The day we went to D&AD

By Teamspirit on Friday, 13 May 2016

This month we attended the inaugural D&AD Festival in East London to discover what we could learn from the festival’s impressive line-up of international branding, design and advertising experts (not to mention seeing this year’s D&AD award winners). The festival’s lively talks ranged from managing and even courting public backlash to the importance of branded content in building deeper relationships with companies. Companies like Adobe, Getty and Kerve were also on hand to show visitors the importance of creative technology in modern advertising.

The perfect idea

Representing fellow Chime agencies VCCP UK and VCCP Spain, Charles Vallance and Beto Nahmad discussed how to ‘cook’ the perfect big creative idea, complete with on-stage barbecue and ham sandwiches for the audience. They made the compelling case that emotion, simplicity, and an authentic storytelling approach are the most crucial ingredients for getting your recipe right, whether you’re developing a global consumer campaign or a highly targeted piece of B2B FS direct mail.

How to court controversy

Our current age of online protest is driving many brands to be timid but, as panellists discussed at the Backlash Brands debate, there is money to be made if you’re brave enough to actively court controversy. Last year’s infamous ‘Are you beach body ready?’ drove 5,000 new customers to Protein World, 5,000 in just four days, by galvanising fans and using non-supporters to spread the message. It will be interesting to see if any challenger brands embrace this approach within the FS market, where public opinion, trust and viability are that much more intertwined.

Real stories for real people

Creative strategist Gaston Legorburu spoke about the importance of creating meaningful stories for consumers. Legorburu argued that brands have a tendency to ‘storyyell’ – shouting about what they can do rather than helping consumers understand how they can help them. How many FS campaigns can you think of that rely on a good interest rate or cash sweetener over a compelling story? People love stories and experiences, so brands that create compelling stories around their services and then give us innovative ways to engage meaningfully with them, will outperform brands that rely on traditional, interruptive advertising.

We need you!

When it comes to diversity, FS can be rightly proud of being much further ahead than the advertising industry as a whole, both in house and in our consumer communications. D&AD panellists lamented that it often feels like underrepresented groups have to ‘wait their turn’, thanks to a lack of meaningful strategy, support, and sometimes even understanding of the real and tangible business case for increased diversity. There was a general consensus that we could all benefit from a more wide-ranging approach to finding, acquiring, and cultivating talent, and presenting this back to consumers through our advertising and marketing.

Looking widely really is what D&AD is all about. From ideas to technology to strategy, the festival championed working inventively and intelligently to create memorable, impactful work that resonates with your audience. And we think that’s a great principle whatever market, industry or sector you’re working in.

We’ll definitely be back next year!

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