Production Consultants: Perpetual Pain or Prized Partners?

Production Consultants: Perpetual Pain or Prized Partners?


Our CEO Pat Murphy and Little Black Book Online discussed why cutting costs does not mean curbing creative.

You can read a couple of Q&As below. To see the full interview, just click here.

LBB> Why do you think cost consultancy is more relevant now than ever before?
PM> Over the years, agencies have cut costs due to dwindling budgets. Unfortunately, this means they haven’t wanted to spend as much as they used to in areas like production departments. We are seeing fewer experienced people in production roles and a severe lack of training (if any). Tell me how many agencies are turning out the next Frances Royle or Mark Hanrahan??
In my view, cutting costs in that area for an agency is a false economy. If a client can’t have a great experienced producer at their agency, it is absolute necessity for them to have a good, experienced production adviser to ensure that every penny of their budget is being put to good use in the most effective way. And even better have both.
LBB> So why do you see yourselves as production investment managers as opposed to cost consultants?
PM> Procurement talk about working and non-working spend, and production falls into the latter category. It’s baffling for me to understand this. If you make a shit commercial then your working spend in media is wasted too. As my partner Adam Kirby always says – “there’s no point getting more people to see a less good ad”. It’s a totally false economy. A great piece of advertising will build business, and focusing the spend in the right areas of production that influence effectiveness, as an investment is, I think, just a smarter approach – spend the right amount in the right way.
Having experienced cost consultants from when I was a client and also at the agency, I realised that there was a huge difference between them all. Some behave just like auditors, some just get involved at budget stage, and some take percentage from the savings they make. And some consultants are led by people who have never even produced an ad. In my view they have zero credibility.
Our main focus is, and always has been, to not only look at the budget, but also by being involved early enough before all the big decisions have been made, and to ask all the right questions. If we can add huge value to the production design, and logistics over and above just the pure numbers, then as one of my clients said to me recently ‘you help me sleep at night’.


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