DDB Chicago’s Diane Jackson tells what it takes to make the impossible happen.


Issue 56: Production Solutions

DIANE JACKSON, Chief Production Officer at DDB Chicago, is recognized for her rare combination of tenacity, strategic vision and creativity. What sets Diane apart is her ability to make the “impossible” happen. She has served three times on the AICP Curatorial Panel at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is the recipient of the Institute Practitioner in Advertising (London) – Distinction in Advertising award and the Fasules, Sharpe, Yovetich Leadership Award in 2010, the first producer ever to receive that honor. Diane is also very proud to serve as a Board Member of the VCU Brandcenter.

A problem-solving approach to production
Just like in the Cannes Film Festival which inspired it, advertising’s upcoming Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity emphasizes artistry. The execution of an idea, however, is so much more than just craft. We asked Diane Jackson, one of our network’s most insightful, inventive and influential leaders in the production discipline, about the increasingly pivotal role production has in solving our clients problems today.

At the start of this year, you were elevated to Chief Production Officer from EVP/Director of Integrated Production. How do these roles differ? Does it reflect a difference in the overall role of production within DDB?

Brits’ are generally not much for titles, although I always liked the idea of being a Chief or an Officer, but thought I’d have to join the police force for that. My role has evolved over the past few years as I have been called upon to help elevate and expand our production capabilities around the network. I serve on the Americas BullsEye committee, run by Juan Carlos Ortiz, which reviews work from the Americas and Spain. This has given me the opportunity to ensure that our production strengths are maximized and that we create the best case stories to demonstrate the power and impact of our ideas.

What is significant about The Chief Production Officer position is that it validates the importance of production in the work we create. “Where” our ideas live and “How” they connect with people is arguably as influential as “What” the idea is itself. Producers are the third leg of the creative stool. All three disciplines, art director, writer and producer are essential.

Production has always been greatly valued at DDB, but we’ve been able to change the point at which production is engaged. Producers are no longer handed a script and told to find directors. Production now lives far more upstream in the process– understanding the problems we’re trying to solve and the solutions we’re creating for our clients’ business. Executive producers are leaders on the accounts and have strong client relationships. They have a clear knowledge of strategic insights and are part of the creative briefing. And, of course, they will always be the ones who get s**t done.

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