By Ogilvy UK Apprentices


This week the apprentices of Ogilvy UK were handed the fantastic opportunity to attend AdWeek Europe 2019, a week of strategic, creative, and marketing insights from some of the top names in the industry. We got to experience a week packed full of unique seminars and workshops all under one roof.

Here are some of our favourite highlights from the week! Also, feel free to check out some of the snaps we caught on Ogilvy UK’s Instagram - @OgilvyUK.

Day One

On the first day, we were introduced to all things Influencer Marketing. The first talk was Influence Across Platforms which talked about vetting influencers with different software and how to ensure that an influencer grows organically without buying followers or likes. Emily Young, Head of Takumi UK, talked about how the vetting process can be difficult at times. Software can provide the industry with a certain level of proof of an influencer’s growth however, there will always be a need to add a human element to the vetting process, as there are times where the software may have given a green light to an influencer but someone with years in the industry would be able to spot an error with someone’s social channels. She also mentioned how the modern influencer is beginning to look for longer-term and intricate opportunities to work with brands. 

Another seminar we enjoyed was a fascinating talk from Ben Jeffries – CEO & Co-Founder at Influencer. He spoke on the challenges that have shaped the influencer industry. No one can deny that it has been a rapidly growing industry in the last few years and is now a crucial element of marketing strategies for lots of big brands. The market size is worth over $2 billion and offers increasing opportunities for businesses globally. Most notably the infamous Fyre Festival, which saw key celebrity influencers like Kylie Jenner & Hailey Baldwin being paid to promote a fraudulent festival. This was an event that all news outlets suggested would even be the death of influencer marketing!

We found that workshops and seminars weren’t the only things available at Ad Week Europe. Mini activations from brands like Kiss FM and Tapjoy allowed us to play around with new apps and get the chance to win some goodies or even get a full face of makeup with Grazia’s pop-up. Ad Week Europe’s title sponsor Snapchat even had an interactive room where visitors could scan new filters for an immersive AR experience.

Day Two

Today’s theme was around Data and we explored this through a variety of discussions centred around Gen Z, creativity, and partnerships. We witnessed inspiring talks from The Atlantic, Wavemaker, Rankin, Universal Music and more. During the morning sessions, we learnt through Gina Bulla, the Senior Director of Marketing, that Gen Z are digital natives and mobilised activists that are sceptical to be tied to certain brands, but with an affinity to Apple and YouTube.

Another talk featured WPP's Wavemaker, and taught us that we should focus less on the ‘new and shiny’, and more so on the customer. We should move away from performance marketing and think more about long-term brand health. Infamous photographer and publisher Rankin highlighted how more collaborations with new systems and big data can facilitate great campaigns. As he rightfully said, “there is no creativity without vulnerability”, and we as agencies should strive to produce work that inspires actions and communications effectively.

The panel What the F is an influencer? outlined how the term ‘influencer’ tends to be overused within the current media landscape. What struck me most was story of Elijah Quashie Aka the Chicken Connoisseur, and how he carved out a successful YouTube following with his ‘Pengest Munch’ series which follows him reviewing fried chicken with the occasional crep check. I think this was a great example of how, through the rise of the ‘YouTuber’, content is becoming increasingly freeform and user negotiated. It seems then, that the modern influencer is looking for increasingly entrepreneurial opportunities with brands, moving away from traditional sponsored Instagram posts. It’ll be interesting to see how brand strategy and influence adapt to these changes.

Day Three

Our Wednesday began with a talk on The Creative Economy. This revealed how they are struggling to attract the new generation to work in the creative industries, because of the emphasis on stem subjects. But with the age of AI forthcoming, these stem jobs will be made redundant, as robots are able to fill their basic roles. For the foreseeable future however, robots will never be able to achieve creative like humans do. So, the creative industries are safe for now...

Next, Ryot blew our minds talking about the possibilities enabled by 5G. Although the technology won't be widespread until 2-3 years time, Ryot told us, its not coming, "it effectively arrived yesterday" and we can use it today even without 5G enabled devices. They opened our eyes to the drastic effects that 5G will have on global communications, revealing the possibilities of live music concerts and motion capture being able to be recorded in real time. 5G is being described as the post smartphone era -  so brands better be ready.

Our day ended with a happiness workshop by Danny Bent. (One of the Top 100 Happiest People in the UK!). Despite some of Danny’s stories being truly quite gruesome the way he was able to find a silver lining in every situation was extraordinary. He had the power to make us feel like we could do anything in life thanks to his bubbly and colourful personality. It was the perfect session to end our day.

Day Four

The last day had some interesting talks which looked at how brands should lead in the age of a socially aware generation. One talk that cut through the conversation for us was by Tess Holiday from Cosmopolitan. We learnt that it is essential to be brave and possibly even controversial by standing up for your true values and purpose, so that your brand resonates with audiences.

Can you hear me? was a fascinating seminar suggesting that by next year 30% of searches will be done using voice activated software. Voice can extend the customer’s experience after purchase by helping with tips and information on the usage of products. This could present opportunities for our brands using re-targeting strategies with consumers. The information I learnt allowed me to think of ways to activate the potential rewards of purchase sequences in a brands CDJ.

The last, but certainly not least, talk for Ad Week Europe 2019 took us for a ride on The Creative Carousel with Ogilvy's own Chief Creative Officer, Dede Laurentino on the panel. In the seminar, the panel discussed their insights on the perceived ‘data threat’ and the secrets to finding creative success. What really stuck with us was how agencies should be wary of being seduced by data and not let their creative choices be dictated solely by these insights. Data should offer us a stronger platform from which to bounce off and create inspiring, truly effective campaign work. Though it certainly has its uses, we must not be afraid to continue to trust our own human intuition.

With the last talk of week over and a free drink in hand, the curtain closed on our first ever Ad Week Europe.

All in all, Ad Week Europe was an interactive and informative experience we will never forget and we’re proud to have been a part of it. We gained key insights and got to meet some incredible players in the creative industry. We’re confident this will help shape our future careers and will contribute to Ogilvy’s creative environment.