Reflections on #AWEurope

Last Week, the Propeller PR team had the chance to attend Advertising Week Europe, which in just three short years has become a must-attend event for those in the advertising, media and marketing industries.

A wide variety of Propeller clients such as Channel5, DCM, Disneymedia+, 18 Feet & Rising, Forward3D, Somethin’ Else, Trinity Mirror and TubeMogul presented sessions, took part in panel discussions and were interviewed by the media. 

Throughout the week Propeller client Mindshare UK was also an almost ubiquitous presence. UK CEO Mark Creighton and colleagues hosted a debate about politics making the best use of technology. Despite a looming General Election, the question lingers as to whether politicians are too analogue in their approach to technology.

Mark Creighton was joined by Tony Curzon-Price (former) Editor at OpenDemocracy, Rohan Silva Founder of Second Home and Camilla Wright, Founder of Popbitch to debate whether online petitions, social media gaffes and the so-called snoopers’ charter are forcing tech into our halls of power. 

Mindshare’s Huddle Hack sessions also took place at the end of every day with the aim to put attendees’ brainpower towards a good cause – generating a media-based campaign to help homeless people. More to follow on this initiative once the campaign gets launched.

Elsewhere, Somethin’ Else pulled out the big guns and welcomed on stage superstar DJs Annie Mac and David Rodigan to discuss how music can inspire brands to be more authentic and connect to youth culture. Channel 5 was also out in force at the event, with Nick Bampton speaking about disruption and the mind-set people need to become entrepreneurs. Agostino di Falco spoke on the cross-screen summit about the value of organising your cross-screen strategy before monetising it, the branding power of TV and the tricky task of attributing value to TV ads.

In other panel discussions, John Watton, EMEA Marketing Director at Adobe Marketing Cloud shared his view that brands should effectively work with their little data first and then worry about the big data after. Another highlight was Jason Miller, Head of Global Content at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions using entertaining analogies to describe effective content marketing. He said that much like a turkey dinner, good content should be able to be sliced into everything from blog posts and infographics to sales decks and webinars. Jason also amused the AWE audience with his view that content marketing teams should model themselves on rock bands like Kiss, with each member of the group coming together to create a beautiful final product.

In-between the client sessions and general running about, Propeller staff also got to see some famous faces too – of which there were many at Ad Week. We started off the week learning from Alastair Campbell about how winners operate and catching a session on sports reporting with Jamie Carragher, Martin Keown and Sir Clive Woodward. Also in this year’s new venue of St James’ Church, Salma Hayek took her first selfie in a session with Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn; Ben Ainslie discussed his achievements with Sir Martin Sorrell; and Katie Price revealed that she believes she can sell absolutely anything. On the ITV Stage at BAFTA, Richard Ayoade took us through the craft of filmmaking, Jeremy Paxman gave us his verdict on the upcoming general election and Grayson Perry schooled attendees on creativity.

Another real treat was seeing creative and client-side veteran Jimmy Carr interviewed by the inimitable Rory Sutherland – who turned out to be a great sport when the comedian turned his dial up to “character assassination” mode.

On Tuesday, DCM’s screening of the new Cinderella film pulled in crowds of both media and adland types but also their children, to see Kenneth Branagh’s new adaptation.

Rounding off the week, Propeller was invited by the Drum Magazine onto their double decker bus to run our now increasingly infamous ‘Bullshit Bingo’ session that was first aired at Mindshare’s Huddle last November. Ben Titchmarsh, our head of media and marketing, donned a gold 1970s quiz show host jacket supported by glamorous assistant, Amanda Vincent, who called out the bingo numbers associated with media and advertising industry jargon. Attendees enjoyed a drink to finish the week in style and a few lucky participants won bottles of champagne for crossing off words and phrases such as ‘data is the new oil’, ‘Single-stack tech solution’ and ‘modern day Don Draper’. It was a fun way to finish an action-packed four days.

As ever AWE2105 was an awesome week of fun, networking and learning. We’re looking forward to next year’s Advertising Week already!