Chief Production Officer | WE ARE UNLIMITED

As Chief Production Officer at We Are Unlimited, Sumer Friedrichs oversees the agency’s integrated production team and leads external and internal production across all mediums. In her first 12 months at Unlimited, Sumer made huge strides in reorganizing the agency’s production department, building an in-house social studio team, and introducing a new workflow that leverages We Are Unlimited’s modern capabilities. She’s produced some of the agency’s most recent breakthrough campaigns including McDelivery + Uber Eats and McDonald’s “Summertime.”  


With more than 20 years of experience, Sumer has worked across the different facets of production, from online user experience, to print, to shopper/retail, to short- and long-form video. Prior to joining We Are Unlimited, Sumer worked as a line producer, producer, and executive producer for various agencies, all culminating in her position as SVP Director of Integrated Production at GTB (formerly Team Detroit), where she spent nine years leading both national and global campaigns for Ford. 


Prior to GTB, Sumer spent seven years at Campbell-Ewald producing award winning campaigns for Chevrolet, Farmers Insurance, and the U.S. Navy. Before working at an advertising agency, Sumer spent four years in production at ESPN, and later she crossed over into commercial production working for the L.A.-based production house Bandito Brothers.


Over the course of her career, Sumer has won numerous industry awards including the Shortys, the Webbys, and the Effies among others. 



What was your very first job? 

I worked at an ABC news affiliate in Lansing MI.  I worked from teleprompter to floor directing.  Things got exciting when I got to run the bumper camera. 


Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails. 

I am a Chief Production Officer at We are Unlimited.  We handle the McDonalds advertising for North America.  I manage a team of Producers, Business Affairs, Studio and .com across all work and creative.


How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today? 

When I was 19 my Father & I were asked to be in a documentary.  (My father is an activist and founder of a community center for Arab immigrants).  They followed us with camera’s/ interviews us/ filmed us at events…and I thought that this was so exciting.  The director & camera had all this personal power to communicate a message that was important to them.  It immediately sparked my interest as a way to tell stories that I believed should be shared.


In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant? 

I find excitement & curiosity culminate to inspire ones imagination.  By seeing and watching what others do, in & outside of advertising I feel most driven to work at best with those I have loyalties to.


If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be? 

There are two.  One was a Navy Job for the Riverines.  I was asked last minute to jump on this project after this account was manned by the same team for years.  I felt there was a bit of unease of me doing it, my experience, my gender etc..but I solved for things and looked at it from a different eye and took some chances. When I came back with the rough cut a meeting by the CCO was called.  They were blown away.

The second was one of the first episodic, if not the first episodic  campaign for Ford.  Staring some bigger talent names and being a comedy driven campaign, it was a completely different universe for them to produce something like this.  I had to be smart and daring with some of the choices I made or put forth to the client.  The show “Escape My Life” gained a large following and still holds up to today. 


Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc)

I will always have a love for simple storytelling.  I believe it’s most effective when there is symmetry between disciplines.  And each story has it’s disciplines that make sense.  I find the most reward and impact with film and content that is supported by an experiential execution.  


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