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Everything you need to know from Advertising Week Europe 2014

6 min, 51 sec read
13:40 PM | 9 April 2014
by Jim Compton-hall
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We were very lucky to be invited along to Advertising Week Europe 2014 (AWE). During the week a host of panels, talks, and other events took place aimed at inspiring and imparting knowledge to the thousands of attendees. People from all over the advertising, marketing and media industries soaked in as much knowledge they could: creatives, account executives, media planners, CEOs, producers, directors, media owners and hundreds of students.

We’ve covered AWE on the FutureRising Twitter feed so if you’ve been following us, you no doubt saw our updates throughout the week. But in case you missed anything, here’s everything you need to know about Advertising Week Europe.


1. Bravery

Without doubt bravery was the number one trend of AWE 2014. It came up in 80% of the talks we attended. Seriously, that’s not an exaggeration. If the speakers didn’t mention it, the audience would, almost without fail, ask about bravery or risky work. And of course all this culminated in an incredible talk from Dave Trott, David Droga, John Hegarty and Steve Henry all about bravery.

Coupled with a lacklustre opinion of current UK advertising during the week, we’re hoping this is the start of some really awesome work to come from London. But there’s a big difference between talking about it and doing it. At the very least, if you start being brave with your portfolio, your job applications and your ideas, the advertising industry will want you.

2. Branded content

There were lots of talks about branded content. This may signify even more brands moving away from traditional advertising and looking to produce content instead. We’ve already seen loads of this in terms of viral videos but the industry may be turning towards bigger things. Before too long we may start seeing branded sitcoms on TV or fully branded drama series playing out online.

So creatives, account planners and media planners out there may want to look into cool ways to utilise branded content. Agencies will definitely take not if you think of some interesting ideas.

3. Start with why

This wasn’t exactly a trend but an important piece of advice that came up more than once. If you’re looking for a point of difference to promote, don’t start with what you’re doing, start with why. Not what does the product do? But why was the product created? Probably through dissatisfaction with other products which leads you to an interesting story about the product that is full of unique and personal values.

This may help you when building your portfolio or starting out in a job. Starting with why is a good way to build brands, fuel creative ideas and reach audiences.

Our picks

There were loads of inspiring talks at AWE. So many that we didn’t get to see them all. You can watch most of them over on AWE’s website but if you’d like to narrow it down a bit, here’s our favourites.

1. ANDY 50: Defining Bravery

It’s not often you get to see Dave Trott, David Droga, John Hegarty or Steve Henry talk so think how rare it is to see all four of them on stage together. A phenomenal hour and well worth your time to watch. It was probably the most inspirational talk of the entire week. Watch ANDY 50: Defining Bravery.

2. Creative Carousel/Creatives Without Borders Or Boundaries

I’ve cheated here and put two talks in. But both were similar and it wouldn’t feel right to keep one and eliminate the other. If you want to see a series of great work, watch these talks. Creative Carousel is the most entertaining but the other shows a variety of work from around the world that you probably wont have seen before. Watch Creative Carousel and Creatives Without Borders Or Boundaries.

3. Tell me a bedtime story

And an underdog grabs third place. Everyone knows how important story telling is in advertising. This talk by Daniel Zeff, CEO of Evidently, shares eight really useful story telling insights gleamed from children’s books. Loads of examples show how key they can be to producing great work. Oh and the former CMO of Unilever is reduced to reading children's books – great watch. Watch Tell Me A Bedtime Story.

Top three agencies

Let’s face it, for many, AWE was just a big attempt to promote their media channel or agency. So which agencies do we desperately want to work for or with after seeing them? And which media channels are we looking to give all our clients’ money too?

Not all agencies were necessarily out for self-promotion but some still made us think “Wow, I never realised how amazing they were”. Some because of the inspiring people giving the talks and some because we got insights into an agency’s culture and the great ways it works.

1. Karmarama

The agency behind the great advertising for AWE were repaid with much exposure. Dave Buoginidi, CCO of Karmarama had his own talk and appeared in a number of panels meaning we got hear a lot about what makes the agency so bloody amazing. Those who love awards need not apply.

2. Crispin Porter + Bogusky

ECD Matt Gooden made a great impression at Monday’s Campaign Creative Exchange and on Wednesday, other members of CP+B from around the world inspired us with great work from outside of the UK. CP+B also threw an awesome party during the week that a few lucky AWE goers managed to get invites for. Here I got up on stage, made a fool of myself and won an umbrella with lights on it, had a panda hit me in the chest after being fired out of a cannon and shook hands with the great Chuck Porter.

3. MediaCom

MediaCom were definitely the top media agency there. They featured in a number of talks but our favourite was Innovation.Media where Chief Strategy Officer Sue Unerman shared the stage with PHD, Starcom and Zenith Optimedia and still managed to shine.

Top three media channels

All media channels were at the top of their game at AWE. Google provided a handy lounge with constant snacks, plenty of plug sockets and a bunch of Chromebooks. Digital Cinema Media gave us an early screening of The Raid 2 (complete with some live fighting from the cast before hand). And Microsoft let us play Forza and gave everyone some revolutionary water bottles. But our top three have to be the following.

1. ITV

ITV sponsored the biggest stage in the event plastering a giant Aleksandr the Meerkat across the Princess Anne Theatre at Bafta. But really it was a well made montage of famous adverts that inspires us to make TV ads and buy space on ITV.

2. News UK

News UK set up an awesome venue, dished our plenty of food and served Monmouth coffee. And if that wasn’t enough, they provided loads of material about why print is still a great medium and how it can work well with Twitter.

3. Baby Cow Productions

Not so much a media channel as a media producer but offering some exciting media opportunities none the less. Henry Normal, CEO of the production company behind Alan Partridge, Moone Boy and Philomena, gave a talk where he pleaded for more companies to get involved in branded content and product placement. The possibilities for a branded TV show are endless and could create waves.

All in all Advertising Week Europe 2014 offered up great chances for learning, being inspired and meeting new people. There are many insights to be gleamed for industry folk all across advertising, marketing and media but there's just as many for students and young people.

Keeping on top of the trends can help you impress employers, watching the talks will keep you informed, helping you to produce better work and understand which agencies are doing well at the moment will help you make the right choice when applying for jobs.

And despite, in this case, all the videos being available afterwards, it's also important to attend events like this when you can. Everyone is up for a chat and you could meet someone who'll give you an opportunity.

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