What were the highlights from Advertising Week Europe 2022?

Live industry events were a distant memory during the pandemic. 

Webinars and online forums are valuable tools. But they don’t quite capture the magic of the real thing. 

Things are looking much brighter now. Advertising Week Europe (AWE) made its triumphant return to Piccadilly’s Picturehouse Central in May. And you could see how much it meant. 

Business is powered by knowledge and networking. And AWE provides ample opportunities for both. Keynote speakers discussed all of the pressing post-pandemic issues – from the current state of advertising to the new consumer behaviours and expectations brands should be wary of. 

We were thrilled to be able to send the team down to explore. This was an unrivalled opportunity to connect with peers and attend sessions rich with valuable content – and to see Propeller’s Director of Content, Branwell Johnson, live in action. 

Here’s what they found. 

Kate Chaundy, Propeller Group’s Client Services Director, was intrigued by the innovative ways agencies are leveraging audio channels. 

“Great session by Fresh Air Productions on the power and effectiveness of podcasting as a channel for developing more meaningful relationships between brands and consumers. It was really interesting to hear the direction Iress has taken in producing bold, edgy audio content in financial services and how that empowered it to stand out from the crowd.”

Saamiyah Khan, Account Executive at Propeller Group, enjoyed a session featuring NABS and Brixton Finishing School assessing what underrepresented talent needs to thrive in the advertising industry. 

“This panel shared some fantastic insights on how the ad industry can become a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming place. NABS’ research found that there are a multitude of issues in the industry when it comes to supporting marginalised individuals. What I enjoyed specifically about this discussion was the range of knowledge and approaches from each of the speakers. Ally Owen, founder of Brixton Finishing School shared some insights as to how her programme prepares talent to enter the advertising world, but also on the flip side, pointed out that integrating D&I KPIs to ensure employee retention is pivotal as it holds businesses accountable. Forward-thinking and actionable insights like these are vital to ensure the advertising space remains progressive and I’m grateful to have learned some really interesting approaches to help keep diversity at the forefront of the agenda.”

Georgie Power, Propeller Group’s Associate Director, attended Bauer Media Group UK’s session. “Driving brand awareness and conversion are common objectives for marketing initiatives and campaigns,” she said. “But are most of us forgetting about The Missing Middle – which Bauer Media Group UK highlighted at AWE in a discussion on the importance of brand consideration and the power of authentic and aspirational content – citing the famous Wickes and Grazia partnership as an example.”

Jordan Sinfield, PR intern at Propeller Group, had his first chance to experience adland in the flesh at AWE. 

“The panellists had an open and honest conversation about what needs to be done to improve Diversity and Inclusion in the next three to four years in our industry  – exploring how businesses can realistically achieve change.  There’s no point setting decade-goals – KPIs set when it comes to D&I need to be reviewed yearly.”

It’s The Taking Part That Counts

Branwell Johnson didn’t need to be told twice to leap into the AWE spotlight. 

His years as a journalist meant that hosting ‘Catching the Spark: Conversations with Journalists – Reporting On Innovation’ was a walk in the park. This discussion put some of the UK’s leading editorial minds on the spot, with conversations focussed on which pieces of innovative content hold their interest – and why others are thrown by the wayside without a second glance. 

Branwell spoke to Laro O’Reilly, Media and Advertising Editor at Insider, Seb Joseph, Senior News Editor at Digiday and Omar Oaks, Editor at The Media Leader. The discussions centred around: 

  • Proactive pitching: too many pieces are reactionary and try to boost a client’s reputation – publications need to know why their readers are going to be engaged
  • The Metaverse conundrum: publications are interested in breaking new ground – but the metaverse’s lack of definition risks fatigue setting in.
  • New PR relationships: Zoom has made interactions slightly more functional – but the need for give and take remains. 

This session cemented our status as a leading PR, Content and BD agency. It won’t be long before we take to the stage once more. 

You can register for free to watch our ‘Catching the Spark’ session for a limited time only here

The Only Way Is Up

AWE was a welcome return to normality. It was a chance to meet, learn – and drink – with prospects, peers and rivals alike. And there are more opportunities for connection ahead. 

A glance at this year’s calendar reveals a host of live events still to look forward to. Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival is right around the corner and MAD//Fest is on the horizon in July. You can be sure that you will see a strong Propeller presence at both.