Blink Productions made history last week by becoming the first UK
production house to launch an interactive commercials company.
Sleeper, a joint venture with the digital design outfit Deepend, aims to
produce interactive communications for any platform, from digital TV to
the internet. Headed by Mark Iremonger from the brand communications
company Maritz Communications, it promises to make creativity, not
technology, the essence of its work.
’Deepend has always been about brand communications - the technology
itself should be as invisible as possible,’ Peter Beech, the managing
director of Deepend, says.
James Studholme, the managing director of Blink, adds: ’We want to
produce the kind of work that will win Pencils.’
The pair are keen to stress the creative nature of the company in a bid
to get advertising creatives on board. They recognise that, although
clients and media owners are embracing the changes, interest within ad
agency creative departments is limited.
’The creative industry’s low opinion of the interactive arena is driven
by their poor experiences of the technology - they feel constrained by
it. But there will be seismic changes in the next 12-24 months, which
will present huge creative opportunities,’ Beech says.
What these changes are, the pair cannot say. ’It’s hard to say what our
offering is. What we can say is that TV commercials are a monologue and
we want to find a way to provide a mainstream dialogue,’ Studholme
Educating and stimulating creatives appears to be a tough task. Although
many look at the new venture with interest, a wait-and-see attitude
still prevails. One senior figure even suggested that it was a publicity
stunt: ’It’s like when everyone rushed to get a website up, and once
they did, they didn’t know what to do with it.’
Adrian Harrison, the managing director of RSA Films, also questions
whether the launch is premature. ’No-one quite knows how it’s all going
to work out. In some respects, Blink is clever in launching early but
there are still questions that need to be answered.’
A similar situation exists in the US, where only a handful of production
companies are gearing up for the digital revolution.
John Kamen, a co-proprietor at @radical.media, is one of the few who has
been operating an ’emerging media’ department for some years. He argues
that it’s good to get in quick.
’You can’t apply the traditional production company model to new media.
There is no money to be made in just providing the resources. The key is
in providing original content.’
Despite the fact that some ad agencies - such as Grey, BMP DDB, HHCL &
Partners and Bartle Bogle Hegarty - are entering the digital arena and
despite the criticism about its timing, Studholme remains confident.
He explains: ’It won’t happen overnight - hence the name Sleeper - but
you can’t step into this in two years’ time. You have to earn your