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Views from Ad Week: What OOH can learn from the Content Experts….and Tinder

Dan Carey, a Business Director at Posterscope UK, reports from Ad Week Europe.
It seems somewhat ironic that each year Advertising Week Europe comes along, and each year I don’t get to attend quite as many sessions as I would have liked because I’m too wrapped up with the day to day tasks of working in advertising.  It’s like the music fan who misses the headliner at Glastonbury because he’s sitting in his tent listening to Spotify.
The good news of course is that you can stream the content live, but like watching Glastonbury on the BBC it’s not quite like being there.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I want to be in attendance in case Tracey De Groose or Sir Martin Sorrell decide to stage dive into the crowd, as it’s not that kind of gig, but being there to see and hear them speak is always better than watching it behind your computer screen.
So this year I’ve only managed to attend a couple of events, namely Storytellers will rule the world and How smart cities will transform advertising.  Both sessions offered a great insight into the sector I work in (OOH) but I’m going to focus on the storytellers session in this post. What this session in particular made me realise is how OOH, and especially the content displayed within it, needs to start behaving more in the way the businesses of the entrepreneurial women who were on the stage do.
Take Sam Baker for example, her lifestyle website The Pool was created with people’s time pressures, moods and mind-sets at its core, producing content that’s focused, relevant and timely.
Sam and her team understand the pace of the world we now live in and the volume of communications we are bombarded with each day.  Where other sites are throwing click bait at our computer screens to try and tempt us in like a rich man to Panama, The Pool has gone for a less is more strategy. They instead deliver original content that their female audience want, broken down into time stamped chunks to let you know how much of your day it’s going to take up.
It’s a bold move, but a logical one and is something the OOH industry, in particular planners and advertisers can learn a lot from. A consumer’s time is limited, they have messages being thrown at them almost on a second by second basis and they know what they like and what they don’t. Therefore we need to make sure what we plan and what advertisers display, fully understands and embraces this.
Combining all the insights we now have about OOH audience behavior – whether that be physical, social or neurological – we are now in a place where we, like The Pool, should start delivering content that is more focused on individual consumers.
I’m not saying do away with broadcast, as this impact is one of the biggest benefits of OOH, but by combining these audience insights with the growing digital infrastructure in particular, we are now in a better place than ever to truly start delivering personalisation at scale. This will give increasingly selective and sophisticated consumers something that it truly worthy of their time.
It’s kind of like Tinder for advertising, with all the messages consumers receive they can choose to swipe left or swipe right depending on what catches their eye, so brands need to make sure what’s displayed is appealing enough. Appealing enough that consumers want to swipe right, want to communicate, and engaging enough so that in the longer term this initial dalliance is turned into love rather than just a one night stand.  It’s time for OOH to get its flirt on.

Advertising Week 2015 NYC: Attendees from Posterscope UK and USA give their views

Advertising Week 2015 NYC: Targeting the Micro-Moment, Programmatic Planning and a Cross Dressing Robot
By Samantha Brereton, Client Director, Posterscope UK
It’s Monday morning and Times Square is buzzing – but this time it is not just filled with tourists. thousands flock to the many events in the area for the start of Advertising Week USA. AdWeek USA proves Americans don’t do things by halves – it’s like AdWeek Europe on steroids. Now in its 12th year, it operates as a well-oiled machine as brands vie for the attention of marketers with freebies, parties and even job offers (check out MECs ‘Live Hire’ event). Almost four times the attendance of AdWeek Europe and nearly 1,000 speakers make up the eclectic and highly entertaining four day schedule.
Although the programme is busier than its European counterpart, the hot topics and buzz words draw close parallels to our market. Unsurprisingly, the big tech companies start the week with new announcements. Google launched Customer Match which offers advertisers the ability to upload email lists of valuable customers and have these matched to consumers who are signed in to Google platforms such as Gmail, YouTube and Search. This is all part of Googles aim to target “consumers in the micro-moment”. YouTube also announced it would make all ads shoppable and Facebook have launched a new buying platform of TRPs (Target Ratings Points) which aims to make it easier for TV buyers to plan, buy and measure Facebook ads.
What does this mean for OOH? Google knows better than most the value of relevance and personalisation and this is a move to create deeper connections with consumers in the right moment. With 60% of internet time being spent on mobile in the UK this ‘moment’ could very well be happening OOH. New OOH data and mobile partnerships as well as real time DOOH capabilities allow us to tap into this micro-moment like never before. We should closely monitor how the consumer responds to and interacts with this type of personalisation to ensure we can find the right balance to capitalise on this with OOH media. As quoted by Alex Amado, VP of Experience Marketing for Adobe “It’s creepy when you feel like you’ve been targeted–when it’s aggressively personalized is when it’s not of use to the user.” So with OOH we must ensure we create personalisation in a positive way. Utilising the mobile interface is one way to have a one to one conversation with consumers while they are OOH.
YouTube’s push towards shoppable ads across the board is a nod to consumer’s expectations for immediacy. OOH and Mobile get closer to the point of purchase than any other media and shoppable OOH ads are very much possible today. With the proliferation of contactless technology this is only likely to increase in the coming year. New technology will allow us to speed up the process from consideration to purchase with OOH media and therefore could be an area to watch for retail clients.
Facebooks launch of TRP buying seems to be an aggressive move to target lucrative TV budgets. TV spend is still higher that Digital in the US and thus provides a golden opportunity for Facebook to increase profits. In the UK, digital will this year reach over 50% of all ad spend and digital providers will continue to target traditional media budgets. Is this a threat to OOH? I think quite the opposite. £65 million is being invested by OOH media owners into DOOH this year and networks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Its highly likely cross platform/media digital approaches will become much more prevalent moving forward and the OOH industry is in a strong position to take advantage of this.
Content and Data were once again huge areas of focus across the four days, but given they are so well documented, I decided to focus my attention on two alternative areas of interest. The first, which is timely for the UK OOH market, is programmatic. The second is just really cool, albeit scary; artificial intelligence:
Programmatic:
A whole three day schedule of events the ’OMAA Programmatic Display’ was dedicated to exploring the future of programmatic under the headline topic: From Automation To Storytelling: Solving For Display. Programmatic is a huge focus in the USA and there is a real push to extend this beyond the realms of online into more traditional formats such as TV and OOH. Although in its infancy, OOH and TV are already traded programmatically in the US and budgets allocated to this area are set to grow hugely across the board. With the addition of new media in the programmatic space the need for greater cross platform integration rises. There was much debate over whether omnichannel planning is the way forward and although still a fair way off becoming the norm, the general consensus was that type of approach will be needed in the future. As we are on the cusp of launching programmatic OOH in the UK, lessons from the USA point to the crucial need for collaboration with this movement to be spearheaded by OOH and digital specialists alike. OOH planners need to quickly equip ourselves with the skills and knowledge required to earn a seat at the programmatic table.
 Artificial Intelligence (AI):
The final area of focus, and probably the most interesting was a talk from Yasuharu Sasaki, Executive Creative Director at Dentsu entitled “Will AI Disrupt Creativity Produced by Humans?” Many have predicted when the singularity will come. Some say 2030, some 2045 – either way, the thought that AI will surpass the human brain is worrying! In an industry where creativity and innovation is what we do, Sasaki’s hypothesising on whether our jobs will still be needed, or whether human creativity will become redundant had the rooms attention. The good news is, Sasaki predicts human creativity will still very much be needed in the future. But it comes with a warning – robots will soon become incredibly powerful and will be able to learn human creativity so they will likely beat our ‘mediocre’ ideas. But so long as we up our game and strengthen our creativity we will be needed long into the future – after all only human creativity can create new innovations.
Denstu are developing some fascinating AI projects in Japan including Pepper, a robot whose sole purpose is it communicate with and entertain humans and can be purchased for a mere £1,050. Pepper has been bought for personal use as well as commercial becoming the world’s first robot to work in a Tokyo Bank. They have also created a number of products for marketing purposes. Matsukoroid was an AI robot ‘double’ created to look and behave exactly like a famous cross dressing talk show host in Japan. At a cost of around £55k to produce, this stunt created huge amounts of PR and an impressive ROI. IBM Watsons ‘Chef Watson is another example of marketing related AI where the supercomputer learns and creates crazy recipes that the human brain may never have thought of – like chocolate sushi.
So what does this mean for OOH? Posterscope are already exploring AI in posters in the UK with a recent launch of a DOOH site that could learn and adapt to human responses – this allows for greater efficiencies in serving relevant content. But what next? Dentsu are exploring the emotional side of AI and this is something that could have fascinating applications in media. In a time where connecting with the consumer on a personal level is something many marketers are striving for, could we build AI into digital screens or experiential events that could actually interact with consumers on an emotional level giving them a positive but completely individual experience? This is all technically possible today but the question is whether UK consumers are ready for this type of innovation?
My final thought: Advertising Week has just announced the launch of Advertising Week Asia 2016. The UK are years behind Asia when it comes to adopting these types of technologies but it won’t be long until some of the ‘less crazy’ ones appear on our shores. I predict AdWeek Asia will be a conference like no other – where you will see these new technologies and their applications to media first hand. If you are lucky enough to get to AdWeek Asia I’m confident it will blow your mind!
New York Advertising Week : by  Louise Coshan, Supervisor, Account Manager, Posterscope USA
After my taster of Advertising Week earlier this year in London, I was eager to get my name on the list to attend as many events as I could in New York. Having moved to this great City in June, it still surprises me how much of a brands media spend is portioned to OOH advertising in the USA with the medium often being viewed as secondary to the likes of TV, Digital and Print.  We recently saw a YOY increase to OOH media spend, so is this set to change?  With that in mind, I was intrigued to see the trending topics of discussion and what this could mean for OOH planning and buying going forward.
The week kicked off with a splash of red, white & black from the OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) with the launch of their campaign, ‘Feel the Real’.  This was used to target media agencies and planners, whilst making a larger call to the public to engage with the real world.  As well as championing OOH as a real medium that reaches real people to drive significant digital engagement, it was also challenging the media industry to think about ‘How real is digital?’  This campaign demonstrates the impact that OOH sites can have to create engagement and complement digital marketing, especially the growing mobile market.  A great conversation starter for the week ahead, I think.
As we move into the era of ‘audience buying’, understanding a brands audience has become more and more important for all media budgets need to be accountable.  Carat’s insight and in-depth study on ‘The Millennial Disconnect: If you’re Not Winning with Millennials, You’re Just Not Winning’ definitely inspired and made me think how the innovation that is continually evolving within the OOH space could create great opportunities for brands to engage with this hard-to-reach audience.
Carat’s research showed how marketers’ current strategies only effectively reaches 42% of this group, so the “hyper-connected, optimistic, digital extrovert” stereotype that has been associated with all Millennials isn’t the whole picture.
They highlighted that although media and tech has shaped this audience there are several segments that form this audience.  So digital is not the only way this audience want to be spoken to.  We have moved from that Mad Men age, where people trusted a brands message to a time where people work harder than advertising.
We now trust people and their conversation and enjoy being part of it. DOOH now allows brands to broadcast a consumer’s comments and brand experience through photos or social media conversation, and also update a screen through a Live Feed.  This is a great way to build trust through conversation and understand this key audience more and should be a consideration for brands going forward.
While we are on the subject of segmenting audiences, Programmatic was a topic that could not be missed over advertising Week calendar. The OMMA (Online Marketing Media and Advertising) held a 3 day advertising week event dedicated to the subject. The first panel I attended was ‘People, Not Pages: What Does “Buying Audiences” Mean for Media and Marketers?’
This discussion focused on the fact advertisers are now looking to find and buy audiences, data and programmatic technologies and allow this approach to targeting.  Online has always been a strong medium for audience buying.  But, with the access now to more data being heavily supported by mobile, we move to a time where ‘Location is the new cookie’.
With OOH buying being extremely location driven, this is an exciting time to be looking at OOH and DOOH buying as the market begins to evolve and move towards a more flexibility.  This will of course make a time of change for media buyers, planners and owners. But, it’s something all parties will have to embrace to allow OOH to keep up with consumer behavior and their relationship with brands.
Posterscope’s CEO, Helma Larkin, joined the discussion for ‘Automating the Next Frontier’ which focused on Programmatic buying capabilities across multiple platforms.  Programmatic OOH buying is being pioneered by Posterscope at the moment, and we are already seeing brands add multiple touch points to their media plan considering the target audience and timing for a brands messaging.
As well as reaching the right audience at the right time through media placement, creativity will also need to be a part of this to ensure we are adding to the consumer experience making the message as timely and contextual as the media buy. The subject of ‘Ad Blocking’ was a big part of this conversation and the need for a mix of strong creativity and media placement.
If the content delivered is relevant enough, will consumers block brands or welcome their content? Following the Millennial insights that Carat shared the later certainly seems the case and more context will lead to a more trusted market place for consumers.  It seems that there could be certain segments such as the tech savvy millennials that would ‘Ad block’ making it difficult for online to reach these audiences?  Could this be where OOH is considered for brands to cut through the cluttered market and help make digital media become ‘real’ to achieve more effective brand messaging.
John Montgomery, Chairman GroupM, led the discussion for ‘The Rise of the Audience.’  He looked at the future of a market being driven by both digital platforms and a data and how it is moving away from buying just media but audience.  It terms of how this will work for clients and media in the future, Programmatic really is about making the media work harder to deliver the message to the audience.  It shouldn’t be thought of as saving money but fitting into the clients business. There will be some brands that will need to build audience delivery over time still.
My final session at Adweek that I was blown away by, was some of the new technologies and projects that Yasuharu Sasaki, Executive Creative Director at Dentsu shared in his seminar on “Will AI Disrupt Creativity Produced by Humans?”  From seeing Pepper, a Robot that can guess how humans are feeling and responds to emotions based on gestures, to a complete robot replica of a TV Presenter that helped to build their fame and became a celebrity in their own right.
This session left me thinking, ‘what is the art of communication going to evolve to?’ What was once the future, is almost here where screens can deliver a personalized message – ‘Minority Report Style.’ But, is that really what consumers want to see?  Thankfully, Yasuharu did leave me with some reassurance by summing up his discussion with communication. I couldn’t agree more. Having recently been given the great opportunity to move to New York from the UK, I’ve realized now more than ever how important quality-daily communication is to me.
Technology has completely supported my move, allowing me to stay in touch with loved ones in the UK via many platforms.  So, as we wrap up Advertising Week NYC in the traditional media way of enjoying a cocktail at Soho House amongst the chatter of real, face to face, conversation (maybe a social media post to share my activities was involved!). I’m left with the thought, ‘if we can get the mix of data, how we use technology and content as good as my Gin & Tonic, I’m sure we’ll have a happy party of people trusting and enjoying a brand’s conversation.

Advertising for Humans That Works…

Feel The Real is a print ad campaign that drives digital engagement as opposed to other efforts that try to game the system
PNYC, a sibling company to marketing firm Partners & Napier, helped Outdoor Advertising Association of America launch an ad campaign that focuses on real consumer engagement. The campaign, currently running in New York City, directly asks viewers if they have seen the advertisement. Each poster, truck, billboard and window advertisement has a binary code with a website URL encouraging people to participate in an online survey.
The survey, hosted at FeelTheReal.org, is a set of questions designed to determine whether the respondent is a real human being or a digital media robot program. It’s similar in concept to the Captcha form at the end of many online surveys, though the specific questions are different.
The idea behind the FeelTheReal campaign is to expose and investigate the problem of false responses and robotic entries into digital marketing efforts. Since many digital marketing firms get paid according to the number of responses they receive, some aren’t above padding their results with robotic respondents. Even when paid a flat fee, those artificially inflated results can give them an impressive-looking record when looking for additional clients.
big ad
The ad spots are visually stark: black and red lettering on a white background, along with some binary code running along one side. Though its simplicity is a turn-off to some, it actually stands out in the full-color, interactive, busily-blocked landscape that is modern display advertising.
By the end of the website’s survey, individuals can see how much of a marketer’s budget will have real people see it: 8%. The other 92 percent breaks down to fraud, robots and 52 percent may have no visual contact by anyone. Digital marketing companies can take these facts as they want, and marketers have raised awareness of what to look for.
dig ad
The campaign is running strong into winter of 2015, occupying panels and boards throughout New York. Those who answer the survey receive a prize at the end, but we won’t spoil the surprise.
Via: PSFK 

Let's get Ready to Rumble – The industry's view on Posterscope's Adweek session.

Let’s get Ready to Rumble’ was a one-off battle-of-the-brands event hosted by Posterscope to find the creative agency best able to exploit mobile & digital OOH media, fully realising the power and potential to target consumers out of the home. Three agencies, VCCP, Adam&Eve/DDB and M&C Saatchi had ten minutes to pitch their creative digital-out-of-home ideas for the client brand of their choice….and it was the audience that decided the eventual winner was to be Adam&Eve/DDB.
Folowing the session we asked the OOH industry what they thought…
[vimeo width=”300px” height=”200px”]123972937[/vimeo]
 

Adweek – Two Inspiring Sessions, by Jessica Bee

AdWeek 2015 did not disappoint, jam-packed full of opportunities to see fantastic discussions, debates and talks, it was often a head-ache deciding what not to see. Having had the opportunity to attend six sessions; two really stood out for me. Both resonated because they were immensely frank about two (highly different), often whispered, subjects in the advertising industry.’ Behind The Pitch’ spoke openly about the closely guarded and often maligned pitch process  and ‘The Diversity Delusion’ hit head-on the challenges and successes of where our industry stands today in ensuring we create the best work and nurture the best talent regardless of race, sex or age.
Behind The Pitch:
When you think of the Post Office, you think of tradition. As a child going in with unbridled excitement to collect a parcel, as a teen exchanging your tired English notes for a currency you couldn’t pronounce for your first parent-free holiday, or accompanying your granny to laboriously order a book of second class stamps for the yearly Christmas card onslaught. But whilst our notion of this bastion of British society is extremely precious, The Post Office’s approach to pitching their business and indeed their approach to their business itself is as forward thinking as they come. ‘Behind The Pitch’ sought to demonstrate how their pitch process differs and involved the three key stakeholders – The Post Office’s Head of Marketing Keith Gulliver, the agency, DLKW, led by Jamie Elliott and the business consultant Red Salt’s David Meikle, who, when framing the approach, put brilliantly ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got’.
Most of us have worked on pitches; some exhilarating and fast-paced where your best thinking and work come together in total team alignment, some long and heavy-going where the thought of putting another buzz word into a PowerPoint presentation makes you physically twitch, and you haven’t eaten anything that hasn’t arrived in a bag in several months. The Post Office wanted to centre on setting clear goals and a shared process before the work even begun, in order to get the best results and ultimately appoint the right agency for the job. Despite the length of the process (9 months in total), they put clear milestones in the decision process. Starting with the initial RFI involving 10 agencies, which Keith Gulliver put wonderfully as ‘The Goldilocks Test’, and which called for a simple response to understand whether the agencies’ size and outputs were right for The Post Office. This reduced the candidate list from 8 agencies to 5.  The next stage involved a gruelling interview process of challenging questions (including who was the most influential marketeer of the 21st century…). The final part became a real ‘final’, with a small shortlist who could feel that this last major investment in the pitch was worthwhile. All too often agencies can feel like the goal posts shift, but this ensured everyone was clear from the get-go. Jamie Elliot used a great analogy when he said that pitches can sometimes feel like 3 types of relationships – some a one-off physical transaction, some just a short-winded fling and some, like this one, a serious and long-lasting partnership.
This session really highlighted the need for both a moral and business focused ‘contract’ in pitches – for example, The Post Office and Red Salt recognised that part of the pitch would take place over the summer holidays. Therefore, to respect the human investment made in this process, they deliberately avoided setting key deadline during August, so the agency pitch teams could elect to take a break with their families. This set a level of respect between client and agency from the outset.
Another key differential for this pitch process was the fact that the RFP was a live brief. This meant the agencies had to develop real work that answered a real business problem. The Post Office therefore had a proper stake in the pitch – they had to run with the work they chose and to a real deadline. It meant that instead of agencies throwing everything into the ring and hoping something stuck, there was the opportunity to forge the relationship and the work for both the present campaign and also develop long-lasting ways of working.
The panel was open, honest and did not shy away from difficult themes or questions – whether that was DLKW speaking frankly about the chemistry meeting not going well, Red Salt explaining issues of procurement or The Post Office discussing how they worked with Red Salt to help shape the process. Having taken part in a variety of pitches recently, Behind the Pitch re-established to me that at the end of the day we are all human and so are our clients. By humanising the process, we stand to get better, longer-lasting and respectful relations from both sides of the line.
The Diversity Delusion:
Set in the beautiful St James’s Church, ‘The Diversity Delusion’ was chaired by Lopa Patel MBE with an expert panel made up of Tracey de Groose (UK CEO of Dentsu Aegis), Robin Wight (President of Engine), Shelina Janmohamed (VP of Ogilvy Noor) and Professor Binna Kandola OBE. Speaking candidly, they discussed how diversity is being addressed in the advertising industry and particularly how there needs to be more value attributed to difference.
Tracey de Groose kicked off the discussion speaking about gender and women in advertising, sharing the dire statistic that just 6% of creative teams are women and how this can lead to society, portrayed through the lens of advertising, as being distinctly male-biased. Robin Wight, eminent in his fantastic purple coat, explained that to deliver great creative work, there is a necessity to look to the E-S theory and disseminate that the empathising brain (the inherently female brain) is not just needed here but has a larger part to play than the systemising (and more male) one. From a gender perspective in leadership however, there was good news, 5/10 of the leading media agencies in the UK are now run by women, something that was unimaginable even just ten years ago. Whilst diversity from a gender perspective is most definitely WIP, there has been progress made and leaders like Tracey de Groose attest to this.
Moving the discussion to ethnic diversity, there were some shocking statistics on how little multiplicity we actually have in our industry – just 13% of our colleagues are from ethnic backgrounds. From the audience, a comment regarding the seeming ignorance of agencies to the power of the non-white pound raised the extremely pertinent question of ‘why aren’t more agencies creating mixed-background creative and media teams in order to really communicate to this audience?’ Robin Wight who heads up the charity ‘The Ideas Foundation’, dedicated to increasing diversity in the creative industries, explained that we need to ensure that advertising as a career is communicated to younger kids in more diverse schools, so they know what it is and that they can be a part of it before they become shaped and formed for other, perhaps more, stereotypical career paths. He asserted that pre-apprenticeships for 14 year olds enliven kids to get the creative bug and gain the confidence to pursue a career in our sector. Shelina Janmohamed explained that the classic career paths such as law and accountancy may still merit more highly for Asian parents than creative arts.
The entire panel agreed that for an industry rooted in communication, communication was the issue for diversity. Within our agencies, often these subjects are more whispered than shouted about. Great work that is inclusive and diverse needs to be celebrated to prove what we all know – there is huge value in difference.
For two totally different reasons, these sessions made me really reflect, which is often challenging sitting behind your computer with your set routines and ever-growing to-do lists. AdWeek provides an opportunity for all levels and disciplines to get out from behind it and expand your mind, your network or, most probably, both.

Tinder, Toy Story and total stupidity – My first visit to Advertising Week Europe by Dan Carey

With the Adweek Europe festival being a bit like the advertising industry’s Glastonbury, I approached my first ever visit in the same way I’m sure many people will approach that hallowed field in Somerset this June; no not drunk and furious about Kanye West’s inability to play a guitar or wear tweed, but excited about what was about to happen and perplexed about how on earth I was going to see everything I wanted to.
It didn’t start well.  On Monday I had at least four sessions I was determined to attend.  However, after seeing Posterscope – the agency I work for – present an excellent and innovative DOOH pitch battle on Monday morning, the workload back at the ranch compelled me to return to my desk and declare to myself that the sooner programmatic buying came into the world of OOH the better – even if we only ever switched it on during AdWeek.
The ‘Let’s get ready to rumble’ pitch battle was my first taste of Adweek and despite my disappointment that Ant and Dec were nowhere to be seen, I must say seeing three top creative agencies in the form of VCCP, adam&eveDDB and M&C Saatchi deliver three unique ideas that were a mixture of the heroic, the humbling and the hilarious was a brilliant introduction for what was to come.  However the fact I missed the rest of the day left me hungry for more.
My next visit didn’t initially go to plan either.  Being a massive Disney/Pixar fan and having previously worked on their business, I turned up to the Disney Animation Studios Storytelling session on Wednesday full of childish excitement.  This excitement was somewhat quelled however when I was confronted by, and then turned away from, a queue that a festival toilet would have been proud of.
I blame myself really.  I turned up late and I guess I should have known there’d be a large queue as a talk from the guys behind the likes of Toy Story was always going to generate massive amounts of err Buzz….
(Yes that pun did just happen and no you can’t unsee it).
Not put off, I marched on to the local coffee shop and bought a grande frappe squiggly wiggly – a.k.a some mediocre drink I didn’t quite understand – in order to access the free Wi-Fi so I could stream it live.  Unfortunately the internet seemed to be suffering a mid afternoon drought and the stream had pretty much dried up, so I downed the rest of my mocha flocka choca blocka latte and returned back to the streets to get in the queue for Outdoor Plus’s ‘Exploring Outdoor Space’ session with the legend that is Brian Cox.
This time my luck was in.  After doing some rather unsubtle queue jumping (sorry, I blame the caffeine), I managed to squeeze into the room and over the next 45 minutes Brian (first name terms) delivered a talk about our solar system that was fascinating, thought provoking and absolutely inspiring.  If you get the chance to watch the session online then do it, you won’t be disappointed.
I guess the one question could be is what does a talk on the solar system have to do with advertising?  Well other than the fact I was once genuinely asked by a client if it was possible to do a projection on to the moon, probably not a lot.  However that thirst for knowledge, desire for exploration and passion for making new discoveries are three traits that I don’t think any industry, especially creative industries like advertising, could survive without.
After Brian Cox’s brilliant talk I then went on the best roll I’ve seen since Madonna did her backwards stage dive at the Brits, attending great session after great session after great session.  This included Marketing Weeks excellent panel discussion ‘Innovation: A Start Up Frame Of Mind’ where I heard one of my favourite quotes of the week as Huib van Bockel, ex Marketing Director of Red Bull declared that Brand Marketing was becoming like tinder, with people deciding almost instantly whether to engage with your brand or move on to the next one vying for your attention.
I couldn’t agree more.  As consumers become increasingly promiscuous and their brand loyalty continues to aggressively be tested by the flirtations of seemingly younger, sexier, more in your face competitors, it’s vital for brands to constantly evolve in order to survive.  Otherwise they run the risk of thinking they’ve found “the one”, only to discover five minutes later that their presumed life partner has actually just run off with some new brand they’ve flirted with on Facebook.
The excellent sessions just kept on coming after that and my final one I’m going to mention was around creativity and titled ‘Redefining Bravery’.  I think as a starting point I am going to say that I always feel uncomfortable about the term bravery when used in the context of advertising.  I totally accept that some work can be deemed as risk taking, but unless you’re using a rolled up press ad to fend off a terrorist attack, whilst catching a falling baby using a 48 sheet as a crash mat, linking advertising to bravery just makes me feel uneasy.
With that being said, this was still another interesting, original and consistently funny session.  A particular highlight was Ben Tollett, joint Executive Director of adam&eveDDB, who talked about the importance of being stupid in the creative process, advising how stupidity means you’ll take more risks, go with your instincts before your logical brain takes over and makes you far less afraid to fail.  It was an interesting spin on an area that I find particularly fascinating and personally I think he’s right, but then maybe that’s because I’m a bit stupid myself.  As for being brave, well I did once outrun a mugger because his far too baggy trousers fell down, but I’m not sure that counts.
So there you have it, my first visit to the Adweek Europe Festival done and I have to say it was a brilliant experience and one that I would urge anyone to attend if they get the chance, especially those new to the industry.  In fact, it actually made me realize how lucky we all are to work in the industry we do and although I’ll be watching a lot of the bits I missed online, my one regret was that I didn’t get to see more of it live!  Oh and that pun about Buzz Lightyear I said earlier, I regret that too.
As for Kanye, well he was nowhere to be seen either, so let’s just say Adweek 1 Glastonbury 0 and leave it at that.
 Roll on 2016.