product packaging on screen, product held by talent or in situations
  • Demographics for different markets
  • Celebrity usage
  • Signage or props with written language
  • Background landmarks, identifiable cities, and topography
  • International copy clearance
  • Music rights
  • Negotiation of talent rights
  • Subtitles
  • Delivery of assets
  • Length of spots – “standards” vary in different countries

Maximize Results By Working With Production Experts

Navigating the waters of globalizing production isn’t easy, and brands often rely on consultants like MRA for help. Recently, we developed a Global Content Production Strategy for an organization with 11 brands that were sold in more than 40 countries. When the client engaged us, each brand was producing its own advertising on a regional level.

We began by analyzing the client’s current processes, creative outputs, staffing, technology tools, content needs, and spending across the brands and geographies to size up the opportunities, barriers, and challenges. Then, we went to work!

The results? Year 2 showed a 44% savings in production costs (versus historical benchmarks for comparable scopes) while yielding additional savings in agency fees and in copy testing. Download the full case study here.

Anita SilvermanKey Considerations for Globalizing Ad Production in 2018
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Common Test Production Formats: Considerations & Cost Ranges

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Copy pre-testing has always been a part of marketing. But these days it has become increasingly important for Brand Managers to reduce risk as much as possible and get advance information on how commercials are expected to perform.

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing which type of test production format to use:

Boardomatics:

Definition – still artwork, stock or custom photos shown in an edited timeline using cuts and dissolves to show movement

Consideration – effective when budgets and/or timelines are tight

Costs – $8,000 – $15,000

Lead times – 1 to 2 weeks

2D Animatics:

Definition – created from hand-drawn illustrations with color and detail added and then brought into computer software and matched with audio

Consideration – choose an artist with a style of artwork that you like: revisions can be tedious, time-consuming, and potentially costly

Costs – $20,000 – $25,000

Lead times – 2 to 3 weeks

3D Cinematics:

Definition – actors and sets are computer generated, motion capture actors used to show realistic human movement. Changes can be handled at virtually any point in the development process.

Consideration– while changes can be made with ease, they also can increase costs by 40%-50%

Costs – $25,000 – $30,000

Lead times – 3 to 4 weeks

The best decision for the format of your test production is made with consideration of the type of research needed, type of product, and the type of commercial. Additionally, many advertisers are tempted to use the test spot “on air”, especially with the more advanced testing formats; however, this is not best practice and represents a critical risk to your brand. It’s important to agree with your agency up-front that test commercials will be thrown out and never placed on-air.

Need advice or recommendations for test production vendors? Give us a call–our production experts consult with brands around the world, and we’ve supported thousands upon thousands of test productions over the last 30+ years. If you need anything at all, we’re here to help.

Anita SilvermanCommon Test Production Formats: Considerations & Cost Ranges
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Licensing of Popular Music in Advertising

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There are two distinct sets of copyrights in music: the rights to the musical composition (the written lyrics and the accompanying music), and the rights to the sound recording of the musical composition. The sound recording is usually owned by a single record company and compositions often have complex ownership groups. Any reproduction of a musical composition or a sound recording requires the consent of the owner of that particular copyright.

Common Music Licensing Terms

Synchronization License: Rights to synchronize the musical composition in timed relation with audio-visual images such as a commercial. Music publishers issue these licenses either as the copyright owner or their agent.

Master Recording: Rights to use a specific recording called a Master. Covers the owner of the Sound Recording (typically the record label, or whoever paid for the recording such as the producer or the artist).

Most Favored Nations: A promise by the licensee to treat a licensor equal to any other licensor on a particular project. This would mean that the Sync and Master licensor would receive the same fee.

Linear Use: Using a song “as is” without any manipulation (i.e. moving around verses, cutting the horn section, etc.) may need special permission for non-linear use.

Exclusivity: The rights granted to the licensee will almost always be in the form of a non-exclusive license; the advertiser will pay more for an exclusive time period or industry.

There are many factors that can contribute to the fees you pay for licensed music. Consider these 10 important questions that will contribute to what you pay:

  1. Do you want to use the composition AND the master recording? Or, do you want to use only the composition and do a re-record?
  2. Do you want to re-record the composition with a parody lyric?
  3. For television, how many spots are you producing and what are the timings of each spot? (include versions, edits, lifts, tags)
  4. What is the media buy? (network, cable, spot syndication)
  5. Are you doing any radio spots? If so, how many?  Lifts, versions, edits?
  6. What other kinds of uses will there be? Do you need rights for non-broadcast/industrial use, sales meetings, trade shows, internet, in-store, POP, use of song title/lyrics in print or use of talent name/image in print, phone systems, in-cinema, in-flight, in-stadium/jumbotron, theme parks? Now is the time to include as much as you think you’ll need.
  7. Term – How long will the campaign run and what is the first air date?
  8. Territory – What cities, states, and countries will the campaign be airing?
  9. Exclusivity – Do you need exclusivity and if so, for what product category?
  10. Option – Do you need an option to renew the use for an additional consecutive term?

In order to procure the most competitive music licensing fees, MRA recommends the use of a third party vendor who specializes in negotiating popular music. Why? These companies have professional relationships with all major publisher and record label licensing departments and have the expertise to secure the best rates for advertisers.

Wondering how to get in touch with a music licensing specialist? Submit a request, and we’ll be glad to introduce you to the best resources in the industry — based on your specific needs.

 

 

Anita SilvermanLicensing of Popular Music in Advertising
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4 Pros And Cons Of Shooting Off-Shore

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Selecting the “best” location for your production is an important decision that should be made with care. Several factors come in to play:

  • LA and NY are relatively high-priced but have a high concentration of directors, photographers and talent available
  • There are a multitude of cities around the world that can offer lower costs
  • Many advertisers travel U.S. based directors and talent to lower cost locations

MRA has created a quick reference guide categorizing popular international locations into high, medium high, medium low and low-cost ranges — click here to download your copy.

While there can be significant cost savings with an off-shore shoot, here are 4 important pros and cons to consider:

Pros:

  • Lower production costs
  • Broader selection of directors geographies, etc.
  • Ability to tap non-union talent and negotiate talent buyouts
  • Reduced overtime (film crews tend to work longer standard days before incurring overtime)

Cons:

  • Increased travel expenses
  • Possibility of paying for travel time (directors, producers and agency supervision may charge for travel time outside the U.S.; in some instances these can be negotiated)
  • Longer lead time to organize and plan the shoot
  • Smaller foreign talent pool if an American “accent” is required

Other Considerations:

  • If the product is not sold in the country of the shoot, customs could delay product delivery
  • When shooting outdoors, be cognizant of the background (i.e., are cars driving on the correct side of the street? Are there signs close-by in a foreign language?)
  • Many countries have very specific regulations specific to producing content – ask an expert to ensure you’re aware of all local laws that may impact your shoot
  • Consideration should be given to safety and fluctuating currencies

MRA has more than 37 years of experience in consulting with clients on making the best decisions when it comes to production locations, and we’d be happy to help you as well. Contact us today to learn more.

Written in collaboration with Angela Saferite.

 

Anita Silverman4 Pros And Cons Of Shooting Off-Shore
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Save Big Money By Asking the Right Questions

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Cyber Monday Case Study

According to CNBC, Cyber Monday 2017 is expected to produce more than $6 Billion in sales, and RetailMeNot reports that 95% of employed consumers plan to surf for deals while at work. Having the right strategy to capture the attention of consumers on Cyber Monday is critical for advertisers; yet, you may be paying a premium to reach your target consumers this year.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Saferite of Saferite Consulting, and in this 10-minute conversation, she highlights a recent consulting engagement where she helped her client optimize their Cyber Monday digital campaign — and generate $175,000 in savings by asking one key question.

Anita SilvermanSave Big Money By Asking the Right Questions
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3 Budgeting Pitfalls to Avoid

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This month, we’ve spent time discussing budget planning, successful budget management, and how to find more money within your budget. Now, let’s take a moment to review some key tips to help you avoid common budgeting pitfalls.

 Annual Budgets

Common Pitfall: Instead of starting with project or campaign level budgeting, pull out and think big picture. Are there certain ground rules or strategies to align all the teams on before jumping in to the detail build?

Helpful Tip: When reviewing the annual budget, do a detail review for any spending not tied to a specific plan or campaign, often this can identify spend that can be trimmed without impacting brand objectives and KPI’s.

Production Budgets

Common Pitfall: Instead of asking your agency what the production budget should be, consider using models to build your own budgets and set guidelines. The budgets and models can be further refined as the detail planning and creative idea is finalized.

Helpful Tip: When building out models for production budgets, it may be helpful to have a ranges of standard costs for components. For example, animation costs will vary widely depending on the complexity of what is required. A :30 spot with heavy CGI will have a very different budget than one with very little. Music costs will vary depending on whether you’re using stock, original, or licensed music. No two :30 spots are exactly the same, and buying production is not like buying widgets. Setting an appropriate budget is a critical first step to managing costs.

Need a production budgeting tool for your organization or benchmarks for different components of production? Contact us — we’ve had the pleasure of helping hundreds of brands with budgeting, and we’d be glad to help you, too.

Ongoing Management

Common Pitfall: Failure to obtain written approval for scope changes, overages, or changes in direction during the project can lead to agency disputes and financial management issues down the road. Standardizing and formalizing this process relieve this pressure on projects, teams and relationships.

Helpful Tip: Use a standard form for routing and documenting change requests and approvals. Also consider using a management report to show project budget, revisions, and final spend. Having a dedicated resource (internal or external) who actively manages the budget during all stages may seem like an additional step, resource or cost, but this pays for itself quickly (usually multiple times over).

Need a fresh perspective on a budget issue/opportunity? Click here to submit questions to our team, and one of our experts will get back to you right away.

Written in collaboration with Angela Saferite.

 

Anita Silverman3 Budgeting Pitfalls to Avoid
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Successful Budget Management

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Budgeting can be like going to the dentist — not high on your list of favorite activities. However, if you go often and do the recommended preventative maintenance, you are much less likely to end up in a painful and costly situation!

The key to successful budget management is “early and often.” Below, we’ve identified three steps to take in building the annual budget, setting project budgets, and managing budgets on an ongoing basis:

Annual Budgets

  1. Select methods that fit your company culture such as zero based budgeting, standard costing models, top-down target driven, inflation factors, prior year base, stop/start/continue, etc.
  2. Lay the groundwork up front so everyone in marketing consistently applies the budget methodology. Set the standards for level of detail required, standard costing and modeling, and ratios requirements (working versus non-working, media versus production, fee versus creative, etc.)
  3. Train the team and review the budgets during the process versus after the budget is submitted. Giving a list of review tips, frequent errors, and issues to avoid can be very helpful for your marketing team.

Project Budgets

  1. Consider a model approach with standard cost ranges for various components of production.
  2. Define the components and potential costs up front with agreement from all stakeholders.
  3. Explain variations to the standard costs and obtain senior management approval to operate outside the standard, as needed.

Ongoing Budget Management

  1. Recruit a champion to manage project budgets and implement process enhancements.
  2. Analyze, understand, and agree upon detailed budgets prior to the start of any project.
  3. Wrap-up and reconciliation are just as important as the planning phase and can help your team learn from issues and collect remaining funds for re-investment.

In summary, here are 5 additional things to keep in mind:

  1. Clarify expectations with the team up front before budgets are prepared and submitted.
  2. Have a formal review process for variances to standard costing models used in budgeting.
  3. Have a formal approval process for changes to project scope.
  4. Assign responsibility for ongoing budget management.
  5. Be the team that gets more money due to your track record for effectively and efficiently managing your budget!

Being involved early and often are the keys to success in budget management. Check out our upcoming post for tips and key watch-outs for implementing improved budget processes in your company.

Written in collaboration with Angela Saferite.

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Budget Planning: Fall Into More Money

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With today’s consumers digesting content at a rate like never before, organizations are struggling to keep up. Marketers are challenged to create more content, more often — yet have stagnant (or decreasing) budgets. So, how do you overcome the challenge of doing more with less? During this “budgeting season” we wanted to share a few ways you can approach “finding” more money in your budget. Check out three real-life examples:

Refine Your Content Production Strategy

This can help drive creative synergies, increase speed to market, and lead to significant cost efficiencies — especially for advertisers looking to globalize advertising development and production. So, where do you begin?

  • Tap an internal or external production expert to analyze current processes, creative outputs, staffing, technology tools, content needs, and spending across brands and geographies to identify opportunities, barriers, and challenges.
  • Develop an annual planning protocol — and stick to it
  • Determine the optimal production approach(es) based on your content needs for the next year
  • Analyze historical benchmarks and develop a methodology for tracking success

MRA was tapped to lead this process for a global advertiser. The results? 44% savings in production costs versus historical benchmarks for comparable scopes. Click here to request the full case study.

Establish Targeted Production Investment Levels

Whether you’re investing broadcast and digital video, creating target investment levels based on deliverable type and complexity can have a significant and positive impact for your organization.

Start by building standard cost ranges (based on historical benchmarks) for the various components of production. A few examples of these “components” include:

  • Video style (presenter, single storyline, testimonial, vignette, etc.)
  • Testing (boardomatic, 2D animatic, 3D cinematic, etc.)
  • Number of locations
  • Number of shoot days
  • Music (licensed, stock, custom, etc.)

 Once all components have been considered, develop categorizations based complexity and deliverable type to be used as “building blocks” for budgeting.

Next, create a budgeting tool which factors in additional elements which may increase/decrease the investment level. A few examples of these additional elements include:

  • Heavy CGI or special effects
  • Multiple casts
  • Shooting in a low-cost location
  • Repurposing existing assets

By right-sizing your budgets based on historical benchmarks, deliverable type, and complexity you have the opportunity to drive efficiencies all year long. In fact, one of our clients tapped us for help and captured $1.5M in efficiencies within the first year alone!

Create a Strategy for Scaling Social Media

These days, marketers are struggling with the need to produce more and more content for social channels — with flat budgets. Many organizations are finding themselves with unsustainable year-over-year expenditures in social media and are looking for new approaches to be able to scale their program. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s something to consider:

  • Leverage an internal or external expert to evaluate optimal content for driving the best interaction across channels
    • Look at social media posts over the last 12 months and analyze interaction rates
    • Identify trends in interaction rates by content types and posting cadence

MRA was recently tapped by a global advertiser who needed help in scaling their social media program. By partnering with our client’s marketing team and agency, MRA was able to analyze engagement trends and identify multiple opportunities to stretch budgets and drive efficiency. The results? Our client stretched their social content production budget by more than 35%. Click here to request the full case study.

In Summary

As you can see, falling into more money comes in all shapes and sizes. Understand the strategies currently accepted by your company and what strategies might improve your approach based on the culture and tolerance for change.

Check out our upcoming article as we’ll provide steps on enhancing your 2018 budgeting processes.

Written in collaboration with Angela Saferite.

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Budget Planning: ‘Tis the Season

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It’s Fall and most everyone is working on budgets. And over the last 37 years, we’ve NEVER heard a marketing professional say, “I have enough to execute all the plans and build my brands. No thank you, I don’t need any more budget money.” Seriously, through all the years, with all the brands, in all the circumstances — never have those words been spoken.

So, as an Operations Team member, Procurement Specialist, Accounting or Finance professional, Strategic Planner, or Budget Analyst, here’s what you need to do to be successful: FIND MORE MONEY!

The business environment of today is a picture of:

  • Doing more with less
  • Holding budgets flat in spite of inflation
  • Negotiating incremental deliverables out of existing contracts
  • Introducing new brands without incremental budget
  • Squeezing payment terms, hourly rates, and fees
  • Working with an approved budget only to later receive cuts to that amount
  • Reducing total spend but providing the same or better business outcomes
  • Reaching consumers in a complex, always-on communication stream
  • Complexities with technology and the digital space

So, the task of finding more money in this environment can seem daunting, but there are ways of analyzing existing budgets, building plans for the next year, utilizing tools, and managing processes that can make this a reality. It is reasonable to find money and identify savings that can make you look like a hero, and that money can be dropped to the bottom line or even re-invested in incremental marketing programs to drive improved revenue!

Success in budgeting and smart ongoing budget management looks like this:

  • You become the “go to” person for the executives
  • Marketing and brand teams respect you and seek advice
  • Teams come to you early when there’s a problem
  • Teams are honest with you when there’s money remaining in projects or available to solve problems or drop to the bottom line
  • You become known for solving problems and helping the marketing team and your company deliver financial goals
  • Senior management begins coming to you saying, “If we have incremental money to spend, what can we do to drive incremental sales and revenue?”

So over the next few weeks, let’s roll up those sleeves, sharpen the pencil, and get after this budget in a new way with results that drive new thinking and help you find money!

Join us next week as we explore some actual case studies and tools that deliver this type of success in budget season and throughout the year with ongoing budget management.

Written in collaboration with Angela Saferite.

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