The advertising industry is notorious for ambiguous and, at times, flowery job titles, and for entertainment sake, I hope they continue to be sprinkled in here and there.
But as the industry constantly shifts and adapts, some roles are changing to embrace a cross-disciplinary direction many creative shops are shifting towards. While wearing too many hats can potentially lead to inefficiencies, creating nuanced blends of once-segmented duties can actually optimize the creative process in the advertising world.
In the advertising realm, there has traditionally been a schism between the list-making, worker bee “producer types” and the idea-spurring “creative types.” But does this hard line in the sand really serve the overall creative process? When working on an inherently artistic endeavor, wouldn’t it make sense for a producer to bring a creative perspective to the table as well?
Enter the Executive Creative Producer role. Similar to the various different kinds of Executive Producers, ECPs vary in their oversight, spanning business development focus to day-to-day output, but operating in a less segmented manner than traditional workflows. The Executive Creative Producer is able to facilitate a more effective collaboration between creative and production teams, bringing a creative perspective to more technical and logistical challenges and a more solutions-based perspective to creative challenges.
While I may never have set out to become an ECP, my road to that multifaceted role I have held for thirteen years was quite organic. I entered the realm of music and sound for advertising from the recording industry, working alongside artists, managers and engineers on a daily basis. As more brands take creative offerings in-house, there is a greater spread of talent across brands, agencies and production. This means that, while traditionally talent would most frequently make moves within their side of the industry, now there is much more frequent movement between disciplines. Leaning into these hybrid roles means that the broadened skill sets of today’s industry can better be optimized.
I know what you’re thinking: but is an ECP actually different from an Executive Producer? There is an argument for the fact that there have always been EPs who brought equal parts left and right brain to their work. However, by making a deliberate shift to a designation that empowers the EP with authority at the table for creative decision-making, endless possibilities of creative problem solving are unlocked.
As an ECP, I oversee the entire creative output of the Sydney studio, which means I’m not only working with our clients to ensure we are able to create the best music or audio solution for their project, but also partnering with our team of artists and engineers.
In today’s climate, it’s expected to be ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting clients with what’s “next,” and by empowering Executive Producers with a creative perspective, they are better able to facilitate a blend of the two disciplines.
When I joined Squeak E. Clean Studios (then Nylon Studios), it was always understood that, given my music industry background, I would bring a creative POV to my role. Being plugged into the recording industry and having a keen awareness of the latest and greatest talent meant I would be able to better bring clients musical solutions that are actually connected with modern culture. In some ways, it’s important I’m ahead of the curve and able to connect them with what’s “next”, which is something that will always keep this role and industry fresh and exciting.
Today, the title of Executive Creative Producer has become a mainstay across our studios in the U.S. and Australia. Having an ECP at the helm allows for a much more seamless collaboration between the creative and production departments at the agencies or brands we are working with, and our in-house team of composers, sound designers, mixers and producers. By having someone in studio equally looking out for the creative needs of clients and the quality of the creative internally, the magic of true creative problem solving can really happen.
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