Adrian Jung: The Production Line with Little Black Book
Adrian Jung is the group head of delivery at DDB Sydney, where he leads production at one of Australia’s most innovative agencies. But his journey is anything but conventional, having previously trained as a civil engineer, and worked as a graphic designer.
Although Adrian acknowledges the industry has evolved since he began, he remains passionate about collaboration and client-driven solutions.
He is passionate about the place of production in the agency, and spoke to LBB about the place of production in the C-suite.
LBB> What was your pathway to production?
Adrian> I was a failed civil engineer, then a graphic designer, then a direct marketing specialist, before I finally found a home as an agency print producer. My first foray into agency production was in 2007 at M&C Saatchi, where I managed print production and art buying. It was a formative time in my career, and I learned from some of the best leaders in the industry. From there, I didn’t look back.
LBB> Aside from Covid-19, what have been the most disruptive forces to hit agency production in the past few years?
Adrian> Changes in consumer behaviour, growing competition, the rise of AI, a changing media landscape, and an increasing demand for personalisation. Everything feels disruptive or disrupted!
LBB> A good producer should be able to produce for any medium, from film to events to digital. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
Adrian> Absolutely agree. Integration isn’t new, and many agencies say they’re ‘integrated’, but surprisingly few have accurately defined what that means. Agency producers should excel in their chosen field while also gaining a midweight level of proficiency across other disciplines so we can create campaigns that are seamless and effective. We’re running a ‘production immersion’ program that sees producers swap disciplines for three-month stints to really deepen their skillsets, which helps achieve this.
LBB> If you compare your role to the role of the heads of TV/heads of production when you first joined the industry, what do you think are the most striking or interesting changes? What surprising things have stayed the same?
Adrian> Gone are the days where production teams were relegated to the back corner of the agency. We’re now rightly expected to consider the intersection of technology, automation, and storytelling. We’re charged with solving big business problems, not just marketing problems.
LBB> When working with a new partner or collaborator, how do you go about establishing trust?
Adrian> Most importantly, we’re open and transparent from the get-go. That means clearly stating our expectations and goals, and encouraging our partners to do the same. Everything flows from that.
LBB> What conversations are you having with clients about issues such as diversity and sustainability? Is it something that clients are invested in, or something that agencies need to take the lead on?
Adrian> Our clients want to make the best and most impactful work, and that means caring about diversity and sustainability. As an active partner of Free the Bid, we’re helping to create more opportunities for female directors and photographers, and we’ve seen first-hand how this can improve the work. On the sustainability front, we have a dedicated team that meets fortnightly and connects to our global sustainability group. Plus, we’re working closely with select production partners to ensure they can play a part too.
We work with some of the biggest, most famous brands in the country, and they’re all putting a huge emphasis on their own diversity and sustainability efforts too.
LBB> Should production have a seat in the C-suite – and why?
Adrian> Absolutely – production teams are at the forefront of the developments, trends, and tech that agencies need to be across, so representation in the C-suite can help creative businesses get to, and stay at, the cutting edge.
LBB> What advice would you give to an aspiring agency producer?
Adrian> Remember to embrace change and to stay ahead of the curve. Instead of solely relying on current practices, take the time to imagine what can be achieved tomorrow. Be open to new and innovative ways of doing things, and don’t be afraid to take risks.