Advertising Week Europe, the annual advertising industry event, took place last week with brands, agencies and tech platforms all turning out for four days of talks at Picturehouse Central in London.
Here are some of the key themes that were particularly prevalent at the show, highlighting the challenges that advertisers and marketers are thinking about when planning their campaigns:
1. Six second stories: People are scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds at a seemingly faster rate, all of the time! A number of sessions aimed at creatives focused on the idea of whether you can catch attention and tell a fulfilling story to an audience in just a few seconds. Google's talk 'Once Upon a Time in Adland' showcased the retelling of fairy tales. It was really interesting to see how agencies like BBH and Ogilvy had managed to drive intrigue by using short formats as the window to longer versions of the tale created for other channels.
2. Responsibility in adtech: It was clear GDPR remains a minefield, despite 25th May edging ever closer. The use of data was a hot topic at the show. Many players are leaving GDPR to the lawyers within their companies and there was consensus from publishers that adtech players are sharing contracts that put the responsibility back on them. In a wider discussion on working with adtech players, Jonathan Lewis, Head of Partnerships & Digital Innovation at Channel 4 said publishers have questioned whether they should look at building adtech themselves in order to avoid the challenges of vendors' grey contracts.
3. Campaigns for Feminism: Advertising has always looked to drive change so it was great to attend an Ad Week where the centenary of women's suffrage was celebrated. Stylist Editor in Chief, Lisa Smosarski hosted a fireside chat with Helen Pankhurst, the granddaughter of Syliva Pankhurst, and women's rights activist. It was debated whether brands should jump on the bandwagon around celebrations like International Women's Day if they're not always overtly backing feminism but ultimately it was decided that advertising plays a key role in creating change in how women are viewed.
Overall this year's Advertising Week Europe covered a whole range of issues facing the ad industry, and provided plenty of food for thought. This event is continues to be an invaluable opportunity for the advertising community to share best practice and ideas. That said, given my diary last week, I'm glad it's only once a year...
The rise of ad-free video services might have re-tuned the brains of an entire generation to be less receptive to advertising in and around content. That was one of the views at Advertising Week Europe, in a session that examined the commercial and branding opportunities for streaming services.