Day 3 – 15 April

Our Friday and final day started with a bang as we headed out to Soho House for the remaining hours of the 2016 Spring Summit in Berlin.

We greeted our morning over breakfast with the MullenLowe Group presentation. True to form, it was clear, concise and informative. Naomi was her genuinely fabulous self as was the rest of the team. They structured the session around direct feedback from the consultants given following the last Summit as a way of showcasing their work in response to areas needing improvement or deeper understanding. Brilliant form and format. Well done!


From there we went downstairs to the Red Room in the lower level of the Soho House to meet Chris Hercik who leads all content for Time, Inc,’s The Foundry as well as the Sports Illustrated brand portfolio. Chris had just flown in to meet with our illustrious group of consultants and did a fabulous job bringing the evolution and offering of Time, Inc. to life, especially in light of massive technical difficulties we encountered resulting in moving from one room next door to the theatre.

Time inc

Being a great sport he illustrated (no pun intended) without the benefit of visual queues the entire proposition of Time, Inc.. He was lighthearted and full of humour and the close was made that much sweeter when all systems were a “go” and we had the pleasure of seeing visually on the screen what he had just explained so beautifully. The audience was interested and engaged all the way through.


Now that we were settled in and technically set, we assumed that the next presentation with Grey Germany would start without disruption. And we were almost correct as the CMO Chris Pietsch connected his deck to the big screen. After a few more “glitches” we moved smoothly into a straightforward presentation about the German market and Grey Germany’s place within it. As Chris has spent his entire, if not young, career at Grey rising to his current role, he holds a perspective of time and relevance. He did a lovely job and we were left with a strong sense of the agency and its work in this region.

Select worl

Our final presentation of the week was with an agency we visited in New York, Select World, who had a lot more to add to their story when presenting their German team from Hamburg (comprised of a Brit and someone from the US, as well). This agency who built their business around the luxury brand landscape very clearly demonstrated how prestige was just the beginning of the story and why luxury is a great foundation for creating rigorous communications platforms across verticals. The spirit and energy was strong and engaging, in no small part due to the leadership team. We concluded with a sumptuous lunch and then into our “closing ceremony”.


At the end of each Summit, we gather in a room where the attending consultants are given an opportunity to talk about their experience of the last days, give their topline feedback and observations (a teaser of what is to come from their deeper Feedback Questionnaire), and react to AdForum’s thoughts and questions on the next two summits to come. Here we reviewed October’s schedule, received suggestions, and got a sense of who would be attending. We also held a vote on the location for next year’s AdForum Global Summit in April. It is now safe to report …


See in you in New York and Los Angeles this October and Amsterdam in April of 2017!

Logo Summit Berlin

Day 2 – 14 April

Started this morning with a breakfast hosted by Robert Senior and Co. and Saatchi and Saatchi.


The venue chosen was MetaHaus (Meta Design) to demonstrate the synergistic new world of the Publicis Communications. An honest, passionate and straight forward message by Robert giving us a real life peak into the future and a direct reminder of what the agency client relationship was, is, and should be.

From there weIMG_7680 traveled across town to the Hirschen Group where we received a very true to German agency message. The team members are thoughtful and commanding and feel strongly about what they do and how to grow.


We then returned close to “home” where we heard from Blackwood Seven on their proprietary  media tool and the impactful influence they are having on brands near and far. Attention was  high and many questions were asked. They are the hit and threat of the media space, so much so that there was a recent (almost) skirmish on the street by someone warning that they should stop what they are doing.

Next in the lineup, after cookies and chocolate, was Robert/Boisen and Likeminded. Here we saw some very disruptive and funny work on how to increase city travel while increasing the Danish population. We also watched them make babies cry and put Valentine’s Day back on the map in a country of self-proclaimed haters of the holiday.

IMG_7684Just when we thought it could not get any better we had the distinct pleasure of being introduced by Publicis Pixelpark to the German tradition THE GERMAN KAFFEEKLATSCH!

We were seated at six tables where the six partners of the business rotated from table to table discussing the agency, their discipline and opening up dialogue. It was engaging and remarkably thorough. A real treat!


Our day ended at the offices of Aperto, the soon to be (as in today) German agency of IBM IX. We met the global team comprised of former agency folks and some lifer IBMers where we learned about their new in-house agency and what they are all about for their long term IBM clients and why they will be a very interesting alternative to future brand relationships. It was a great foundation for them to set for our next time together during our October AdForum Global Summit in New York where, in addition to meeting other teams members, we will meet WATSON.


Can’t wait and for Day 3 …

Day 1 in Berlin

 We started our day at the Gorki Apartments, the very cool hotel model where we are staying, made  up apartments in the former East Berlin. After gathering for a welcome lunch at Sauerkraut  Restaurant next door over beer and typical German Tapas (an oxymoron of sorts), we went upstairs  to the penthouse apartment of Gorki and had our kick off meeting with the group of 27 consultants  by AdForum.

Here we presented the agenda for the week, viewed the highlight video from last October’s Summit in New York City, heard from Oliver Klein of Cherry Picker enthusiastically share his vision of the German Advertising landscape, followed by Cesar Vacchiano of Scopen who generously provided us with deep insights on research he had conducted for our first agency of the day, Havas.Havas_logo-png

We arrived at the Soho House Berlin just after 3:00pm for the first ever AdForum CoolLab, a collaborative laboratory wherein the consultant community and agency share an interactive session of ideas, vision and feedback informed by the pre-workshop questionnaire and analysis led by AdForum in advance of the session. Havas bravely embraced this new model and was a part of its maiden voyage. Chris Hirst (CEO Europe) and Tracey Barber (Global CMO) took us through their vision and learnings and engaged the audience in a seamless way and demonstrated how Europe, with Chris in his new role, was going to set the example through the platform of culture for the rest of the Havas family around the world. And this seemed to work so well that Chris is going to deliver this content next month to his Global CEO Summit back here in Berlin.



Our next stop was to the Berlin Philharmoni, where we were hosted by the German agency Scholz & friends, and agency I had the pleasure of visiting while in Hamburg last month to meet their head of Business Development, Sophie Bourgin. Not only did they open with a beautiful cocktail gathering, they also succeeded at weaving in the true culture of their agency through a presentation that did not feel anything like the typical creds we so often see. It was all at once impressive, understated and full of humor. Percy Smend, Partner and CIO, hit every touch-point in the most subtle and appealing manner. He created an experience for us rather than tell us what we should feel. The crescendo came when we were brought into the concert hall for a live performance from the Berlin Symphony. During intermission we were served a lovely dessert and then ended the evening with an invitation by S&F to a beautifully appointed bar for a nightcap. Bravo to the Scholz&friends team!

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What a great first day ; can’t wait for tomorrow …

AdForum Summit starts in Berlin next week.

Berlin will host the European AdForum Summit this year. Commencing this Wednesday evening, 13 April, this bi-annual event will gather 30+ international agency management Consultants from around the globe.

We are berlin


During this unique journey within the industry, these influential intermediaries will have a chance to attend private meetings with CEOs from large agency networks such as Havas, Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi and Mullen Lowe. Additionally, local agencies such as The Hirschen Group, Select World, Scholz & Friends and Pixel Park will host events for this consultant community. There are also some unusual suspects who have also been invited to the dance this year such as Time, Inc. who will be introducing a new content production unit (The Foundry) and IBM introducing its iX division. is a leading information provider focused on the global advertising industry.
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