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Authenticity was the common thread amongst the best of Day Two’s talks – from the authenticity of bringing something true from your life into your work, to ensuring your brands stays authentic for your consumers.
As co-founder of the hugely successful ad agency Badger and Winters, Madonna Badger has been pleading for more empathy in our industry as early as 2006 (before it became the buzzword it is today). Badger created the campaign #WomenNotObjects, challenging the advertising industry’s famously un-empathetic and objectifying treatment of women. With a CV that includes most of the best-known names in fashion (“I was a terrible feminist’, Badger exclaimed, “I actually made Kate Moss thinner”), she knows the negative effect of objectification of women has on consumer intent to purchase, brand reputation, and most importantly female self-worth. Badger’s talk showed me that what we create as an industry has impact.
Easily the standout speaker of the conference so far, I will not do her full story the injustice of trying to summarise it in a few words – but needless to say, if you haven’t heard about her watch her now.
It’s not enough to just talk about diversity
“A gay is for life, not just for Pride Week”, argued journalist Philip Ellis. Ellis has done his homework, and can demonstrate that a diverse business is not only more productive but more successful. 90 percent of consumers would boycott a company they deemed unethical, and many judge brands when they jump onto Pride Week, but don’t continue this commitment to diversity all year round. Praising campaigns from Guinness, Clean & Clear and Absolut, Ellis showed that it’s clear diversity is finally a non-negotiable criteria, by which all companies are judged.
But of course, don’t take your brand too seriously
“Make advertising funny again”, was the plea from Bafta and Cannes-winning Don’t Panic, an ad agency from London. Sick of the saccharine adverts on TV (I love John Lewis Christmas ads as much as a hare can love a bear, but who else felt emotionally manipulated with 2015’s The Man in the Moon?), Don’t Panic want to own funny, and are urging your brand to do the same. As well as tips for how to be funny – be self-effacing and turn the humour in on yourself, like the fantastic Dollar Shave Club ad – Don’t Panic argued in defence of funny as the authentic way to stand out from the crowd and move against the “sheep-like mentality of the industry” towards laughter.
Only one more day to go. That’s at least three more meals consisting solely of pasta, right? When in Rome.