Day 4 of the 2014 AdForum Worldwide Summit in New York City

NEW YORK: Breakfast with Lowe and Partners was how we began Day 4 (Thursday 9 October) of the 2014 AdForum WorldWide Summit in New York City. CEO Michael Wall, informed us of the renaissance that Lowe is going through, as well as the various structural changes in the work.

Lowe has merged its Lowe Profero (digital) business into Lowe so that the agency is now a fully integrated shop. Significant business has been won in the past 12 months throughout the network of 90 agencies and the work that we were shown was particularly strong.
The Lowe network is also very strong on effectiveness in advertising and is no. 1 in Asia for this attribute.
Creatively, the agency network is enjoying prominence once more and is winning against stiff competition from some of the more obviously creative agency networks. The Brazilian agency, Borghi Lowe, is the strongest agency in Latin America and is a highlight of creativity within the network.

When it comes to Lowe in Africa, it has always had a presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, and continues to operate in those countries at a good level. In South Africa, the agency will be acting slightly differently, with Lowe Cape Town being considered more of a boutique agency and with Lowe Johannesburg — soon to have Julian Ribeiro as group CEO — rebuilding its offering within the country.

Lots of positive news for this network that had — for a couple of years — started to disappear. Watch this space.

Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Saatchi & Saatchi New York was our next stop and, again, a lot of news within the network.
Restructuring at the top, along with a whole new team in New York, is setting the stage for a return to the leading-edge advertising that the network was famous for a while back — and for many years.

Saatchi New York is led by Brent Smart, an edgy Australian who knows exactly what he wants to achieve within the agency. It is building a “maker” culture within the agency, with a focus on building campaigns and products for clients.

The network is building hubs of excellence, and not replicating services. Saatchi Synergise (recently bought here) is seen as a centre of excellence for search and SEO, for example.

Martin Agency
The Martin Agency was next. This is an independent agency, largely US-based, but recently opened in London. It is part of the IPG network and uses that to distribute the campaigns it creates for such clients as Oreo.
Strong on craft, devoted to great design and copy, with some wonderful case studies of fully integrated advertising which it has practiced for years. Clear thinking and highly creative — it was a highlight of Day 4.

Brooklyn Brothers
Last stop was the Brooklyn Brothers, another micro-network and one we met three years ago in New York.
Famous for its work around Iceland and Iceland tourism, this agency network has expanded its client list to include Jaguar and Castrol, and is producing excellent creative work that again produces great results. Refreshing in its approach and lots of fun.
Offices are in London, New York and Sao Paulo, and network offices are in other significant places, including Cape Town, where it has a partnership with insights agency Tag.

And that was Day 4.

Day 3 of the 2014 AdForum Worldwide Summit in New York City

Day 3 of the 2014 AdForum Worldwide Summit in New York City was a spectacular day where we, as consultants, were exposed to work of a world-leading quality in our industry. It is extraordinary how talented the advertising community is and how adaptable.
Mark O’Brien, global CEO of DDB, treated us to an hour-and-a-half of fabulous DDB work from around the globe, and commented upon a few things:
• Agencies these days need to come up with much more than just advertising
• Advertising these days is a world of partnerships and collaborations, and this is a new skills set that agencies must acquire
• DDBX is the mobile division of DDB which was started in Chicago and will be rolled out around the world
• Key trends:
o Talent
o Activation
o Technology
o Storytelling
o Culture
The visit to DDB was low key — they are a humble crowd — and high quality. Magnificent work.
O’Brien also commented on the importance of Africa to them and that they see Africa as their next major growth area. Very heartening.
Crispin Porter & Bogusky
Next up was Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which apparently has a relationship with our very own Joe Public — but just an association — no more than that at this stage.
CP&B, which I first met four years ago in Copenhagen, is micro-network, highly talented, deep digital. Superb work. Its mission is to create work that is talked about. Some wonderful case studies and a “real-time” client-tracking board so that it can keep up with its clients hourly and daily — a fabulous tool.
The very impressive OMD ended the day — the first time we have seen this agency ever on AdForum — and it is so much more than just a media agency.
OMD’s data and sales processes are way ahead of anything I have seen before, with a great deal of information at its fingertips and a unique operating system that has taken the place of any PowerPoint presentations. Clients can also be part of the operating system and this has been rolled out to all OMD offices worldwide. Another world.
And that was the day — lots of content, lots of input, and some stellar work. As consultants, we were completely inspired.

Day 2 of 2014 AdForum Worldwide Summit in New York City

Day 2 of 2014 AdForum Worldwide Summit in New York City was a big day for us, as we saw three industry leaders during its course: Maurice Levy, CEO of the Publicis Groupe, Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Worldwide and Gustavo Martinez, global CEO of J Walter Thompson.
In addition, we met with HUGE and its top team, as well as Story Worldwide, plus there was a good discussion about production decoupling — lots of experts!
Main takeouts
The main takeouts from the day were:
• The search for the best talent continues, and agencies will pay top dollar to attract the talent that they need
• Competing for this talent are not other agencies but Facebook, Google and the other digital empires that have been created in the past 20 years
• Lots of mergers and acquisitions on the go — again driven by the need for talent
• Machines talking to machines eg iPhones programming washing machines which time their cycles according to the needs of the electricity grid
• Everything can be measured — but this should not detract from the approach to the idea
• Doing business anywhere in the world is not easy — markets are flat; growth markets are not performing
• Decoupling and recoupling are happening everywhere — mainly with print advertising and far less with TV, as this is a more complex process. This trend will continue.
It was an inspiring day being up close with these leaders and listening to their thoughts on the industry in general. What is fascinating is how much they love their industry and how committed they are to it.
Strategy and creativity — digital or otherwise — win the day.
Opportunities abound
The large network agencies are regenerating, reinventing themselves; it is a constant in their lives. The smaller networks are growing and searching for new experiences, new ways to communicate. It is a great time to be in the industry and opportunities abound.
Day 2 was a day packed with insights and information, outlook and expertise. Clients apparently continually want agencies to be able to tell them “what’s next” and are keen to be first with new solutions. So the pressure to be innovative is intense for everyone.
No wonder New York never sleeps.