As the curtain draws to a close on the final day of Advertising Week Europe, we take a look back at the absolutely mammoth amount of talking that has occurred over the past four days. It’s amazing how, with so much going on, there were a few core themes that managed to weave their way through every talk.

It was great to see a strong outdoor presence with plenty of people talking about digital outdoor, particularly in Mindshare’s Huddle Hack. The Hack was a week long series of sessions aimed at producing a creative tech solution to help tackle homelessness in London and the majority of ideas put forward used DOOH, including the winning idea which will see Clear Channel help modify bus stops to create mobile charging points. You can watch the final pitches here.

Across the week there were three key themes that stood out to us – Collaboration, Creativity and Technology. These words have to be the most consistently used throughout the week, we take a look now at each of these themes and discuss what we have learnt.


Moving to a full service agency model (even creating bespoke agencies for large clients), breaking down silos and the need to all work together were common talking points. Whether that be simply across departments, or across companies but all working together towards the goal of producing the best service for clients. Whilst ideas like this are great, we can only hope that these sentiments will be taken to heart by all those in attendance this week, and that in the coming months we will start to see some of these inspiring words being put into action.


Industry leaders from across the creative landscape shared some of their most famous work and gave insight into the creative process behind the scenes. The thing we heard over and over again was to keep moving, keep experimenting and don’t be afraid of taking risks. At the heart of the creative experience is the person, and that we should not lose sight of this in the quest to find a ‘great’ idea.


As a company with creative technology at our heart it was interesting to hear what other people had to say about it. It was reassuring to hear that our views were shared across the industry, with the general consensus being that you shouldn’t overshadow a good idea with technology – the story or idea has to come first and the technology is just there to support and enhance it. Something we try to bring to every project we work on, so it was great to hear people preaching this message.

High Points: Apart from expanding our minds with the many inspiring sessions, seeing the smiling faces (despite the rain) of all the Advertising Week Europe staff and the free Pick ‘n’ Mix courtesy of Google…

Low Points: Having the “Epic Strut” now burnt into my brain after seeing it countless times at the start of every session.

Here’s to taking all that we have learnt over the past four days and putting it into practise . . . it’s going to be an exciting journey!

The second day of Advertising Week Europe and I went along to the Entrepreneurs Unleashed Session on the YouTube stage.

Four agencies (Albion, CP+B, Redscout and 72 & Sunny) were brought together to tell us how they “Dare to Dream” so naturally they began by talking about why they started up their agencies.  A few main reasons emerged: a feeling of frustration at the big agency process, they wanted to focus on what they wanted to deliver rather than delivering what the market felt it needed, they wanted to focus on their core strengths and finally they wanted to push the industry forward despite any mistakes they might make on the way.

The discussion turned to what an agency looks like in today’s world.  They felt that most agencies don’t tolerate standing still, they’re committed to keeping things moving and experimenting is often what helps to push the creative work further forward.  Looking back is clearly not a useful thing to do in this industry and they talked of ‘ignoring the rear view mirror’.  Another tip was to begin each New Year as though you were starting in a new job and to keep your momentum up – it’s key to success.

The panellists were full of advice including:

Despite all the very useful stuff, I felt that it was a shame that they didn’t talk at all about production, media or technology partners who make up their virtual team and could help or hinder success.

I also felt that they all had strategies for selecting and nurturing their own talent but didn’t offer any comment on selecting and nurturing relationships with partner suppliers.  These relationships are too critical to overlook or underestimate and it would have been useful to hear their views on the best way to manage them.

Next up on the YouTube stage was Bridging the Innovation Gap: Partnering Tomorrow’s Tech with Today’s Brands. 

 Sarah Wood, Co-Founder of Unruly told us about the challenge of scaling to multiple markets, especially when, even at 200 people, they see themselves as small.  She said that it was important to give staff autonomy, stay true to the reasons why you started and (the best advice of all) have a kitchen table!  I imagine that many important decisions would get made around it . . . .

Then things got really heated as the “Tech Factor” competition fired up.  There were 3 competitors who were Hashtag’d (a self-service platform that lets brands and agencies run cross-network social campaigns), (a very cool video comment and share tool for all video platforms) and Verticly (a platform for offering actionable brand engagement from advertising via mobile).  They had 4 minutes each to pitch followed by an immediate vote for a winner . . . if you don’t want to know who won look away now and watch the whole session here:

For those who do want to know… Verticly won!

Almost half way through the week and it’s been very interesting so far.

It was thoroughly enjoyable and very nice to hear an agency (Starcom Mediavest) celebrate a culture of needing partners to help service clients.


DOOH seemed to take centre stage on Day 1 of Advertising Week 2015 with a number of events having it at their core.

First up was the intriguingly titled “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble! £100k Giveaway!”. VCCP, Adam & Eve and M&C Saatchi were invited to see who could deliver the best out-of-home pitch. Billed as a “one off battle-of-the-brands event” to find the agency “best able to exploit mobile & digital media, fully realising the power & potential to target consumers OOH”. We could hardly turn down that opportunity could we?

A quick introduction from Paul Bainsfair of the IPA and then an overview by Claire Beale of Campaign the pitches began. You can watch a replay of the event here. However, if you don’t have time here is our top-line summary.

Jim Thornton of VCCP talked about a digital IED blast and the need to raise funds to build a Defence National Rehabilitation Centre for those hurt by the real things. The idea was that iBeacons would be used to send texts to those within range with a custom message relating to their proximity to the blast zone.

Then Richard Brim of A&E DDB talked about a tweet to #GetLayaMoving an initiative to help a severely disabled little girl get a new wheelchair. Tweets would move an animation of Laya across the screen with the aim of getting her to the other side.

The final pitch came from David Bedwood of M&C Saatchi and was very different from the first two. He chose Posterscope as their brand/client and presented five concepts showing how DOOH can be used . . . very irreverent and not to be taken seriously.

Posterscope’s CEO presented a £100k cheque to Richard Brim and then even agreed to donate an additional £25,000 to the National Rehabilitation Centre idea pitched by VCCP. She said: “We should get more creatives involved earlier to generate invigorating and exciting ideas like these.”

Next was “Out of Home Never Out of Context” which was introduced and chaired by Naren Patel, CEO of Primesight

I was expecting a debate and got one to a certain extent, but there was more consensus than disagreement on the panel, particularly on the fact that technology supports a great idea – it doesn’t take anything away from it. If the idea or story is right then the tech simply enhances it.

You could look at it this way: storytelling started with a pen and paper, then the typewriter came along, then computers and now we are entering a new era of storytelling. This is the implementation of technology that driving storytelling and creative execution to the next level. There are stories of people running from movie theatres when they first saw a moving image of a train coming towards them – DOOH might not get people running away but it can certainly provide that ‘WOW’ moment.

The panel went on to discuss what a great idea should have at its core – the person and the context. And of course we should always consider how the use of technology can enhance the whole story and not just use it for its own sake.

Ann Wixley of OMD suggested that agencies should set up a trial ‘pot’ for experimentation to ensure protected space for pushing creative ideas. She said that good technology is something that either gives the audience something magical (as in the Lynx angel augmented reality activity or the more recent Disney SideShadow work) or something useful such as Google outside – it should be contextual and relevant.

Andy Tilley CSO of Talon agreed on this point saying that factoring audience mindset and location for context is exactly the resonance we should seek.

So ultimately planning and collaborating will be key going forward. The panel agreed, and so do I, that achieving true collaboration will mean tackling one brief at a time but critically doing it together.

“What Data can DOOH for Us Today” saw Adam Cherry at Liveposter, discussing the fact that DOOH is now worth a third of all OOH spend – giving a huge 4 billion impressions a week. Despite this only 6% of advertisers use data strategically which strikes me as the biggest flaw in the medium’s progress – after all, as Adam went on to say, latest research by Liveposter shows that dynamic is 3 times more memorable than linear. Surely now is the time to put data closer to centre stage. We have the tools, such as OpenLoop, to analyse and deliver in real time so let’s use it to target and ensure that work is more measurable and effective.

There was a discussion about media agencies and whether they were buyers or consultants. Panelists talked about specialists and specialisms within their agencies and how collaboration should work to achieve fewer silos. Interestingly there was no talk about how they (most of the panel) would work with specialist companies outside their units or how they would nurture those relationships with agile partners. I believe there’s further discussion to be had on this as strong partnerships in DOOH have already got a track record in delivering successful campaigns.

We were interested in “Augmented Creativity: Man Vs Machine” where we heard how, despite technology changing the rules of the game, creativity still have to connect to something of the human experience. For us in DOOH this session served as a reminder that we’re delivering messages to real people so we have to remember that their reaction is our main focus and we should always use technology in a way that human beings can respond to.

So it was a lively day and one that shone the light on OOH and DOOH – it was great to see us being given such prominence in the programme.

Whilst everyone agreed that there was a richer mix available in OOH now in terms of digital stunts, dynamic creative and traditional formats, there is not much articulation of what the mix should look like for optimum effectiveness. There was also agreement on the fact that dynamic DOOH creative should be the new normal and it feels like DOOH has the feature set of a medium for now and the future.

Now for the rest of the conference…