In BBDO’s high-rise office towering over Shanghai’s Xujiahui District, the agency celebrated the opening of Flare, an in-house video content creation and production branch-off. Flare, which first launched out of BBDO’s London office in 2013, is now in 16 cities and 10 countries. According to the official press release Flare’s task is “to take BBDO successfully into the video content arena; to efficiently deliver BBDO brands’ need for constant video content”.
The growth of in-house agency video content creation and production in China follows a global trend, where agencies and brands alike are trying to keep up with consumers’ insatiable demand for video content. While traditional production companies may view this development as a threat to business as usual, current China BBDO CEO Tan The Kiat made clear the creation and formalization of in-house production is more about agencies and brands trying to keep up with the high demand for video content rather than stealing outside production companies work.
Global Director and CEO Andrew Robertson (L) and BBDO Asia Pacific Chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Burge at Flare’s Shanghai opening party | 全球总裁兼CEO Andrew Robertson先生(左)与BBDO亚太区主席兼CEO Jean-Paul Burge先生到场为Flare 揭幕
Last year a report done by Google found that the top global brands upload a video every 18.5 minutes (Campaign Live). This means not every video produced is a top-grade, million dollar budget TVC. The need for viral-video type production, rapid turn over, and lower budget video content is in demand. Creating an ‘in-agency’ production house only makes sense for big agencies like BBDO to meet these needs of the client.
The expansion of a BBDO production branch-off like Flare is also a way for bigger agencies to stay relevant and compete with smaller and often more nimble digital agencies, which are similarly proliferating to fill this niche need for constant and fresh video content.
BBDO Shanghai Head of Flare Yeweng Wong | BBDO上海负责人 Yeweng Wong
Flare’s current staff of seven are mostly replants from BBDO’s Shanghai creative and production team, other than the appointed head of Flare’s Shanghai office Yeweng Wong and another new hire. Wong is Malaysian born and raised, with over twenty years experience working at 4A agencies in New York and most recently held the position as Design Director at Vogue studios in New York. Flare’s initial purpose is to better serve the video content needs of BBDO’s existing clients but it will also seek out clients independently, and has already started talking with Neutrogena which is not a BBDO client, Greater China Corporate Communications Manager Poi Yu confirmed.
BBDO Greater China CEO Tze Kiat Tan | 洁(BBDO大中华区CEO)
BBDO Greater China CEO Tze Kiat Tan expressed that “Flare will not replace the relationships and work that BBDO does with outside production companies and directors”, rather she says “Flare is here to assist and make BBDO’s video content creation better and more adaptable to its clients’ needs”.
In an ever-cluttered and competitive video content market, the Flare team is trying to stay ahead of the game by positioning itself inside the safety net of a global agency while pushing and exploring the boundaries as an independent video content and production company. Flare’s Shanghai party was brief but the room was filled with youthful, positive energy, a good sign for any start-up trying to win the hearts and minds of Chinese consumers.