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Ed Rivero, managing director of Los Angeles production company Cortez Brothers, has worked in advertising for more than 20 years has witnessed many changes in the industry, including the way companies like his market their services. When Rivero was getting started in his career, production companies recorded show reels for their directors onto ¾-inch videotapes. They were time-consuming to prepare, awkward to manage and expensive to ship. “We would edit them once a quarter,” he recalls. “They were our calling cards.”
Things began to change a decade or so ago as editing platforms shifted from tape machines to computers. Production companies recorded reels onto DVDs, which were easier to produce, store and ship. Still, the format had its limitations. Spots were presented in a fixed, predetermined order. Sending a reel to an ad agency or colleague meant dropping a DVD in the mail or shipping it via FedEx.
Not so today. Since 2010, Cortez Brothers has been using Simian to build show reels, manage marketing efforts and drive production workflow. Simian allows Rivero and his staff to quickly build reels on their computers using a few simple software tools and email them to advertising agencies, producers and other recipients. The process is virtually instantaneous and so easy that custom reels can built to suit the tastes of particular ad agencies and the needs of individual project pitches.
Simian has allowed Rivero to keep up with the ad industry’s ever-accelerating pace. “Deadlines have become so short,” he explains. “I may get a call and have to send out a reel in ten minutes. If I’m three minutes late, we could lose the job. The speed is astounding. Where we used to send out five or six reels per week; we now send out 25 or 30 each day.”
Simian includes analytic tools that provide Rivero and his staff with detailed feedback on the reels they send out. They can immediately tell, not only if an individual has received a reel, but if he or she watched it and how many times, if that person shared it with others, and so on. Using Simian’s groundbreaking, new heat maps feature, it’s now possible to tell if a recipient watched a particular scene in a commercial multiple times, or if he grew bored halfway through and turned it off.
“We can immediately gauge reaction to our work,” Rivero says. “Did they watch the whole reel? If they only watched a couple of spots, I know that I may need to change something.”
Rivero uses Simian not only to evaluate the effectiveness of his sales effort, but also the performance of the directors on his staff. If a director’s work is not gaining traction with agency creatives, it may be time to rethink the way he is being marketed.
Simian, says Rivero, is helping Cortez Brothers to be more productive, a crucial benefit in a time of short deadlines and intense competition. “We have a smaller staff than we did ten years ago, but we are a hundred times more efficient,” he asserts. He adds that Simian is also a big cost saver. Ten years ago, Cortez Brothers’ FedEx expenditures topped $35,000 annually. Today, it’s less than one-fourth that figure.
A lot has changed since the days of the ¾-inch videotape. Simian has transformed the way Cortez Brothers markets itself and Rivero expects his sales program to continue to improve as Simian adds new features and services. “They keep pushing the envelope,” he says. “Simian is getting better and better.”