Michele Oliver, Mars’ vice-president for marketing, may still cite the TV campaign (TVC) as the best way to reach her brand’s mass market, yet she’s ready to sacrifice a portion of her budget on the altar of innovation, experimentation and creative risk. Is production willing to do the same?
Oliver admits that, on the whole, she gets involved “very little in production”. Although that doesn’t mean she’s so far removed from the mechanics driving the decades-long client-agency-production spiral that she’s blind to its endurance, and the problems involved in its legacy.
High on her wish list of changes is the breakdown of back-scratching creative-director relationships, which she believes “close the industry down to development and talent”.
“[You hear] ‘these creative teams always work with this director and that’s what they always do’,” she explains. “I understand that it’s high risk, and you want to work with someone you know, however at the same time if you’re trying to create more exciting content and trying to see the world through different eyes you need to bring other directors in.”
In particular, Oliver is crying out to work with more young directors, more female directors and more directors that haven’t arrived through a nepotistic London internship scheme (a fact that won’t surprise those who have followed her career). And while she still prizes TV advertising as the golden ticket to FMCG mass penetration, she’s now ready to take a gamble when it comes to content – primarily because gaining cut-through is now less likely without risk.