June 10, 2021

Let’s Talk About Sustainable Marketing Production

Our industry is rightly thinking hard about sustainability. We see it in the types of packaging our clients work with. There are various schemes to work towards being carbon neutral. And every client wants to receive certain standards such as FSC accreditation. Some of our clients like Brew Dog are leading the way in these areas. Other clients like Wildfarmed - a company that uses regenerative farming to create wheat that captures CO2 are specifically set up to solve these problems.

Things are happening. The ad industry has a carbon footprint of about 1 million tonnes. Roughly split 50 / 50 between energy use and business flights. The Ad Net Zero program started by the Advertising Association, IPA and ISBA was set up in November 2020 with a goal of making the industry more sustainable and climate conscious by reaching net zero carbon emissions by the end of 2030.

One aspect of the Ad Net Zero program is encouraging the industry to use it’s power and techniques to promote positive messages around the climate. That is also great.

But we believe we can go one step further.

There is one area that is not talked about as much as it should. Something that can make a huge difference:

Sustainable Marketing Production.

We know that modern brands need content. Content is the lifeblood of a successful brand. More more more. But how to square that off when we should be aiming for less less less?

The only way is to make content production more sustainable.

We do this in several ways but the central point that has changed over the last four or five years is that CGI technology can in most instances replace the need for a traditional shoot. The technology has improved, becoming much more cost effective. We are working with clients who are realising huge efficiencies, while knowing they are reducing their carbon footprint too.

There are a couple of key areas where this all starts to make sense.

Mainly around digital doubles of products versus physical products and the huge reduction in travel needed for shoots.

For clients like Dulux and Dreams we create what we call 'digital doubles' of their products. Instead of shooting a bed in a studio we create it in CGI. This reduces the need for physical samples. Shipping a bed to a studio is expensive and bad for the environment. Shipping multiple beds in different colours with different accessories and in different locations is even worse. All of this can be solved with CGI.

Of course the initial image has to look real. It has to look amazing. Our job is not to save money or save the world, it is to create assets that help customers fall in love with a product. Our mix of in house stylists and CGI experts mean that we can now get that hero image right every time. Once we have that base, the sky is the limit. We can change colour - that’s easy - but we can also change the lighting, the location - pretty much anything in fact. If you can imagine a feeling, we can deliver it.

The theory behind creating lifestyle images for the many interior design brands we work with is the same for a partner like BrewDog. One of the reasons for BrewDog’s success is their speed to market. We help them with that. If they have an idea for a new beer they send us a PDF and a few days later we send them a perfect render of that can. This lets them get a feeling for what the product will really look like. They don’t need to make any packaging samples. They can use these images for research and to start making creative campaigns around them. Again no need for a shoot or any use of physical resources.

In terms of film. Again the technology that was once the reserve of the international cinema blockbuster is now available to all brands, reducing the need for a physical shoot or eliminating it all together. We are able to make scenes of products for the inclusion into larger films. Our Creative Directors worked on a global relaunch for Coke where someone was flown around the world to make sure the condensation on the coke can was just right. But this could (should) have been done by CGI.

We are also able to create entire films from scratch. This launch film for Black Roc Rum is made entirely within CGI.

Of course there are instances where live action is absolutely the best method to create something memorable. As stated above, our job is to create amazing content for our partners. However we believe there are more sustainable ways of producing live action film too. We have been on many big global film shoots. Crews of 50 people, flying around the world, just to make 30 seconds of content. We don’t feel this is a good use of resources. It is not sustainable in every sense of the word.

We recently made a live action film with the comedian Joe Wilkinson for the snacking brand Serious Pig. Because we believe strongly in Sustainable Marketing Production and we have been working this way with many clients for years that ethos extends into live action. So even though this shoot was not CGI we had a very stripped down crew of four people. We believe through using a small but very experienced core team and using technology efficiently we can achieve the same (if not better effect) quality of a more traditional film unit of 50 people.

Once you have seen that it is possible to create amazing quality creative content without the need for expensive and harmful shoots it is really difficult to see it any other way. As we push forward with more client partners who see things the same way we look forward to raising the awareness of Sustainable Marketing Production as a key pillar to achieving zero carbon emissions for the ad industry by 2030.

Let's Talk

If you would like to know more about how intelligent content creation can help your business please email hello@visual-method.com or call (0)161 211 5421.