March 8, 2017

The Festival of British Advertising

The Festival of British Advertising opens today and I was fortunate enough to attend the opening night reception of this celebration last night.Held at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, it was a fantastic exhibition attended by some of ad lands heavyweights that took visitors on an immersive journey through the evolution of an industry which currently brings over £20bn to the UK economy.The exhibition was based around four core themes and aimed to demonstrate how advertising has reflected and influenced social, political and economic changes over the past 100 years. It was great to wander around the themed areas that were full of nostalgia and reminisce over some of the standout campaigns of the last 100 years, including ‘The Pregnant Man’, ‘the Gold Blend couple’ ‘AIDS awareness’, ‘Cadbury Gorilla’. ‘Oxo Mum’ ‘Levi’s washing machine’ and the iconic Hamlet ‘Photo booth’ campaign.

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Perhaps the highlight of the evening was Lord David Puttnam addressing the audience with his inspirational keynote speech where he reminded us what a fantastic industry we are lucky enough to work in but reminded us all that as a talent based industry, it was imperative that we should all invest in and nurture the next generation of talent to ensure the next 100 years of advertising is as successful as the last. He went on to say that it was important we all attempted to ensure rebuild trust in the industry – “there's a collapse of trust, trust in media and trust in the system. Building trust is a human activity, unlikely to be done by an algorithm”.

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Having joined ‘adland’ in 1997 when I left University, I have been lucky to have worked at some huge agencies on both the media (Universal McCann) and creative (Saatchi & Saatchi) sides of the industry. In this time advertising has evolved and the emergence of digital media has revolutionised advertising and how we consume media. With over £10bn spent on digital advertising last year (47% of the market) it’s clear that to ensure the next 100 years of British advertising is as successful as the last, we have a collective responsibility to embrace change and push creative boundaries – across all channels, but especially digital.The #adfest exhibition is open to the public until this Sunday - http://adfest100.co.uk/John Kimbell, Managing Partner

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