Thursday, May 13, 2010

micro-engagement approval

 I remember how long it used to take to get approval on a TV ad, a thirty-second, one-message-fits-all spot.

We would get the client brief (often missing certain details, like sometimes the product!), work on internal strategy. Then creatives would work their magic and we would be off to client, so confident in our ideas that you would have thought that we had the cure to cancer on a storyboard. Presentation, revisions. Sometimes this would happen one, two, three... up to a dozen times depending on the client in question. Finally, board approval. A producer would be brought in, the project bidded out to production houses and directors. When finally the AE found a way to wrangle creative, client, production team and director on to the same page to agree on budget, timeline and treatment - advertising project management can get so convoluted that when things work out it feels like the starts have miraculously aligned - the real chaos would begin.

Casting, acting workshops, costume reviews. Then the shoot - sometimes early in the morning, sometimes very far out of town, hazy day/s of catered food and lights & action. The film would be graded, sound dubbed (I think), creatives present at all events. Then agency viewing of the edit or "offline", then client viewing. Revisions. Back and forth, revisions. And once ready, preparation of the final or "online" material. The AE would then head to the Ad Standards Council for yet another approval of the material. By this time the media agency would have gotten involved, then release tapes would be prepared and sent out to each of the stations in the visual media schedule.

All of this for one material.

This is what I started thinking while reading about micro marketing. I guess the idea is that we're living, marketing and selling in a long-tail world and millions of micro-segments exist. And we can reach them now online, often 1:1 in real conversations.

But that idea takes on a different meaning when you're the digital person in a traditional (media) world. I can't imagine how approval is going to happen when digital kicks in full force and we're going to have to get clients to sign off on millions of micro-messages. Maybe we'll need to hire someone to handle approval management. Daunting. Still exciting.

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