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Festival of Marketing 2017

Festival of Marketing 2017

The Festival of Marketing 2017 gathered together some of the most senior marketers from around the world at Tobacco Docks in East London for a two day event celebrating the industry. The festival was opened by the self-proclaimed ‘digital evangelist’ Stephen Fry, who gave the audience a stark warning about the “great tsunami” that is AI, and the emotional aspects of marketing that are so essential to hold onto in a world increasingly dominated by data and spreadsheets. Jo Malone, the closing headliner, talked us through her astonishing career, from leaving school aged 15 without a single qualification to her name, to making products at her kitchen table and creating one of the most internationally renowned beauty empires.

The venue was split between two floors, with talks hosted on the first floor and breakout spaces on the ground. The talks were organised under headings that ranged from Data and Analytics to lessons in Digital Transformation and Recognising Your Potential where The Pool hosted a panel addressing the badge of honour that busy has become.

The festival finished up with a live debate between the marketing greats Mark Ritson and Byron Sharp, that saw Ritson question key theories in Sharp’s book How Brands Grow. The discussion ranged from targeting to creativity and finally the mutual acceptance that marketing is not a profession to be ashamed of but rather it needs to be recognised as an important part of the real world.

Below we've picked out a few highlights from the talks.

The Headliner: Stephen Fry

Speaker: Stephen Fry, Actor, Author, Comedian

  • For Fry, Twitter is not a marketing tool, but you can use it as such. Twitter cuts out the risk of being misrepresented; it cuts out the need for the press.
  • AI is the “great tsunami that we’re facing and not ready for. We can’t sleepwalk into it.” Fry maintains that we were not ready for the onset of the Internet and for the change it would bring. But AI will move us into “human society 4.0”.
  • The world of influencers is “distressing, dreary and unimaginative.” Kids are more affected by their peers not by influencers; young people don’t want to be told.
  • There has never before been a time when we can safely say, everything is going to change. Fry’s advice? “Keep your nose to the wind and your eye to the skyline.”


How Seedlip created a category and what brands can learn from its success

Speaker: Ben Branson, Founder, Seedlip & Jack Hart, Stategic Business Director, Pearlfisher

  • For Branson, nothing is original; everything is a combination of everything else. But he found a gap in the market to create a complex, sophisticated, non-alcoholic spirit that would look good on the back bar.
  • Seedlip doesn’t market itself as a drinks company but rather as a nature company, creating a brand from merging Sean Connery’s James Bond with David Attenborough, Willy Wonka and the wonder of Wind in the Willows.
  • Hart examined the role of alcohol within our society, the reality that it has become ingrained into our social culture. But that has recently started to reverse with 41% of 16-24 year olds saying that they no longer drink. People are now willing to pay more for the experience than simply the alcoholic content of a drink.
  • Seedlip’s success has come through being familiar but new; both are essential. It feels safe and comforting but has introduced a product that didn’t exist. What’s key is to create desire, not disruption.


How Treatwell powers 25,000+ salons in over 27 cities across 11 countries

Speaker: Robert Simons, Group Head of CRM, Treatwell

  • The data that you do have, trust it and use it. Embrace data and you will be able to scale your business.
  • Email is not dead. 269 billion emails are sent every day; twice as many people use email then Facebook, so use the medium for your own marketing needs.
  • For Treatwell, their success has been built upon thinking globally but acting locally. Each campaign differs depending on the country that its shown in, all while maintaining a consistent customer experience.


The Headliner: Jo Malone

Speaker: Jo Malone, Founder, Jo Loves

  • The ground foundations that you put in place form the heritage of the brand you go on to build. The mistakes you make are just a doorstep; you have to accept the humiliation and move forwards.
  • Malone learnt early on that the power of authentic storytelling is as important as the point of sell. The currency of creativity has never been more important than it is today.
  • If you have a revolutionary idea, you have to be the first to market, as Malone was with the launch of her recently launched fragrance ‘paintbrush’ for Jo Loves.
  • Malone operates from the compass of 5 I’s: innovation, inspiration, integrity, ignition and (gut) instinct. Find your passion and run with it.


Visit the Festival of Marketing's website to find out more.

About the author

Izzy Ashton, Assistant Editor of BITE, Creativebrief

Izzy is a writer/researcher for BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She keeps abreast of the latest communication, technology and consumer news, and is responsible for conducting interviews with key agency strategists and creatives to gain insight into the most innovative global campaigns.

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