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Advertising Week Europe: The journey so far

Advertising Week Europe: The journey so far
From Snowden to AI, creativity and storytelling, AWE's Executive Director Matt Scheckner on the themes to have punctuated the AWE journey.

Back in December of 2012, IPA Director General Paul Bainsfair was kind enough to invite a mildly brash American to address a group of industry leaders at the IPA’s office on Belgrave Square. I don't recall everyone in the room, beyond Paul and Nicola Mendelsohn who was passing the IPA Presidential torch to Ian Priest on that particular day. The assembled group was warm, but understandably wary. I’m sure I made a few mistakes, as I’ve learned in five years some of our nomenclature changes when crossing the Atlantic. With Paul leading the charge, the message was clear - we don't have anything like Advertising Week in Europe; London was the right place for it; and let’s support this and see what happens.

Jump ahead to March 2013 and Advertising Week Europe’s first-ever event - our inaugural Ronnie Scott’s Leadership Breakfast with The Guardian. With Alan Rusbridger leading a conversation on the aftermath of Edward Snowden. Who knew then what prevalence hacking would take in global geo-politics?

When I walked into Ronnie Scott’s that morning just a few minutes after 8am I had only one thought as I went down the corridor and through the fabled red velvet curtain: would there be anyone in the room? Well, the room was already heaving and thankfully, this was a bellwether for things to come.

Our first five years has been a fascinating, exciting and incredibly rewarding journey. Common threads tie the whole thing together going all the way back to the first-ever Opening Gala hosted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in my hometown of New York City in 2004 right through to St. James’s Palace in 2017. Advertising Week is a reflective mirror of popular culture and the absence of a singular theme has always allowed us to paint with whatever colours and style suit a given moment in time. In 2004, virtually none of the subject areas and players who are so prevalent today existed, in any form. Others sat on top of mountains, supremacy unchallenged with little or no idea what the convergence of content, technology and distribution would do to business models. Much of the nomenclature which dominates the 2017 thought leadership agenda - artificial intelligence, data driven marketing and virtual reality - did not exist when we began. Back in 2004, Facebook (by way of example) was only on the Harvard campus. So much has changed and evolved, but concurrently, nothing has changed. The enduring power of creativity, storytelling and engaging audiences remain central to the success equation. As the great Tower of Power lyrics go in their funk tribute, Diggin’ on James Brown: “You know, the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

So as we prepare to raise the curtain Monday morning at Ronnie Scott’s, add the Lyric Theatre into the mix as we premiere our new Town Hall Series on the West End, and return to Picturehouse Central for year two after our first three successful years at BAFTA, we have never been more optimistic. The passion which drives our industry is unmatched and the relentless pursuit to learn from the world’s best and brightest drives everything we do. If you are not already registered to attend, there simply isn't a better way to better your work-self than by attending Advertising Week Europe, and along the way, you can fulfill your annual CPD requirements faster, and cheaper. No other global industry event offers more for less, and our new Amplify programme creates a point of entry which combines access to the daytime seminar programme and many of our most prized special events.

See you next week, and right back here in London next year. And thank you Paul for opening the door way back when.

Matt Scheckner is the Global CEO of Advertising Week

The IPA will be hosting a Centenary Stage at Advertising Week Europe 2017. Here's the full list of IPA events:

Agency Debate: Fast forward to the future - Monday 20th March 2017, 10.00am

The IPA recently celebrated its centenary with a Festival looking back over 100 years of advertising - today in this illuminating panel session, IPA Director General - Paul Bainsfair leads a discussion on what lies ahead for Agencies. What can the past teach us about how we can continue to communicate key messages that create cut-through for our brands in a world powered by AI and machine learning? How can agencies ensure they continue to stay ahead of curve, what will make the agency of the future fit for purpose?

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Fundamentalism: (of the advertising kind) - Monday 20th March 2017, 3.45pm

Over the last decade of unprecedented channel fragmentation, the communication industry has spent most of its time focussing on the road ahead and scoping the opportunities presented by the new tech landscape. This means we have neglected to introduce those newer to the industry to the philosophies and methodologies of our past. This session will offer a fast-paced whizz through the key theories of how brands work in order to add value to our client’s businesses.

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Countdown with #IPASocialWorks - Tuesday 21st March 2017, 1.00pm

Join Mark Earls, The Herdmeister as he dons his best glittery jacket and presents a host of marketing and analytics luminaries as they race against the clock to try to solve the biggest issues in social media. There will be letters and numbers galore as they try to find the most meaningful metrics and processes from the anagrams, to get a return. Using the best case law from #IPASocialWorks our game will fight against rounds of random numbers and help solve the ultimate conundrum – “how can I get more from social?” 

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Ending ‘tech tourism’: 10 marriage vows for agencies and start-ups - Wednesday 22nd March 2017, 11.00am

Join us for the launch of a new IPA initiative - a charter enshrining good practice commitments for agencies that want to deal fairly and openly when partnering with start-ups. At Advertising Week 2016 we heard some case examples of what not to do when entering this new and exciting area. Since then we've been collating more examples of good and bad behaviour from agencies, start-ups and intermediaries.

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Future of Agencies: From agency network to networked agency - Thursday 23rd March 2017, 4.00pm

This session presents new research from the IPA and Econsultancy into the future agency landscape. Our esteemed panel will debate the dynamics that will shape agency capability, operating and client engagement models, remuneration and approaches to talent. What are the key opportunities for agencies in a rapidly shifting environment, how are they responding, and who will win? 

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Last updated 16/03/2017

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