Tales from Edinburgh

Tales from Edinburgh

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The London team from The Marketing Society were out in force this week at the world’s biggest arts festival in Edinburgh.

Hugh, Gemma, Siobhan and Risha, joined up with Graeme Atha and our Scottish members to soak up the atmosphere and watch Edinburgh play host to an incredible range of outstanding events and performances.

With our Fringe Apps firmly in hand, we enjoyed some amazing acts including Essex wordsmith Scroobius Pip, who wowed us with his beautiful mix of humour and heart wrenching explorations of the human condition, The Lady Boys of Bangkok (no description needed!) and the hilarious Late Night Gimp Fight.

After embracing the festival (not to mention the local restaurants and bars) we headed off for The Marketing Society’s very own day at the Fringe - a fun-packed and inspiring day that was certainly worth a couple of Fringe stars in its own right.

Sarah Speake, marketing director, Google, began with her insights on Connectivity and Marketing. Sarah encouraged us to utilise technology to experiment, fail fast and 'to be less wrong'. She demonstrated the power of smartphones when she asked people to pass their mobiles along the row and watched as we all squirmed uncomfortably. Sarah left us with these top three tips:

  1. Embrace the connected consumer
  2. Use data to fail fast
  3. Constantly innovate

Then we moved on to a review of our top 10 Pioneering Spirit Awards. We were handed over to our panel of diverse international judges from London, Scotland, Leeds, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aries and Helsinki who gave us their insights on the top 10 case studies. The audience were asked to see if they could match the judge’s top three choices to be in with a chance of winning a bottle of Cutty Sark.

The top three ideas debated by judges at dinners across the world and scored by our international panel were:

  1. Troy Public Library for “Book Burning Party” – a campaign that prevented the local library in a US city from being closed.
  2. The Peres Centre for Peace  “Blood Relations” – with a new way of bringing together Israelis and Palestinians by inviting them to donate and share blood with each other.
  3. P&G for “Proud Sponsors of Mums” – Their brilliant Olympic sponsorship.

You can see if you agree with our judges by checking out the videos on the Pioneering Spirit Award website.

After a quick break, where we enjoyed a Cutty Sark birthday cake, we went on to the Ogilvy Lecture which was held in honour of David Ogilvy, founder of the Ogilvy & Mather network.

Rory Sutherland, executive creative director and vice-chairman at Ogilvy & Mather introduced the lecture and set the context by remarking on how impressed David Ogilvy would have been by the Pioneering Spirit marketing ideas and how much we all were the winners from them. In Ogilvy’s view great ideas had never depended on huge budgets being spent on glamorous television commercials, and these ten case histories showed how brilliantly a diverse set of problems could be solved by truly innovative marketing thinking.  

Ellis Watson, CEO of DC Thomson then took to the stage to give the inaugural Ogilvy Lecture.

Ellis has had an extraordinary career that has included working with such legendary media characters as Rupert Murdoch and Simon Cowell, and he described some of the highlights of the challenges he has faced. These included coping with Kelvin Mackenzie as the marketing director of the Sun, helping Michael O’Leary to get Ryanair off the ground by promoting £10 flights to Sun readers (and at one stage thinking he had bankrupted News International because of the promotion’s huge success) and now finding a new 21st century formula for DC Thompson - the publishers of the Dandy and the Beano.

His own ability to entertain is as good as many of the Fringe stand-up comedians. His straight-talking, no-nonsense approach, laced with wonderful anecdotes and laugh out loud stories, inspired us all and he left us with three simple rules:

  1. Avoid dementors
  2. Be brave
  3. Believe in what you do

After all this inspirational energy, we headed to a Mad Men style den in possibly the coolest venue in Edinburgh, the Assembly Club Bar, a converted underground car park! Delicious Mad Men Cocktails by Maxxium and beers by Innis & Gunn were gratefully consumed. We were treated to a mesmerising operatic performance by Antonia Cviic and heard from William Burdett-Coutts of Assembly and John Booth the senior marketer from The Scottish Government.

In the final part of our day at the festival, in the “Wines that Rock Quiz” an enthusiastic audience enjoyed the heady combination of a wine tasting mixed up with a rock music quiz. On the stage, the ‘Client Team’ of Roisin Donnelly and John Donnelly ('The Donnelly’s') took on the ‘Agency Team’ of Gillian McCormack and Murray Calder ('The Connelly’s'). Both teams had comedians to help lead them to victory in true Fringe style - Davey Connor and James Loveridge.

Mark Gorman tried to keep control as the Quiz Maestro whilst Ian Cumming of Forth Wines offered some insights on the wines being sampled. You can view our Marketing Society wine club website for further information and special offers.

In the end, after a bit of cheating and a lot of laughs, the Agency team won. Fred MacAulay rounded off a great day and a memorable evening with a toast to Kenny Harris. We are sure he would have loved it.

Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 04 Aug 2013
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