Alison Weissbrot
Sep 13, 2022

Why Makers puts production at the tip of the spear

The global production network, operating in 173 countries, brings production to the top of the creative process and integrates it throughout.

Why Makers puts production at the tip of the spear

Makers, a Toronto-based production network launched in 2016, aims to evolve the industry's approach to production, which is typically brought in at the end of the process after a creative idea has been developed.

According to Makers founder Sumit Ajwani, producers have a lot more value to add throughout the creative process. At Makers, which has a team of 70 fulltime producers in-house, producers are the client contact and are involved from the creative process from the get-go, with ample opportunity to shape ideas.

“When I started as a producer, everything was made in two or three ways. I couldn’t understand why no one could break any rules,” Ajwani said. “Making a TV commercial looks similar [each time], but when you talk about building stuff for the metaverse and [in-person] experiences, we have to change the way things are put together in the beginning.”

The network, which in June expanded its offering internationally through the acquisition of Fixation.TV, a UK-based network with more than 11,000 producers in 173 countries, works with brands including PepsiCo and Mastercard to integrate production at the tip of the spear.

Often, ideas that come from a creative agency are difficult to pull off in production. Ajwani gave a hypothetical example of an auto brand wanting to hang a car from the CN Tower in Toronto as part of an integrated campaign, and all of the logistics that go into making such a stunt a success.

“An agency would have six or seven producers from different companies. It would be a huge orchestration, very cumbersome and slow and wouldn’t come out as intended,” he said. “What if I could bring one producer in and bring all the parts together up front?”

Clients understand the value of involving production earlier in the creative process once they try it (Ajwani pegs Makers’ client retention rate at more than 90%). But educating and breaking rigid, established ways of working is “the bane of Makers’ existence,” he said.

“It’s truly a Trojan horse strategy,” he said. “Get in the first time, do it a different way and expand from there.”

Global expansion gives Makers boots on the ground and “fixers” – producers who can localize a production – in various countries, lowering barriers to entry around standing up infrastructure and other things global clients need to pull off productions in far away locations.

The model also allows Makers’ producers to specialize in a variety of areas that in-house agency production teams often lack.

“We try to pull from every area of the production discipline, from global line producers to app development,” Ajwani said. “You can find producers everywhere, but it's being willing to find them outside of the normal spaces.”

Eventually, Ajwani wants Makers to create a benchmark for production work. “There is no quality control or standard for producers, so we’ve started to set a benchmark for skill and how things are done,” he said.

Also down the road, Makers wants to make the production world less fragmented and more accessible with a searchable database of producers, so brands can easily log in and identify the talent they need around the world.

“It made sense in the old days for production to be an afterthought when the projects were the same and the budgets were massive,” Ajwani said. “But now in a world where clients need hundreds and thousands of outputs and have little budget to spread across platforms, you have to think about the problem differently.”

Source:
Campaign US

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