After a career in the stock industry as an art director for Getty, PictureArts and Corbis, Andrea Rosenfeld took a leap into the ad agency world as an art buyer and producer. Andrea worked for DDB, RPA, Saatchi & Saatchi and other agencies before landing at David&Goliath, a top creative agency in LA, as a senior art producer. We asked her to share some thoughts on her job and the production process.
By: Michael Masterson
What types of accounts do you work on and how do you source the imagery for them?
Right now, I work mainly on KIA and CA Lottery, but have worked on many different brands throughout my career. Each project is different from the one before and we source imagery everywhere from stock photos to hiring photographers, CGI artists, and illustrators, to installation and street artists. To find the right one, I rely on my years of bookmarking, looking at source books, blogs, promos, social media, going to industry events, doing portfolio reviews and referencing my network of reps and photographers. It’s a mix of all that plus a little secret ingredient of just knowing.
Describe your role in a typical production at your agency.
Overall my role is a balancing act between producing the best creative work while staying on budget and meeting deadlines. It is really great combination of right-brain and left-brain functioning.
A typical production begins with one of my favorite aspects of my job: matching the visual artist to the campaign. When I am first presented with a campaign, my brain instantly kicks into creative-search mode of who would be the best fit for the look and feel of the campaign. I enjoy this aspect because it’s my chance to have an impact on the work by bringing the appropriate artist to the table. Sometimes it’s a needle in the haystack kind of search and other times, it is immediately obvious to me whom to put forward. Oftentimes the campaigns can be executed in several ways, so finding the best method is also a large part of my role.
Next comes bidding mode. This means overseeing communication of the creative vision and production needs to the artists. When the bids come in, the left-brain portion of my job kicks in when I review line items and fine-tooth comb the numbers, lest we forget something we need like a water truck, or funds to cover the 99 basketballs in the comp, and stuff like that.
The next part of my process happens when we award the job. At this stage, I manage approvals of casting, locations, set design, props, etc. Each component needs to be agency and client approved before we go for it. Once we get to set, all things should be in place and the magic unfolds.
Are clients asking you to create assets for social media?
Yes, we are creating assets for social media more and more. Sometimes we are able to leverage imagery from existing shoots, and sometimes we shoot solely for this media. I like the loose style and free form that usually comes with it. It’s almost like an improvisation at times, but within our production protocol of course.
You mentioned “influencers.” How are your clients using them and do you think they’re effective?
AR: Internet stars, Instagram sensations and bloggers are all opening up avenues to reach audiences that didn’t exist in the old model of advertising. Clients are tapping into this area in a big way, most often on experiential or digital projects. At the most basic level, hiring influencers to post about our brands helps bring new attention to the brands. It is also a smart way to reach harder-to-find and fickle, younger audiences. If the influencers are hosting an event, or contributing to a piece of art we are creating, they will organically bring a lot of eyes and ears to the work that aren’t reachable through traditional advertising channels. I’ve noticed that teens idolize and admire YouTube stars and these influencers are now starring in their own Netflix shows. In this way, they are very effective.
The trick is bringing the right influencers to the project without diluting or mismatching with the creative. It’s a balancing act between finding a personality with a large following as well as someone that is aligned with the message. There’s a sweet spot in there somewhere.
Tell us about the gallery space that’s been created at David&Goliath.
I am very enthusiastic about this, as it is a passion of mine. We just opened a gallery space, called Ampersand, in one of our lobbies. We picked the name as a nod to David&Goliath as well as the idea of collaboration – collaboration with artists, and with the viewers. Our first show was a rotating group show from the APA LA, and from there we are showcasing visual artists from all over the spectrum including photography, illustration, painting, muralists, etc. There really are no rules. We are a creative agency and it makes sense to see artwork as we walk into the office each day. It sort of sets the tone for the day. Everyone seems to really enjoy it.
Can you share any war stories about productions gone awry (without naming names of course)?
This question makes me want to knock on some wood. What comes to mind are stories of slightly absurd and funny moments. Here are a few that just popped into my head:
- We needed a group portrait of a very well known heavy metal hair band to tie into a TV commercial they were in for one of our clients. We arrived on the TV set to find out that they won’t actually pose together anymore; after all these years they’d had enough, I guess! They each come out of their trailers, one at a time, posing alone. But the funny part is that they each knew how to pose “as if” they were together…. leaning, arm bent as if around another’s shoulder. It struck me as hilarious!
- One of our concepts called for a very large hog and we did an actual hog casting. “Bob the hog” got the part. He weighed 800 pounds! It turned out he needed his own carpet all the way from the truck that brought him to the center stage of the studio so he wouldn’t slip and fall. But he was a total super star. It should have been a red carpet now that I think of it!
- Our 89-year-old talent was riding in a gold-covered chariot led by a team of donkeys. The donkeys were a little over zealous and lurched too quickly. The whole chariot went down in an instant and took the senior gentleman with it. We all gasped in horror. But without missing a beat, he bounced back up and said, “Did you get that on film?!”
Michael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.