Six Learnings from Advertising Week London 2017

Advertising Week is always a blend of insights, education, discussions and discourse on what is relevant as the marketing world shapes and reshapes around us in real time. For one week, the brightest leaders from the marketing, advertising, technology and entertainment industries join together in London to share their visions, passions, and best practices. From seminars and workshops led by some of the greatest minds in the industry by day, to world class entertainment in London’s most iconic venues by night – Advertising Week Europe’s premier roster of events is like no other.

Trying to draw out any unifying themes from a conference as big as Advertising Week Europe is difficult. With six stages featuring almost uninterrupted content over four days, no two people will come out at the end with the same insights.

I immersed myself in the festival, and here are some of the learnings I would like to share from the storm of thought-leadership and buzzwords:

  • The fight against today’s inconvenient truth

The truth can be inconvenient, particularly when it challenges the politics, economics and societal functions of our daily lives. But for Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, the truth – one that places humankind in the midst of the worst climate crisis in recorded history – is also devastatingly undeniable.  During Advertising Week Europe, he talked about the important topics of sustainability, climate change and his new documentary movie, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”.

  • TV is still unrivalled in terms of building fame for brands

When marketers look to tell their stories and deliver better advertising across multiple screens, they need to consider the entire video ecosystem through a single lens: that of Total TV.  If you have missed our EMEA MD Jana Eisenstein at the panel last week, you can watch the full video here now.

  • Diversity

The discussion of gender was a key theme featuring in multiple panels from the industry’s most successful leaders. The consensus throughout the week seemed to emerge that the industry’s focus on diversity should start in schools and work all the way up to boardrooms.

  • The Next Generation

The generation currently in their teens were a hot topic throughout the week, particularly with all the talk of Snapchat and other social platforms. When it comes to brands it’s clear that Generation K (or D, or whatever they end up being called) demand absolute authenticity. They know when brands’ claims are backed up by action and will not tolerate deception, but they appreciate honesty, such as clear labelling when some products use GM ingredients while they transition to GM-free sources.

  • Ad Blocking

Ad blocking raised its head throughout the week, although the arguments on the subject are all getting very well-rehearsed now.

  • Creativity

Ogilvy's Rory Sutherland talked about creativity as something that shouldn't be commoditised. Creative agencies are geared up to do one thing: to turn human insight into a business or social benefit. As the industry, we can and should use this talent to produce communications, build brands and create untold value. The main focus was on the fact that nobody’s ever really discovered a formula or theory for creating good advertising.

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