Brand Safety, Start-ups, Gender Equality and Snapchatting – Day 4 AdWeek Europe 2017

Yesterday I was offered the opportunity to spend some time down at Advertising Week Europe 2017 so that I could Snapchat, Instagram and Tweet the events on behalf of MEC. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the final day of the conference. Between the incredibly influential talks, the controversial debates, the views from the YouTube Red room and the Snap Garden, it was a great day!

My day started with the session ‘If advertising is funding terror, what should we do differently?’, where the CRO of Guardian News & Media, Hamish Nicklin, was joined by the Director of Media and Advertising for ISBA, Mark Finney and the Chief Creative Officer of DigitasLBi, Chris Clarke, among others. They spoke about brand safety and the practices we should and could adopt to ensure the turn toward programmatic doesn’t impede a brand’s reputation.  It was a vibrant and topical talk and set the bar high for the rest of the day!

I then took a trip to the Snap Garden. Along with handing out personal Snap coins to throw in the Snap Fountain (which was designed to look like the infamous rainbow filter) the sales team gave an interactive presentation on the functionalities of Snapchat and how best to use the platform. They even put a picture of one of the MEC grads, Alastair, up on the screen and played around adding filters and lenses to his photograph in real-time.

Following this, I visited the Guardian Stage to learn about ‘The next era of programmatic’. Gavin Johnson, Commercial Director at AOL chaired this discussion which predictably centred on the ‘elephant in the room’: brand safety. The consensus was that the future of programmatic would resemble a collaboration between traditional programmatic targeting, AI and importantly an extended memory of the past – this involves gathering more information on users based on extended life spans of cookie data. Essentially, advertisers will know how we act in the long term, rather than just knowing our recent digital activity – scary!

Next up was a talk hosted by Cosmopolitan, entitled ‘The future of tech and the millennial consumer’. This was an interesting conversation between the founders of three new start-up apps. They were: Robyn Exton, CEO of Her, a LGBT social platform, Daniel Murray, Co-Founder of Grabble, a shopping app and Devika Wood, Co-Founder of Vida, an app that helps the social care system. Each of the founders spoke about the importance of putting the user first (a common theme across the week) and expressed the difficulties they all faced when trying to get investment for their ideas at the very start.

Penultimately I saw ‘I think that worked: measuring the success of Content Marketing’, which was a debate on the value of content and the importance of creating appropriate objectives to measure it. Stephen Miller, Business Director at Mindshare nicely summarised the discussion saying “content is becoming one of the most important” forms of advertising and “content is an opportunity to build familiarity and establish the heart of a brand”. The centrality of creating good content that is fit-for-platform was a theme that came through throughout the discussion.

The final discussion of the day was hosted by Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief Trish Halpin. Entitled ‘The Girlie Show’, the discussion focused on women in work. The panel included Phoebe Gormley, the first women’s-only tailor on Savile Row, Helen Lederer, the English comedian, writer and actress who has appeared in Absolutely Fabulous and MediaCom’s Chief Transformation Office Sue Unerman who is the co-author of The Glass Wall: Success Strategies for Women at Work and Businesses That Mean Business. The panel discussed some damming facts about women in work (one example that particularly resonated is that there are more men called John that run FTSE 100 companies, than women!). The session highlighted just how much further we still must go before we reach true gender equality.

All in all, it was really interesting opportunity to hear from industry leaders at the top of their game and get a deep dive into the controversial topics the industry is talking about. After 8 Snaps, 7 Tweets and 2 Instagram’s, I think I did it justice!

Kelly Stalker
MEC Graduate