Should more ad agencies have a CPO?

Melody Sylvester, TBWA\London’s new chief production officer, talks to us about her vision for the role and the message it sends to the industry

“I feel as if 2022 was the big year where we all hoped that we were going to get back to normal after the pandemic, and it hasn’t really felt that way. I think with the cost-of-living crisis and [other factors], it’s been a continued difficult year. But I think that everyone’s hopeful that next year, things will be different, and it’s about being match ready for that.”

Melody Sylvester is taking a hefty dose of optimism into this year and her new role at TBWA\London, which she joined as its first chief production officer towards the end of 2022. She plans to build on the work she had been doing as head of film at Engine (now known as House 337 after a merger with Odd), where she channelled her efforts into unifying the different strands of the production teams – the producers, the editors, the motion graphics team. “Because we are a unified team. We’re makers.”

This structure is new for TBWA\London, but she says that it’s “perfectly placed for something like this, because of the size and the intimate, very collaborative nature that they have in London. But also it’s a really exciting time because we’re growing and [are getting] new business, and it’s being able to say to new clients that we take production really seriously, we will be coming up with bespoke production models for you. And just being involved at the chemistry stage – that’s quite new for me in my experience in an agency.”