I was grateful for the later start this morning – I felt like I’d been hit by a bus when I collapsed into bed last night.
In a caffeine-induced buzz I got into the morning’s keynote session and strapped myself in for what proved to be another bloody brilliant day at Mumbrella360. Just like yesterday, Day 2 was jam-packed full of awesome speakers, great ideas and razor sharp insights. Here are five of the more memorable moments from Day 2 of Mumbrella360:
1. When Amir Kassaei said ‘digital media’ is bullshit
Amir has probably the most amazing story of any advertising professional I’ve ever heard. He’s the Global Chief Creative Officer of DDB and works in Bill Bernbach’s old office. He also has the original client presentation boards for the iconic ‘Think Small’ VW Beetle campaing in his drawer. How he got to where he is now is even more impressive though: born in Iran, Amir became a child soldier fighting the Government, he then fled to Austria alone with no family or money before settling in Germany where he entered advertising as a suit, became a planner, then a copywriter before becoming a Partner at DDB Germany. In the words of Ron Burgundy, he’s kind of a big deal.
Amir’s point on digital media was that agencies and brands need to think less about digital as a ‘channel’ and more of an ‘infrastructure’. Amir’s main theme was that brands need to have influence in today’s market and that is achieved at the intersection of creativity, humanity and technology.
2. When Adam Ferrier talked for 10 minutes only in quotes from psychology research journals
Adam’s a smart dude and he recently joined indie agency Cummins & Partners. He’s arguably the most highly respected consumer psychologist in Australia and is also a ripping Comms Strategist.
Adam started his presentation using behavioural science quotes straight from academic journals to prove a point: no matter which way you cut it, sometimes science just isn’t sexy enough for consumer-facing advertising. The interesting implications were, though, that in order to get someone to do something you need to either make it easier for them to perform an action or motivate them enough to overcome the obstacles to performing that action.
Interestingly also was the insight that in order to get someone to like you it’s best to ask them to do something for you. So essentially if a client offers you a coffee you have to accept it to make them like you more. There’s much more to unpack from Adam’s talk so watch this space.
3. When Darren Rowse from ProBlogger said you can earn a full-time income from blogging
Darren Rowse is a total guru and I’ve referred to him quite a lot over the last couple of years, particularly when I first became interested in starting a blog. Darren’s built his own blogs up to generate insane amounts of impressions per month and now is one of the world’s authorities on how to blog well.
In the context of blogging for brands Darren made some really interesting points about finding topics that are relevant for to blog about. Essentially brands need to find the sweet spot between the message you want to communicate and what your audience is actually interested in hearing. He also said that rhythmic (but not necessarily constant) content creation is vital, but also that dedicating time to engaging your audience and promoting your material is equally important.
You can check out Darren’s work at problogger.net and find his presentation slides at problogger.net/mumbrella. If you’re interested in blogging or content creation more generally, Darren’s work is a must-read.
4. When RAPP turfed a client’s pitch brief and won the pitch anyway
One of the most anticipated sessions of the day was the live pitch on a brief from Screen Australia to leverage Aussie film and TV to drive international tourism Down Under. Four agencies, each from different specialisations, volunteered to respond to the brief: The White Agency (Digital), Hill+Knowlton (PR), RAPP (Data) and BMF (Creative).
Each agency responded to the brief in their individual ways, bringing different strategies and ideas to the table. The eventual winner of the pitch was RAPP, who challenged the brief by throwing out the target demo as specified in the brief and instead basing their idea around reaching a different target market (the Asian market instead of the US and UK). It was a risky approach but was solidly backed-up by rigorous data analysis and for that reason they were selected as the winner of the pitch.
The main take away here was that it’s ok for an agency to challenge the briefs it receives from clients, even prospective ones in a pitch scenario, but it’s absolutely imperative that you back up your stance with sound reasoning. On the face if it it’s never a great look if you flat-out reject a brief that a client has undoubtedly spent time and resources on.
5. When the panel concluded that by 2028 you’ll be served a beer without having to ask the bartender
The ‘Nextival’ session was another interesting one where a panel discussion was turned into a game show that explored the future of media. It was another star-studded panel with senior staffers from BBDO and Leo Burnett along with social commentators that included Sarah Wilson.
The panel generated some really interesting discussion with one of the points being around the potential for telepathy to become a part of the way humans interact within a couple of decades. Apparently the rudiments of the technology already exist so it’s definitely one worth researching more into. Other discussion points were around the sentience of computers and how computers will soon be able to preempt our needs and wants. Kind of like Siri on steroids.
All-in-all Mumbrella360 was a truly awesome experience, let alone being just a great conference to be at. A huge hats off to the Mumbrella team who pulled it off. These are just the first of a series of posts I’ll write on ideas from the conference – there’s such a depth of content that just tree-topping it like this doesn’t do it justice.
And again a huge thanks to JWT and Blue Hive for the opportunity to head up there.