Last Thursday night I attended an event at advertising agency iris' London headquarters where a handful of speakers, just returned from the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, presented their 'Texas Takeaways’: what they regard as the key themes from this year's festival – billed as the "largest interactive event in the world".
As well as the margaritas and tacos on offer to the guests, there was a lot to learn from the two hour talk. Here are the four highlights that stood out to me.
Some may deride it as corporate greenwashing, but the idea of brands "doing good" as well as making a profit is becoming an increasingly hot topic. I was struck earlier this month at the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) conference by client after client highlighting the need for brands to have a social "purpose". Here at Warc, we've also been inundated with entries to the 2013 Admap Prize, with over 100 people weighing in on whether "brands can be a force for social good".
With that in mind, today's "doing good makes for good advertising" panel at Advertising Week Europe was very much on trend. Addressing a venue packed out with London ad people, panellists from both the agency and client sides agreed on one key point: cause-related marketing cannot be superficial, but must instead represent a fundamental change in the way companies do business.
Last week was a buzz of activity at Brand Learning as we partnered with Google to share the latest thinking on Re-Mastering Marketing at their 12th March 'Think Branding' conference. Our own Andy Bird took the stage in front of around 350 Marketing leaders from such companies as PepsiCo, GSK, Motorola, Ford and Axa Wealth.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the conference and loved that the content focused not just on 'what' excellence in marketing now looks like, but also on 'how' to actually make it to happen. Recent and relevant case studies and examples were drawn from organisations such as Lego, J&J, Nike, and Disney.
Advertising Week Europe kicked off across London today with a series of sessions on thought leadership - including several looking back to last summer's Olympics and the lessons that were learned there.
BAFTA's Piccadilly headquarters was humming as a capacity crowd packed in to hear Sir Martin Sorrell CEO of WPP, turn interviewer and discuss the art of winning with Sir Dave Brailsford, the performance director of the highly successful Great Britain cycling team, which won eight gold medals at the 2012 Games.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the mistaken belief in the relevance of 'relevance'.
Many years ago, we worked on Dulux. At that time, Dulux ads always featured a shaggy Old English Sheepdog. The dog would appear as a branding device alongside the packshot or during the ads, typically padding through beautiful newly-painted sitting rooms. Back then, Dulux made so many ads that they tested them using a proprietory pre-test. One standard question was: 'Why do you think there is a dog in this ad?'
You only have 20 minutes to present your case to the 12 judges who will decide the winners at the 2013 Account Planning Group (APG) Awards. But how can you make the most of this short timeslot? Here are the top tips gleaned from a ‘How to win’ APG event, held at Google’s headquarters in London earlier this week – and attended by many of the UK planners set to compete for this year's prizes.
First to speak was Richard Huntington, chief strategy officer at Saatchi & Saatchi who gave his view on what makes an award winning presentation based on his experiences of being a judge for the 2011 awards. His main points were:
What makes a winning Cannes Lions case study? It's a question many agency creatives are asking right now, with this year's Lions deadlines fast approaching: Creative Effectiveness category – cases for which are published by Warc – will be closed on 1st March, while the deadline for all other Lions is 28th March. But Philip Thomas, Cannes Lions CEO, attempted to provide some answers to this question at a briefing in London late last week.
To Thomas, the number one reason why people attend the Cannes Lions Festival is simply to be inspired. But the way that inspiration is being accessed is ever-changing. There are several key trends that are fundamentally reshaping the work that gets seen at Cannes – which Thomas listed in his presentation.
The impressive attendance, despite the awful weather, at last night's London launch of the 2013 Account Planning Group (APG) Awards highlighted the event's importance for many UK-based planners. Unsurprising, as the APG Awards tend to recognise planning as a discipline, rather than advertising in general: they reward a campaign's strategy – and not just its splashy creative or strong business results.
Winning an APG Award is "all about learning, not just effectiveness," confirmed AMV BBDO's Craig Mawdsley (he's also currently the APG's chair). "It's about passing on what learning we can give to other planners [and] the strength of the idea, not the sizzle of the creative." This status as idea generators and innovators, he added, makes planners "advertising's R&D department". And, added this year's chair of judges, eatbigfish's Adam Morgan, "agencies don't spend enough time on their R&D".
Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the idea that we are 'typical'.
Two seemingly unrelated things happened recently that made us a feel a bit worried. Firstly, a young planner was telling us why she enjoys working on digital stuff more than TV. "Of course, people spend lots more time online these days than watching TV," she said. We pointed out that the data shows that people spend a lot more time watching TV. "Oh, I don't believe that" she said, "I mean I don't…"
The waters of social media may be muddy, fast-moving and full of contradictory crosscurrents, but I'm sure we can agree on one thing: that being friends with brands is bullshit.
This isn't just semantic nitpickery. A focus on 'friends' implies a flaw in a brand's social media approach, such as trying to 'own' consumers on branded presences, rather than encouraging conversation and advocacy further afield, or treating clicks on Like and Follow buttons as meaningful metrics and goals. As for consumers, our early, indiscriminate enthusiasm for social networking is taking a more strategic shape. From Ex's we're bored of stalking to brand groups we joined solely to scoop a freebie, we're weeding fake friends out by the trowel-load. We were never really interested in what your CEO had for lunch and, nowadays, we won't even pretend.
Great crowd at Warc Neuro evening at Kings college #warcneuro http://t.co/t8TRSPIR53
Thom Noble: neuro research helps marketers capture those 'tingle down the spine moments' for customers. #warcneuro
Thom Noble: audio marketing is tragically underdeveloped, but neuroscience can help test appealing sound for ads. #warcneuro
Prof @drnicksouthgate observes: neuromarketing often reduced to a buzzword: 'implicit', but marketers need to know their stuff #warcneuro
Did you know that VW's wildly successful Star Wars ad was made great by neuroscience? #warcneuro
We're live tweeting today from our neuroscience event at King's College Lodon! #warcneuro
Warc Prize Popular Vote Overall Standings: 3. Draftfcb 4. Mindshare 5.Naked. Vote for your favourite now http://t.co/ZEQZM1rCf1
Warc Prize Popular Vote overall leaders (votes on Vimeo + case downloads on Warc http://t.co/ZEQZM1rCf1) are 1. Leo Burnett. 2. Starcom...Congrats to Starcom, Mindshare and Lowe - early leaders of the video voting in the Warc Prize for Innovation Popular Vote. Back your...