New Bedfellows: Research And Laughter

Two action-packed days at the Venice Festival of Media brought us not only wonderful insights and imaginative ideas on the future of commercial communications, but also total confusion and uncertainty in equal measure -- and a lot of laughs.

Over 800 participants were drawn from five continents and included major advertisers (An 8-person team from P&G, with Bernhard Glock; Unilever's Laura Klauberg; Coca-Cola, Philips, Nokia on the platform and more in the audience); the CEOs of all the major media agency networks -Jack Klues, Nick Brien, Dominic Proctor, Mainardo de Nardis to the fore; creative mega-players Chuck Porter and Sir John Hegarty plus the large, the discrete and the aspirant digital and analogue media owners.

Never before was the future of the business under such close scrutiny. Who should own the IP of communication ideas? Can we find new compensation models that reflect business value not time spent delivering the work? How best to measure the interaction and effects of commercial messages? And lots more, besides.



In wrestling with the contrasting claims of structures and deliverables, the excellent C-Squared organizers employed Synovate to use the latest and brightest technology to allow the participants to text questions to the presenters and to respond to questions from the podium.

This is where the new dynamic of research and laughter came together and effectively stopped the conference in its tracks.

As clients and agencies grappled with the future of everyone's role in communication, the participants were asked "Are media agencies set up to become strategic brand leaders?" Good question.

The collective result from 800 of the world's best communicators was: YES 33%. NO 34%. NOT YET 33%.

You couldn't make it up. The greatest and the best our industry has to offer, and we just don't' know what's going on, or what's going to happen. Hilarious. It restores your faith in human nature. At last a business that is never short of answers recognizes that it can't decide why it can't make up its mind.

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