Editor's Letter

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It seems like only yesterday, but it was more than 360 days ago that we presented our first Top Production Companies report, featuring our list of the top 25 producers of commercials. And here it is again. Now, commercial production types are not exactly a wretched lot; they do dress pretty well and seem to have a positive outlook, but I have not envied them over the past year. Watching their reels this time around reinforces the notion that now is not an easy time to be attempting to build a reel of original, risk-taking work. Every production company reel we watched has some solid work, even some gems on it and showcases the skills that make a standard idea into a fine piece of work - but taken together, the work seems to have a lower overall big-idea density. Now, it seems the international perspective is becoming a more and more significant factor in production companies' creative and business MOs, as producers of spots avail themselves and their directors of fresh creative from the U.K. and beyond - which, while often not drop-dead lucrative, provides a creative shot in the arm for new and established directors. And a director with some juicy London ads on his reel, is, apparently, a hotter commodity to U.S. creatives. In this edition of the Production Company Report, we better-acquaint ourselves with some of the international players who are spearheading the operations of U.S.-based shops or who are creating new international entities and approaches to production.

This issue also sees the debut of a new back-page feature designed to provide a forum for you, the creative participant in the ad industry and in life, to share your inspirations, ideas, entanglements and creations outside of or on the margins of the advertising cosmos. While having the added benefit of representing one less thing for us to write/do and exploiting free available labor, the feature is really meant to channel the embarrassment of creative fluid that courses through this industry, untapped, every day, into a concentrated, easy-to-consume syrup of unexpected new ideas. In our inaugural edition, BBH worldwide creative director John Hegarty reveals yet another creative capability, with a personal photography collection - a series of photographs with the theme of Misdirected Reverence.

Already, the submissions and ideas we've had for this feature have been as wide-ranging, weird and wonderful as we could have hoped. So if you're out there with a hidden creative facet, the brief for this column is - there is none. It's open to: Commentary on the state of fashion, music, design, movies, TV; what you love, what you hate; your personal creative projects - your own photos, illustrations, screenplay excerpts; a play-by-play of your advertising league basketball game; your new bedroom furniture; illustrations for a new children's book they'd never let you publish; or a few of your favorite recipes. The column is not set up to be an ad review - we already do that. But you can rant about ad-related things, like bad ad trends, where you drank on your last overseas shoot, corporate culture or your favorite rejected ads.

Judging from the interest generated by the first annual Battle of the Ad Bands (see p. 14), there are a whole lot of you out there with many different colored lights that you want to let shine. For God's sake, let them.

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