PROMAX UK 2014 Conference – Part2

November 4, 2014
by Tim Rabjohns

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/108367299 w=573&h=322]
ViaSat’s TV1000 idents – Silver winner in the “Best On Air Ident Campaign (Out Of House)” category

Here is some more coverage from the UK’s main TV conference.  The British Institution is an amazing building – full of scientific history and new ideas.  This was brought to life in some way by a set of actors from RIFT who embodied various Victorian characters who interacted with the delegates in between sessions.  In case you missed it, it’s definitely worth having a look at day 1 of the PROMAX UK conference – which is a separate post.

Promax UK 2014 - Faraday Theatre

Promax UK 2014 – Faraday Theatre

As I explained before this is a very personal account of the highlights of the conference – no doubt there were loads of really good things that I didn’t get a chance to see – including lots of practical sessions on things like the use of music, recording of VOs, copywriting and big data as well as the short film competition run by The Smalls

The first session of the day was TV Bypass – a panel of YouTube entrepreneurs (Liam Tootill from SBTV and Hazel Hayes from Chewing Sand)  in conversation with the TV establishment (Danny Cohen – director of TV at the BBC and Guy Slattery – EVP of Marketing at A+E Networks).

TV Bypass Session - with my tweet above them!

TV Bypass Session – with my tweet above them!

This was a really high energy session – from the Rumble In The Jungle style intro film to the sparky interchange between Hazel and Danny, which seemed to be a perfect metaphor for the relationship between mainstream TV and the YouTube generation.
What we learned was that mainstream TV would definitely like to have a slice of what the online TV people have.  A+E Networks have a stake in Vice TV and later this year BBC3 is to become online only.

What we heard from the YouTubers is that although they like and respect mainstream TV, it is not that relevant to what they do.  It seems that audiences do not mind how high the production values are, as long as the content and ideas are interesting.  Also the lower barriers to entry online means that people with drive and creativity can have a lot of creative control and a very close collaborative relationship with their audiences in a way that mainstream TV producers can never have.  Hazel also pointed out that while ‘collaboration’ was endemic online, ‘competition’ seemed to be the watchword on mainstream TV which didn’t seem so healthy.

This whole exchange was very illuminating – and hopefully there will be many more sessions like this in the future.

Lunchtime was brightened up by Magic Singh – an amazing close up magician who kept everyone amazed as they were grabbing a sandwich and a coffee.

Promax UK 2014 - Cool Shit talk

Cool Shit talk with Federico Gaggio

Next up for me was the, always highly anticipated, Cool shit talk by Fedrerico Gaggio –  each year he presents many case studies of disruptive marketing and what has become known as “prankvertising”.  There is nowhere near enough space to list all of his examples here, however here are a few to give you the idea.  The Harvey Nichols’ – spenditonyourself  campaign is a sort of anti Christmas, Christmas campaign.  Instean of urging their customers to buy extravagant presents for their loved ones they bought out a range of really cheap gifts like clothes pegs and tooth picks and urged people to splash out on themselves instead.  The net result was that they had their best year ever, and all the super cheap range of gifts sold out.  Other examples included an hilarious Bodyform video reply to a Facebook post from a man asking why women do not act like they do in the adverts when it’s their time of the month.  Some clever D&AD winning marketing in the form of the British Airways Look Up campaign – interactive billboards that get a child to point to BA flights as they flyover in realtime.

What I found really captivating was the examples of disruptive marketing for social good.  The most memorable of these for me was Project Daniel  – about Mick Ebeling who worked out a way to create prosthetic arms created by 3D printers – each one costing only $100 dollars instead of the usual $15,000.  He then took a mobile lab to South Sudan and proceeded to make limbs for children affected by the war there.  I also really like American food brand Chipotle’s campaign against giant agrobusiness in the form of a video game called The Scarecrow and a TV mini series called Farmed And Dangerous – a great example of a hybrid of marketing and campaigning.  Federico summed this up by saying its all about “brands that do, rather than talk” – so, plenty to think about there…

Straight after ‘Cool shit’ was ‘An Englishman in New York’ by Guy Slattery (EVP of Marketing at A+E Networks).  Guy is an Englishman who is currently working for A+E in New York – hence the title.  The thrust of his talk was to highlight the differences in TV promotion between the US and the UK.

There were several interesting points here – in Guy’s opinion the differences were not so much about culture – as we share so much of that now – but budget size.  Other differences were that lack of idents in the US, the prevalence of neuromarketing and the dramatic difference in funding for public service broadcasting (BBC vs PBS)

Finally we were treated to an amazing closing keynote with none other than creator of the X-files and Breaking Bad – Vince Gilligan, beamed in live from LA talking about creativity, broadcasting and how he saw the future of TV.

Some very powerful stuff indeed!  On the way to the awards ceremony at the Hilton, myself and Federico and Steve from Discovery pondered that it may have been the best Promax UK yet – so, the final words have to be a big thank you to the organisers Anna Priest and Landy Slattery (and all the many helpers) for busting a gut and making it happen!

Here is a list of all the PROMAX UK 2014 Awards winners – congrats to ITV for winning Channel Of The Year.

As always – we are always happy to hear any recollections from other participants from the conference – comments below….

Landy Slattery & Anna Priest - co-organisers

Landy Slattery & Anna Priest – co-organisers

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