For the third year in a row, AOL was the premier sponsor of the Ad Age Small Agency Conference and Awards in Minneapolis. This one-day conference brings together 100 senior leaders from agencies all around the U.S. to network, share and celebrate their accomplishments over the past year.
During a fireside chat with John Coleman, CEO of last year's Small Agency of the Year, Via, AOL advisor and Chairman Emeritus of IPG, David Bell, shared how technology has leveled the playing field. He described its impact on agencies who no longer need to be big or part of global networks to deliver great work to big brands at home or around the world. A Minneapolis native himself, David has taken small agencies and turned them into major growth engines for global holding companies. Growth is a hot topic for all small business, and David shared his 4 Ps of growth: "People, Position, Projection and Pipeline."
Since David usually asks the questions (see our popular Voices video series spotlighting ad industry thought leaders), it was a real treat to hear him share his insights. He also emphasized the importance of corporate culture and shared some of his favorite new business pitches from his agency days, including having someone dress as General Patton to inform the client they "are going to war." The audience was thrilled to have him, and David acknowledged the special atmosphere in the room arguing, "Running a small agency is the best job in the world."
Following David's chat, AOL Director of Social Media Matt Knell gave a fun and enlightening presentation during lunch on telling brand stories through social media. To engage the audience early on, Matt announced an Instagram contest to win headphones -- attendees simply needed to deliver a creative image and tag it #thingsandpeople. "Things and people," Matt maintains, is what brings us together on the Internet, which is trending away from text and towards images. Online, a picture is not just worth 1,000 words, but 1,000 shares.
The day wrapped up with the annual awards at a nearby jazz club and this year's winner was Baldwin&.
Maurice Levy, CEO and Chairman of Publicis Groupe, joined David Bell, AOL Advisor and Chairman Emeritus of IPG, for an AOL Voices session live from Cannes Lions last week.
Levy talked to the evolution of the digital space and its impact on the advertising industry, and more specifically to Publicis. He reflected on the influence of technology and how it has forced brands to think about how they approach consumers, and make a difference in their lives. This philosophy is at the root of Publicis' mission to be the #1 human digital agency connecting brands and consumers worldwide. Levy encouraged marketers to listen to their clients, that paying attention to detail is the secret behind delivering great campaigns. Levy's tenure at the world-renown agency has spanned 40+ years, and has been "...a dream, is still a dream."
To learn more about Maurice Levy, including his thoughts on leadership, fighting fires and pursuing one's passion, watch AOL Advertising's AOL Voices interview here. A video series featured on AOL Advertising's trade site, AOL Voices spotlights ad industry thought leaders exploring the state of media and creative and the future of the advertising business.
More than 12,000 people gathered in France for seven days to discuss, debate and celebrate the best in creative advertising during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Among those attendees were creative agencies from around the world including Crispin Porter Bogusky, BBDO, Leo Burnett and the global leadership teams from brands such as Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Visa. AOL was on the scene, both on the ground and online, highlighting our thought leadership in online advertising and creativity through stage presentations, panels, events and activations.
During the "Engaging Generation Social" presentation, Rene Rechtman head of AOL Advertising International and CEO of GoViral, spoke about "high impact formats and how brands should concentrate on creating a peer-to-peer environment." Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington and Roy Sekoff presented "Tapping the Zeitgeist: The Participation Revolution, Unplugging to Recharge, and Tweeting Our Way to Compassion," a session about building a more human Internet. They also previewed HuffPost Live (formerly called Huffington Post Streaming Network) on a global stage for the first time. Video highlights from both sessions are available here and here.
AOL Agency Development, a small strategic team dedicated to building and strengthening our relationships and business across the four largest holding companies, held numerous meetings and events designed to dig deeper into the challenges, opportunities and successes in the agency business. During AOL and Interpublic Group (IPG)'s panel discussion on "Why Brands Matter," panelists from AOL, IPG, Initiative North America and Purpose spoke about the unique role advertising and creativity can play in building a better world. AOLer, David Shing also sat down with WPP's GroupM CEO Rob Norman and Y&R CEO David Sable for a discussion about the year's biggest trends, prior to a dinner for 40 WPP clients at the AOL suite.
AOL spent a full day with Publicis hosting two panel discussions, the first, made up of six senior creatives from across VivaKi and Leo Burnett, explored the best work of 2012 for an audience of 100 clients. Publicis ad agency Digitas also brought the highly successful Digital Content NewFronts, of which AOL is a founding partner, to their global clients in Cannes. During a private panel for 50 attendees, Karen Cahn represented AOL speaking about great partnerships and moving brands forward through AOL's Branded Experiences.
On AOL's last day in Cannes, we hosted a panel on the hottest topics and biggest stories emerging from this year's Cannes Lions. Led by David Shing and Jonathan Haber, Chief Innovation Officer of Omnicom's OMD, our closing event provided an excellent summary of all that was seen, celebrated and debated during the week.Check out more highlights from our trip to Cannes by reading our Storify recap below.
AOL took part in the opening party for the IPG Media Lab in New York last week. IPG is the fourth-largest ad agency holding company in the world and one of our key business partners. The Lab is IPG's latest investment in digital technology, a 5,000 square-foot space in midtown featuring a virtual closet, connected TVs, live social feeds and gadget of all shapes and sizes.
Both AOL's content and technology are featured prominently in the lab, including the oversize art by AOL artist Jason Gnewikow, who attended, featured prominently in the lobby. A post on the wall explains the AOL Artists program and directs people the site.
Original research by IPG and AOL on the Devil unit is also highlighted on IPG's Engagement Wall, while the 3D BMW ad on Editions by IPG Agency UMWW is featured nearby on the Mobile Wall.
AOL's presence at the Lab is a wonderful example of how great partnerships with agencies are mutually beneficial. We look forward to what's next with IPG and the Lab!