I’m sure you’re all aware that London recently played host to AWEurope. The five-day event is sited in and around BAFTA 195, Piccadilly. If you’re not au fait with Advertising Week Europe it’s essentially an epic week of inspiring talks and debates interwoven with parties and networking opportunities. The Lighthouse Company runs the event & their Founder & CEO Kathleen Saxton had a warm presence throughout the week. Naturally DHP were delighted to be involved; we had a team filming PPA events in Studio B all week!
Though there were many thought provoking events, to name a few; Google’s backing of British innovation (and the lounge pictured above), Paddy Powers alternative England shirt presented at Ronnie Scott’s, Oliver James & Gok Wan’s thoughts on authenticity and Mashable & Vice offering their ideas on creating engaging content and online trends.
My personal highlight was David Droga hosting his influencers, Sir John Hegarty, Steve Henry & Dave Trott at the Andy 50 session on Bravery in Advertising. As we entered the BAFTA Princess Anne Theatre we were issued numbered Andy 50 cards. David Droga then told us that members of the audience would be selected at random to speak on Bravery at the end of the talk. This was a potent method of keeping an already intrigued audience captivated throughout (except for one member of the audience who ‘bravely’ snuck out before the end).
The question set afore the speakers – ‘How does bravery define great work?’
Bravery was outlined as the action of creating work that pushes boundaries and will ultimately stand the test of time. A point that Sir John Hegarty immediately picked up on as he explained that replacing ‘bravery’ with ‘excitement’ is more affable with clients when seeking approval for bolder projects. Steve Henry touched on the ethical parametres of advertising. ‘Consumption is bad, advertising is about fuelling consumption. So where does that leave advertising?’ Henry held Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan as a brand vision that is getting it right.
This sentiment links closely with Sir Martin Sorrell’s retort to Helen Goodman’s (the UK Shadow Minister for Culture) accusation of ‘excessive marketing’ as a factor to blame for the 2011 riots. He used David Ogilvy’s Mantra that ‘the consumer is not a moron’ to show that the appreciation of freedom of choice and audience respect must remain at the core of advertising.
Sir John Hegarty concluded that as the agency merely makes recommendations during the creation of great work it is the client who is truly ‘Brave’. David Stott took this point further stating that there lies bravery in those who provide context for the work; the Account Managers. Reminiscing of a time when great account men would excitedly talk about how they would sell the latest project – ‘you clear the trees, we’ll land the helicopters’. In his early days, when selling ‘brave’ work, he held close the mantra ‘you lose some, you lose some’. Indeed if you’re not going to be brave in your work then why not just ‘crank it out and f**k off early’. One audience participant touched on authenticity; if bravery is conscious is it really brave, or only brave in hindsight?
In a nutshell digital is now at the core of advertising but it was reassuring to hear throughout the week that innovation and originality will remain at the core of great work. In News Room Studio B the PPA showcased exceptional advertising solutions from some of the UK’s leading magazine brands. During the week representatives from Immediate Media, Haymarket, Future, Time Out, Stylist and Condé Nast’s WIRED revealed the multitude of cross-media options currently available to advertisers, and provided a key insight into future innovation. Once the project is live we will give you a full overview of the PPA events that DHP covered.
The Microsoft party at Koko was a great way to wrap up a fantastic week thank you all!