Monday to Thursday was the plan, but then work got in the way! So instead we went for a Tuesday afternoon flight, one that I of course missed by one minute, one minute that cost me 8 hours! I eventually arrived via Amsterdam and immediately got out into the thick of the event, it’s an impressive set up, there are not many places where you can meet up with all of your work colleagues from across the industry in one single city which is buzzing with both work and play conversations.
Down at the Gala event it was heaving with people from across the business, the business being very varied. Media groups, advertising groups, content companies, digital, film, music you name it, all here. A lot of drunken idiots as well to be fair, in fact some people were such imbeciles I was amazed they had been let in the country!
It was a fantastic evening, I met with Christian and Kate from AOL at their own party on a roof top, very civilized and a great ease into the evening, obviously as a reciprocal arrangement from zeitgeist, who should I see there but Damian Burns, Global Head of Agency Relations and Ben Faes from Google. Later in the evening there was Tom George from MEC, Stephen Haines from Facebook and a few other golden oldies. Although of course most of the talk is social, there is some interesting conversations about what has been seen and heard during the day. Apparently the Ben Stiller/Yahoo event was a little weird and did not entirely work, that said by then we outside the cleverly Yahoo sponsored ‘gutter bar’ which was the end destination most evenings and stayed open until way beyond you should have been in bed, luckily it was next to the Martinez where I was staying, so that worked!
The next morning after 2.5hrs of sleep Vivaki and Microsoft had their ‘steering committee’ meeting which lasted for some hours and covered the state of the nation between our two companies, an interesting meeting with some grand ambition which I am looking forward to working on in the coming months. After a lovely lunch a couple of meetings around ad exchanges (my topic of choice at the moment) and then on to the football. Microsoft hosted a great event with all of the UK people seemingly choosing their beach club to watch, great atmosphere not least as the US were playing and the Americans were getting very excited about their game too, we exchanged cheers through the afternoon, although i suspect they were less sure what they were cheering for!
Later at the awards I took my seat, waiting to see what award winning work looked like, there was some great stuff, I loved the recruitment work from one agency that distributed a calendar with a resignation letter for each day, waiting for the day you had had enough. The Aides campaign from TBWA France was also the rudest thing I have seen on the web, a willy chasing a vagina round a homepage and eventually having sex once safely inside a condom was pretty risqué, but brilliantly done.
All the winners can be seen here
An evening spent with Google was very entertaining and good to be on the inside when they win a big lawsuit with CBS! It also appears that I was sat down to one of the men who has contributed most to the uk digital scene, our own Bruce Daisley, winner the next night at the NMA awards for the accolade. I am very pleased, if disbelieving for the lad, he is a great practitioner and a great guy, he is just no good at hosting jollies as he reminded me of our jaunt to Germany for the football.
The next morning I got the chance to see the Microsoft Experience centre, packed full of their three screens, windows 7 phone, Xbox and Kinect. All of them looked amazing and full of potential for an advertiser. As I went round though It just reminded me of how little of this stuff the average planner or advertiser has seen or experienced. There is a gap between the possibility and the reality, I don’t think advertisers see how a touch sensitive table could drive their crm or sales. The Xbox is a home entertainment system with connectivity, content and games, do advertisers see this? I don’t think so and even worse I don’t think the agency folk are much better. If you get a chance go experience it!
As my trip came to an end and I got a chance to catch up with some other agency friends on the way home I thought to myself what a fantastic event, yes there is a lot of fun and drink and socializing but it’s a chance to bring a lot of very interesting people together and the opportunity to see some great work and technology.
A 4 hour delay on the way back, rounded the whole trip off. Thanks to Microsoft, sorry I did not make it on your video blog, I must have been as dull as my blog. When I got home I had an iPhone 4 waiting for me, that’s my next post..