MEC@AWE 2016 key takeaways and trends

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  • Advertising Week Europe 2016 hosted over 400 events and seminars, featuring more than 735 speakers and 28,450 attendees, including at least 480 members of the press.

    These statistics make AWE among the largest annual gatherings of thought leaders and game changes across marketing, media, advertising, creative, technology and entertainment.

    The busy, buzzing event took place from April 18-22 at Picturehouse Central, London.


  • MEC was the presenting sponsor of the Talent Track, designed to elevate conversation around talent innovation and engagement.

    As part of the day-long program Marie-Claire Barker, our Global Chief Talent Officer, moderated a session on creative leadership with Upping Your Elvis and one with Populist on how to grow your talent using unusual partners.

    The Talent Track spotlighted some of the topics that MEC put forth to drive the change in talent management: Authenticity, creativity, diversity and volunteerism.

    As a leader you must hone your listening skills and stop asking questions. Let people talk.

    - Marie-Claire Barker


  • We didnt just talk about talent, we invested in it. We hired 12 apprentices on the spot with #MECLiveHire.

    #MECLiveHire involved a series of 15-minute speed interviews on the ground at Advertising Week Europe. Successful candidates were informed on the day and invited to celebratory evening drinks ahead of joining MEC as an Evolution Apprentice on May 3rd.

    The #MECLiveHire drive formed part of MECs partnership with Advertising Week Europe to change the face of talent management in the industry, taking an innovative approach to recruiting entry-level talent in real-time.



    Matt Davies, Joint UK Managing Director of MEC Wavemaker, our newly launched content offer, took the stage with the East London Grime MC artist Ghetts.

    Ghetts and Davies discussed how Ghetts finds creative inspiration for his storytelling from the environment and culture around him and the lessons that this could have for brands wanting to make their own stories too.

    Be true to creativity. Feel when you are making the wrong decisions. Make a bad one. Learn and

    keep feeling.


  • Having the right access to data and the right tools to apply the power of that data, has been a continuing theme of AWEuropefor a number of years. Yet this year saw an increasing concern from a number of quarters that data-led planning is getting in the way of the magic of creative inspiration and preventing us from developing truly transformative work.

    Panellists and speakers were at pains to convince us that data is merely a tool to help us get to a great creative solution. Data in itself does not answer the business question that still requires human ingenuity, but deep, well presented data can help us uncover new and powerful insights that themselves can provide the spark of inspiration that all great creative needs.


    Evidence led inspiration

    Data is a means to getting an answer, it isnt the answer in itself.

    David KolbuszChief Creative Officer Droga 5

  • There is powerful insight to be gleaned at every stage of the consumer journey and only a holistic planning approach can ensure that that insight really makes a difference.

    At MEC we continue to invest in leading-edge data analysis tools to ensure that we have the best understanding of consumer behaviours, attitudes and needs. Consumer evidence is integral to every stage of comms planning to deliver the most powerful creative solutions to solve our clients' business challenges.

    With so many commercial messages clamouring for the attention (and wallets) of every audience, a lack of relevant creativity is the one way to guarantee you are ignored and/or forgotten completely.


    Why this matters to you

    Its not about getting additional data, its about how we interpret that data and how we use that data to

    prove a theory and tell a story.

    Stuart Bowden Global Chief Strategy Officer MEC

  • Storytelling was a consistent theme throughout AWEurope as the industry challenges itself to connect multiple media opportunities in ways that ensure a continuous brand positioning at every touch point: Online, offline and across different devices and screens. This is sometimes in conflict with the continuous rise of programmatic performance-led solutions that optimise media impact for maximum short term ROI.

    Over the next few years the challenge will be to use programmatic technologies to give us a single view of a consumer across all touchpoints so that we can optimise the entire journey for consumer needs, not just harvest the bottom of the funnel.


    Optimise the entire journey

    Lets get real: Most of the time that we think we are telling stories, consumers just think we are pushing advertising at

    them we have to see it from their perspective.

    Tom CurtisHead of Mediacom Beyond Advertising

  • At MEC we strongly believe in the power of understanding the entire consumer journey, and MEC Momentum, our unique approach to the consumer purchase journey, has already been crucial in creating connected campaigns with the role of every element clearly defined.

    Consumers needs are constantly evolving, and a one size fits all approach doesn't.

    We need to ensure that we identify exactly the right kind of contact for consumer needs at any given stage in the purchase journey to ensure that all branded messages deliver a seamless and consistent brand story.


    Why this matters to you

  • Adblocking has been the ominous presence in the industry for the past year and AWEurope was no exception. One of the key conclusions is that the industry needs to be ever more vigilant in rebuilding trust with consumers, both from a media owner and an advertiser perspective.

    This often comes into conflict with our ever improving ability to use consumer data to target more effectively. There is evidence that consumers are becoming increasingly wary of this technology, and that the rise of Adblocking is at least partly due to a rise in awareness of adtech and tracking.

    Panels and debates regularly focused on the issues of transparency and trust in the market.


    Rising consumer awareness

    Ad blocking is the breakdown of the equation between consumers, publishers and


    Damien Westbury Clear Channel Outdoor

  • Adblocking is merely a symptom of a problem, not the root cause.

    We have a clear responsibility to ensure that our continued use of tracking and targeting technologies is ethical, transparent and respectful of consumers.

    We must not forget the human element in this world of technology and ensure that we never cross the line from improving relevance and value to underhand manipulation.

    If we fail to do that, consumers built-in self preservation instincts will drive rejection of your advertising and brand.


    Why this matters to you

    We need to stop talking about humans vs machines and think about humans plus


    David CoplinChief Envisioning Officer Microsoft

  • Once again, the challenge of mobile was a key theme at AWEurope, with numerous speakers and panellists at pains to point out that as an industry we are still failing to really connect with consumers through their mobile phone.

    The main assumption is that we are being too lazy and simply transfer TV and online assets to the mobile phone environment. If we really want to create engagement, we need to start with a mobile mind set and celebrate both the unique limitations and opportunities of the interface.

    It became clear that the traditional interruptive model of advertising would never work effectively in the intensely personal space of a mobile phone. Brands have to add value to the space if they are to have a chance.


    Connect with consumer control

    It is creativity, the great writing, the great art, that truly unleashes technology.

    Rob NewlanRegional Director of Creative Shop, Facebook & Instagram

  • Thinking mobile first requires a significant shift in marketing processes and creative production.

    When briefing creative work, we must consider the entirety of the media approach and truly understand the environment in which it will eventually be consumed.

    There are clear implications for the use of audio and how the brand is conveyed on a much smaller and more intimate screen.

    Allowing for consumer control within the format is also essential if we are to ensure that the magic doesnt become an unwelcome intrusion.

    We need to consider the space, time and senses of mobile to frame our work differently.


    Why this matters to you

  • The primary output of all the data and advertising technologies is our ever improving ability to target individuals at the perfect moment and mind-set.

    Combined with dynamic creative optimisation, this allows us to tailor communications in such a way as to reflect each individuals personal needs and preferences.

    However in some areas, there is a growing concern that if all advertising becomes truly personalised, then we will cease to have a collective experience and understanding of what brands are really about and will no longer be able to generate true cultural shifts in our communities.