26th Jun2008

Ad:Tech 08 Thoughts: Day 1

by Dorothy

After a half year stint travelling around the USA, it was great to touch base with what was going on in Singapore. I spent the last two days at Ad:Tech 2008, mega thanks to Daryl over at uniquefrequency.com for wrangling passes for us!

Being there inspired many thoughts and unfortunately many rants as well. BUT..all in all, it was a good experience!

Web 1.0
For an event touted as THE event for digital marketing, it felt strangely Web 1.0 to me. I have always been very excited about Web 2.0 and the promise of actual conversations, be it between two individuals, groups of people or client and customer. For one, the delegates, I’m afraid, were obviously too lazy to do some homework about the event they were attending. Classic case studies of the perils of placing your brands in the hands of the Web 2.0 generation, such as the Chevy Tahoe incident, were cited- guess how many of them had heard about it? Zilch. I could blame it on the time of the day, but the conference had just started, and people were were applauding the speaker just minutes ago can’t be that asleep, nor uncertain of how to move their hands.

The Web 1.0 audience is a passive one, just allowing information to filter from the speaker to themselves, and that’s just what it felt like, especially at the bigger conference halls. Perhaps materials to clue them in onto what the speakers were going to touch on, some background information, ANY background information might have helped loads!

The smaller breakout sessions were different though! Sitting in with the journalists as a ‘blogger’, the same speakers were engaged with the audience, the very same speakers were being questioned. There was an exchange of ideas, questions, you get the picture!

Presentation is a Science
I have always been a fan of a well delivered presentation. Being an ex-performer of sorts (I sold a large part of my high school life to dance competitions), I see each and every single presentation as a chance to perform, perhaps to entertain, perhaps to inform, but most importantly, to engage your audience. I don’t know how engaging a monotonous speaker reading from powerpoint slides can be, and I’m not sure what to make of statistics that come from the year 2006, especially when updated numbers can probably be obtained, given the speed of changes in the social landscape of today. Also, disappointingly, many ad agencies brought more boring monologues (and bland powerpoint slides) to the table, including brochures that looked like they had been designed in 1980. At most 1995.

I liked the closing keynote speech for day one though. Showing us case studies of effective campaigns was a refreshing change from moderated dialouge styled presentations. Humour never hurt, either! A few Lost in Translation moments- we were shown a video in a foreign language (subtitles would have helped, definitely), and heavy accents made some of the speakers rather incomprehensible. Still, we managed to get the point they were trying to put across, so that’s that.

It takes Two to Tango…
I was however impressed with Nestle’s attempt at client education. Too often, clients expect their PR/Marketing/Design agencies to be the swiss army knife solution to all their image and branding issues. It isn’t often that a corporation takes ownership of their responsibility to be a ‘good’ client. This could only facilitate better communication between them and their agencies, and I’d like to think that their stance resulted in the very quirky (and fun!) campaign for Nescafe’s 3 in 1, the only one that I felt I would have participated in – the ClickClique! Very cool, very social and very “I’m gonna send this link to all my friends!”.

The first day ended well – excellent red and white wine. I hear the beer was great too. Sugary bite sized finger food and desserts and a live band filling the hall with mellow tones (albeit a little too loud) is always good.

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