I find that Late night feeds, or dancing to Harvest Moon by Neil Young with my 12 day old baby – third girl – are when I’m at most creative currently and it’s when I decided to write this piece.
Earlier this week we ended what was, in my opinion, the most innovative, inclusive, bold, daring and brave Festival of Media Global in its 12 year history.
From the agenda to the awards juries and to the format and experiential nature of the event we did something that was completely different to other events in the sector for the global media and marketing community.
Building an event around the here and now with one eye on the next 12 months and beyond we created something that not only provided inspiration and education for the worlds most innovative and biggest spending brands, but also allowed media owners, tech companies and agencies – more on this group later – to generate new business, showcase new initiatives and ultimately spend quality time with these brands and help those pitching from Adidas and Shell to Mondelez and Mars understand what, where and with whom they need to spend their marketing budgets with.
This was complemented by an agenda that boasted more than 58% of female speakers, 85% of brand speakers, and opening keynotes that explored everything from disability and mindfulness to purposeful brands and the role of humanity and culture in the marketing mix.
Continuing this inclusive theme there were three judging juries made up of jurors from around the world presiding over the world’s best media campaigns, which rightly celebrated global excellence.
And if that was not enough we reimagined how a conference and awards ceremony should look with a brave and bold format that had creativity and experiential at its heart. (See the video above) and will undoubtably be replicated by ourselves and other events.
It’s no wonder the feedback to the event has so far been equally as effusive as my words here, but as with all things everything can be improved and developed.
What was interesting was to hear the global media directors of numerous brands, and in particular those with their global media accounts out to pitch, comment there were not that many agency folk at the event. One went as far as to say it was disappointing not more agency folk from their incumbent and potential new agencies were at an event where they were present to be educated and inspired, and engaged with.
Needless to say they took full advantage of a number of qualified meetings, courtesy of our FOM Connect programme, to understand new technologies and ideas presented by platforms and media owners. And these companies really produced ROI as they had meetings which had real purpose and delivered business results.
It was great to see everyone from the likes of Bloomberg and The Washington Post To Spotify and Snapchat immerse themselves in the event, while there can only be disappointment – particularly those who didn’t come who insist they only want to attend events to engage with brands – want from those who didn’t come and take advantage of an event that gives access to engaged global brands willing to listen and talk, and crucially opportunities to win their business and meet their marketing and media needs.
As for surprises it’s was certainly the drop in the number of agency folk – compared to other years – particularly as 45% of the audience were made up of global senior decision making brands. Those that did come managed to gain a greater insight of exactly what brands want from their pitches, what they are doing internally and how they want to work with agencies.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the changing agency model and the relationship between agencies and clients, the evolving media landscape and a change of direction in terms of where they spend their budgets. Either way for anyone who didn’t turn up at Festival of Media Global it was a real shame as the plan of turning it into an event curated by and for brands based around their educational needs really came to fruition.
Most pleasing was the openness of the first two non industry speakers on day one whose honesty, humility and real human issues set the tone for the most transparent and engaging Festival of Media to date. It was a historical few days changing the face of events in the sector.