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Notes from: 'What's Next? 2019'

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Our event, held at Bounce, was a hit (and a ball, and a grand slam).

Chaired by Mark Runacus, co-founder and planning partner, Wax/On, and chair of the DMA, the event opened with an overview of the DMA Awards 2018 Grand Prix winner: Xbox Design Lab Originals: The Fanchise Model.


DMA Grand Prix 2018

Xbox Design Lab Originals: The Fanchise Model

Nicky Bullard, chairman and CCO, MRM/ McCann

Sailesh Jani, managing partner, McCann London

Nicky and Sailesh discussed the behind-the-scenes work on their award-winning campaign – which took an astounding two years from start to finish.

Their key learnings:

  • It’s important to keep your idea alive, while being flexible to builds and improvements
  • The relationship between team mates is crucial
  • Build a team of experts – this will help you get a well-rounded picture, and create behaviour changing ideas
  • Respect your teammates and hear everyone out
  • Delegate – just know who is balancing which plates

Check out their award-winning campaign case study here.


Insight for 2019, from our DMA 2018 Judges

Firas Khnaisser, head of decisioning, Standard Life

Luis Navarrete Gomez, senior search manager, LEGO

Caroline Parkes, head of strategic consulting, RAPP

Charlie Wilson, chief creative officer, Ogilvy

Next up, Mark introduced a few of the 2018 DMA Awards Judges to find out how they judge awards. The key takeaway: create work that gives the judges goose-bumps, and you’re in.

Judges also expressed excitement over brands being brave and taking a stance on issues – think Nike, or the British Army campaign.

When asked what will dominate work in 2019, opinions were mixed. Brexit came out on top – in fact, brands have already started to make the contentious topic interesting and light-hearted.

They also see huge change coming in the different ways we engage with customers; kids are engaging more and more with digital personal assistants, and that will only increase. The judges expressed interest in seeing how targeting and use of data effects these interaction in the near future.

There was also talk of a ‘value vs values’ mindset taking over, with customers expecting a to get real value from sharing their data with brands – and questioning whether they’re really getting it.

Data-enhanced creativity also made an appearance as the judges discussed how advertising still needs the human consumer insight that appeals to the emotions, but this can be amplified even further with data.

A lot of food for thought from our impressive panel.


Creativity = data + imagination + empathy

Sue Unerman, chief transformation officer, Mediacom

Sue’s recipe for creativity starts with a good mix of personality types.

Think of the Avengers: each one of them is different from the other, and it’s their differences that make them brilliant.

Data is increasingly being used to position products and offers and finding when customers are most receptive to advertising messages.

Did you know there’s a correlation between searching for prosecco and searching for sensitive toothpaste? Well, there is, and data lets us delve into these insights and use the facts in new and interesting ways which can stimulate the imagination a little more.

True creativity is the result of data, analysed and interrogated, a healthy dose of imagination, and empathy.

When mixed just right, you’ll reap the benefits.


Emotions Matter

Parry Malm, CEO, Phrasee

Valuing people, their emotions, and the long-term customer relationships – there was a lot of human understanding in this talk from Parry, which culminated in the importance of applying human-driven ethical principles to AI

Parry asked a few interesting questions about responsible marketing, delving a level deeper into how targeted ads actually work.

He referenced mental health issues, showing how AI, when used unethically, can identify when someone suffering from bi-polar disorder is headed into a manic phase, and throw more high-cost purchases options their way. Is that really what a brand wants to do? Manipulate?

He spoke a lot about supply chains and transparency when it comes to production partners, as consumers become more and more interested in what lies behind their favourite brands.

Everyone has a responsibility to make sure their vendors and their full supply chain support their ethics.

Three questions to ask yourself:

  • Are there any areas of practice that infringe on the core values of honesty, autonomy, privacy, and transparency?
  • Does your marketing adversely impact on your consumer, your competitors, or society as a whole?
  • Are claims being made on your behalf falsified, exaggerated, or unverified?

Find out more about the Emotions Matter campaign.

Click here to see Phrasee’s AI Ethics policy in full detail.


Diversity as the lifeblood of creativity

Ete Davies, managing director, AnalogFolk, and co-founder of We Are Stripes

Wayne Deakin, ECD (EMEA), Huge

Mark Evans, marketing director, Direct Line Group

Ali Hanan, founder and CEO, Creative Equals

Pip Jamieson, founder and CEO, The Dots Global

The panel discussion tackled diversity with passion – with every member deeply invested in increasing gender, BAME, and neurodiversity inclusion across the industry.

They discussed the positive impact of diversity on businesses and agencies, and emphasised the importance of a ‘see it to believe it’ mindset, as a lack of diverse people in positions of power can discourage talent from choosing a particular career, or from progressing to higher positions and lead to diversity churn.

The panel was keen to create an environment where diverse talent can thrive. From recruitment and succession planning, to investing in rising stars, and mentorship schemes designed to keep employees on the right track.

Clients have even started asking for more information on an agency’s diversity mix before they begin working with them.

Overall, the industry needs to continue working toward an inclusive culture, and there’s a lot we can be doing to create it.

Check out We Are Stripes

Check out Creative Equals


As you can see, the day was jam-packed with insight, inspiration, and, of course, ping pong.

Check out last year's DMA Award winners here.

And add these 2019 DMA Awards dates to your diary.

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