News & Views

The Future of Advertising in One Afternoon / An event write-up

by Contagious Team

An eclectic mix of speakers lit up London's Bafta on Thursday by defining 'The Future of Advertising... In One Afternoon'

The event - co-hosted by the APA, Contagious and the IPA - provided a whistle-stop tour of the most important trends and technologies affecting our industry, with top agency bods on hand to provide case study examples and explain the most profound shifts in their business models.

After an introduction from co-chairs Steve Davies, chief executive of the APA and Will Sansom, Contagious writer and consultant, Sarah Douglas, managing partner, AMV BBDO stepped up to provide a frank yet rousing assessment of how the digital revolution is encouraging an evolution of the cultural and corporate mind-sets in the world's biggest agencies...

Peter Cowley, former head of digital media at Endemol and now CEO of Spirit Digital Media, took to the stage next and provided some refreshingly pragmatic advice on how to successfully create and monetise content through digital channels. There was fierce scribbling throughout the auditorium as he explained his '10 Tips to make money'...

Beeker Northam, strategy director at Dentsu London, was next to the podium and provided a slightly wondrous insight into the fledging agency's 'Making Future Magic' positioning - showing various projects including a particular Contagious favourite in the iPad Light Painting app, developed with Berg, London. She explained Dentsu's belief that 'If we want to be unconfined in our explorations of media we can't make everything.' The first half of the event was then rounded off with a thorough breakdown of how the Times iPad edition was conceived and created - presented by the newspaper's design editor, Jon Hill and digital development director, Hector Arthur, who explained that 'All of a sudden we are able to engage readers in all sorts of different ways... we're a richer industry as a result.'

Suitably caffeined-up, the audience was then treated to a campaign case study from Tribal DDB creative director Simon Richings, who talked through the agency's immersive - not to mention devilishly useful - 'True Life Costs' website, built for Volkswagen. He explained the rich and carefully constructed site, saying: 'Consumers often equate the quality of the online experience with the quality of the product that's being talked about.' He was followed by Tom Thirlwall, CEO of production company Bigballs and founder/director Luke Taylor who introduced their stunning new interactive football game, I AM PLAYR, which plunges the player into the life of a fictional footballer - sordid affairs and air rifle accidents included... They believe that the premise of building a social game is that 'you are building a service, not a product'.

Jane Bolton, managing director of Picasso Pictures and Nuformer producer Natascha Rooda provided some compelling viewing in the form of a show reel exhibiting the latest in 3D projection experiential advertising. A mouthful this may sound, but we thoroughly recommend that you check out their website to appreciate the full effect (link below). They were followed by Tishna Molla, COO and producer from Power to the Pixel, who discussed the power of cross-media storytelling - illustrated with a juicy Alternate Reality Game (ARG) case study or two...

The penultimate speaker was VCCP head of strategy and innovation, Amelia Torode. She brought to the audience's attention a beautiful analogy by comparing Detroit - a city which failed by working towards one end product with an out-dated model - to the advertising industry, emphasising the importance of growth, change and innovation. Her 'four pillars' to consider are People, Data, Value and Attitude. Things were then wrapped up in a whirlwind fashion by Contagious Insider director Jess Greenwood, who working against the clock, whipped through the most exciting trends and future-facing marketing strategies identified by Contagious in the last six months - illustrated with a gaggle of truly knock-out case study examples.