Brave Brands Win at the Ad Age Brand Summit

At this year’s AdAge Brand Summit the focus was on bravery as the driver of success, and it came through in every interaction I had through out the day.

Craig Dubitsky of Hello products (yes, he managed to trademark the word “hello”) talked about category-breaking toothpaste and his speedy success that was based on not following the “known” logic in the category. Fresh perspectives and a point of view on what makes sense for the consumer, not the industry, has fuelled this product’s early uptake in what I predict will only continue into a meteoric rise.

Tom Novak, CCO for Best Buy, an ex-agency man, quoted David Ogilvy’s famous line “Clients get the work they deserve” before clearly stating a boardroom position that advertising that is not provocative is fiscally irresponsible to shareholders— only 20% of advertising is considered memorable, so the other 80% of crap out there simply doesn't move the needle. Equally, he sang from all creatively minded song sheets when he professed that creative testing is the death of all good ideas… #truth.

Our Jeep client, Kim Adams-House and our very own Sean Reynolds held the second slot of the “Behind the Work” series demonstrating how to tell incredible stories with the Jeep Portraits work. Leo Burnett and The Art Institute of Chicago inspired conference goers to skip out on a session or lunch to go and catch the last few days of the Van Gogh exhibition that their Van Gogh’s Bedroom work successfully promoted. Both pieces demonstrated the painstaking craft and tight agency-client partnerships that are needed to make the kind of brave, provocative work that Tom Novak believes is “fiscally responsible to shareholders.”

The afternoon and evening were a leg-stretching tour of Chicago’s inspirational spaces – from Second City teaching us improvisation skills to encourage more “Yes, and-ing” to our worlds, to a few talks from brave and inspiring entrepreneurs and a tour around start-up incubator, 1871. Far more inspirational than a windowless conference environment– hats off to AdAge for being as brave and innovative with your conference format as we all need to be in our advertising.

Looking forward to next year!