I Was Blind, But Now I See… - AJ Vernet

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Cover image for  article: I Was Blind, But Now I See… - AJ Vernet

The most important part of digital advertising isn't the ECD!

To all developers out there in the advertising echo-sphere, I want you to know that I take my hat off to you!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I spend an ungodly amount of my week in creative and production meetings. I am talking hours and hours of brainstorming sessions that are usually run by a bunch of Executive Creative Directors or Executive Producers who are quickly trying to download my team and me on their new ideas around some hot campaign they want to launch.

These meetings are a requirement for production teams, as this is the time and place where we, the producers, developers, and designers, get our marching orders for the weeks of work required to implement the brilliance (or genius) from the Idea Guys.

I have always enjoyed these meetings, as they are a very necessary part of our advertising culture.

Why the Awe?

Well first off, I have always been enamored of the ECD and the Don Drapers of the world. I can't lie, I secretly have always wanted to be a Creative Director, but never had the guts to step up to the plate. I am in awe of how guys like Don Draper can lead creative teams and riff such amazing ideas around simple product launches, time and time again. That's a skill set and a gene I just don't possess. ECDs are truly the rock stars of our industry as they push brands forward and collect the accolades and awards our agency partners covet.

To me, creative and production meetings are where I have always thought I saw the true masters of advertising at work. This was how I felt, until recently, when my eyes were opened on a project I have been working on for well over the last year. My awe shifted.

The Revelation

This year, an amazing opportunity came to me, where I finally got to play ECD and EP on a large software development project. I was over the moon about this opportunity to create and steer through to reality, a product and a platform. And I felt elated that I had finally stepped up to the plate and come up with an amazing idea! As I was laying out our plan of attack, ideology, and overall strategy with the development team, I started to see a few things I couldn't believe that I have never seen before. I started to see the brilliance and the true mechanics of our industry take shape. Some really talented developers took my ideas and began molding them into reality.

I have been in production a long time. I know the importance of hiring the right people to do a job. I know that a quality coder is worth his or her weight in gold, and this holds true for any below-the-line position on any job across any project. As we started to get underway and into the logistics of the project and underway, I began to realize a few things that in my ignorance, I never saw before.

I started to realize how a great idea is really only – well – an idea. I know this may sound a little naïve, given that I own and operate a digital production company, but this is the truth. A great idea amounts to zero without the people who take the idea, harness it to reality and carefully devise the experience, the design, and ultimately the ones and zeroes that bring the idea to life for all too now see and use.

An idea is fragile and a GREAT idea walks the tightrope between inception and success, with nothing but peril below. My hat goes off to all the coders, designers and developers in our industry. You are the true rock stars and decision makers of the world when it comes to digital because you ensure that ideas come to life. The road ahead is much brighter with eyes wide open.

AJ Vernet is Founder and CEO of Rey Interactive, which is a Los Angeles and New York based digital and video production company positioned to partner with agencies, creative firms, publishers and brands as a scalable and seamless production resource. AJ can be reached at aj@reyinteractive.com.

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