Last week, a TikTok video of a student filming a Sprite commercial in her dorm room went viral, sparking conversation from creative industry leaders on whether agencies need to reevaluate their production processes.
In the video, the student uses her dorm room desk and white bed sheets as a backdrop, a ring light for lighting and a paintbrush to manipulate props.
The video, viewed 15.8 million times and liked 4.3 million times on TikTok, has made its way to Twitter, Reddit and YouTube, and was even reposted by iHeart Radio with the caption “Okay someone give her a job!”
This is not the first time Ashley Xu (@ashhasacamera) has hacked together a seemingly high-budget commercial production from home. A quick scroll on her TikTok feed reveals she regularly puts together such videos using household products. One video of a spinning No. 2 pencil is manipulated by a fidget spinner, with AP history textbooks hoisting up a backdrop.
The one-woman production poses the question: what can agencies learn from Gen Z as the creative process becomes democratized?
Campaign US asked creatives to share their reactions.
Leslie Collin, senior planner strategy and insights, VMLY&R
It's awesome to see that the creative process is no longer limited. As much as larger productions have fantastic benefits for brands, we don’t always need a traditional channel to express our creativity, thoughts, ideas or beliefs.
Social media has allowed individuals to express themselves and their creativity without compromise. It’s also made the feedback loop shorter. Ideas can be vetted with more efficiency.
It’s exciting that people are not necessarily acquiescing to the status-quo set by a previous generation. Agencies should take note of how Gen Z is utilizing these platforms. I hope we as an industry are paying attention.
Rachel Mercer, co-founder and CXO, Pro.to
I have a lot of respect for what creative and production agencies have to do to get the work done, and [this video] makes the production look deceptively simple.
But there is room for more agility in production at agencies. At Wieden + Kennedy, for example, global CCO, Colleen DeCourceym spoke to the IAB about how the agency has moved from large-scale commercial shoots to more nimble captures on smartphones.
There is always a lesson from every generation. From this generation we are seeing a more native understanding of branding and franchising, as well as native literacy on social media. Just look at the success of FaZe clan and Hype Houses.
When Steven Spielberg and Spike Lee first started making films, it required investment in equipment, tapes and editing bays. This can all be done in your pocket now, and the tools increase in sophistication every year. To stay modern, agencies should always be looking to learn and adapt new tools to streamline those processes.
Guillaume Martin, Head of Strategy at BETC Paris
[This video] gives substance to one of the greatest myths in advertising: that anyone can have an idea because of the technology available today.
But that doesn’t necessarily make those ideas good. Creativity lies as much in the making as in the concept. It’s a good time to be more experimental, as brands want to produce their content faster and cheaper.
[Agencies should] stop believing that “anyone must have an idea about the idea.” Too many people feel obliged to review and tweak the work, and that can create more confusion. Agencies and brands need shorter validation processes and more trust in their teams, and between each other, to free spontaneity.
[Gen Z] is able to juggle a culture of experimentation and DIY aesthetic and an embedded obsession of flawless, patient craft — which agencies can learn from.