For the first 18 months I worked in New York, I didn’t make a single piece of work. Round after round of integrated ideas were killed. Clients would ask for integrated campaigns and then only buy TV.
Why? There was no impetus for them to buy integrated work. With TV, clients inherently understood the pressure to fill a media space, along with an accurate estimate of production — guided by the golden media/production rule of thumb as 90/10. With integrated campaigns, however, it’s difficult to assume an accurate estimate of booked media to fill, along with how much money one should be spending to produce an asset.
One way that BBDO Comms Planning is addressing this problem is to start a conversation about budget way up front — before the tactical briefing. The Blueprint — as we call it, is a document which helps show the client the shape of the campaign in terms of the produced assets before we even get into tactical briefing. A blueprint helps break down the production budget amongst the assets we need to create.
This document therefore brings three information sources together in one document: communication tasks, media realities (what have been bought), and production budget.
The Comms Planner creates the first draft of this document, then looks to get alignment on this document with all the key parties (creative director, business lead and client) before they fall in love with the first execution.
This changes the shape of a planner within an agency. The Comms Planner is required to have a good understanding of how much everything costs. In practice, blueprints have helped to build a stronger tie between planning and production. The early results are really positive we have been able to cut down the rounds of review, and have a better success ratio of selling non-traditional work.