​An Australian Creative Director and Strategist fumbles through life in America. Live from New York.

An Australian Creative Director and Strategist fumbles through life New York City.

Scrambler Hits the Road: Spikes Asia - A Round Up.

So there we are, my first proper conference, and my first proper speaking opportunity. And after all is said and done (over a week later), I'm...a little unsure of what I saw. By and large, the quality of the speakers was far stronger on paper than in reality, and from what I could see, there were very few clients there; instead, it was a bit of a backslap fest. Not ideal. 

There seemed to be two general trends to every single presentation: either the science behind how we (as humans, as consumers) make decisions/react to things (cognitive behavioural science) or the need to partner data with creativity to achieve more measureable results. However, mostly these subjects barely had their surfaces scratched, which meant that a) everyone said basically the same thing and b) everyone basically didn't say anything. 

The same statistic was bandied about CONSTANTLY: advertisements that win creative awards are 11 times more effective than so called 'non-creative' advertising. But considering the advertising industry both determines what is/isn't creative (all the juries of all the awards are made up of the very people who enter the ads) and also determines so called effectiveness (we had one trillion media impressions!!), it seemed hollow. Or at least highly intangible. 

Additionally, the same fucking case studies were shown Ad Nauseum (PUN). Guinness were highly lauded for a clever ad, but one that uses the MOST overused song in advertising (in fact, if you played this song over footage of knitting, it would still elicit emotion).  The whole Coke India/Pakistan campaign was spoken about: this is a campaign that couldn't be worse, or more arrogant, in my humble opinion. And finally, Dumb Ways to Die was circle jerked constantly. So yeah, not highly inspiring.

Takeouts? SAY SOMETHING. Even so called heavyweights of the ad world relied heavily on old world tropes (art directors are trendy!! Copywriters are slovenly!!) instead of saying something transformative, or even getting to the point of their own speaking topic. Talking about cognitive psychology should be more than simply rereading Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, or Thinking Fast and Slow: more often than not, I had heard this all before at Uni. And if you are an invited guest, don't get up and talk about yourself/your agency. Be interesting, speak broadly, and recognise that good work comes from anywhere. And above all, MAKE A BLOODY POINT.

At the conclusion of my speaking slot, I was satisfied simply to have people congratulate me on making a point, and having an opinion. Two different people told me 'At least you had something to say.' I was far from the best speaker, and far from the most popular. But this was something, at least.