FRUKT’s Trends Editor, Giles Fitzgerald, and Creative Planner, Flora Page, spent yesterday afternoon in a packed out Purcell Room auditorium at London’s Southbank for the ‘World’s Collide’ seminar, hosted by the APG (Account Planning Group) in association with the Marketing Society.
The session, billed as a “mind altering strategy event”, pooled the collective minds of an eclectic set of speakers as they focused in on their own unique strategic approaches and sought to answer the question ‘What do you do to win, when you can’t afford to lose?’
Those taking to the stage to deliver their 20-minute pitches included former head of the British Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, international peace activist, Jeremy Gilley, ad maverick David Droga, and the master of spin himself, Alastair Campbell. Or - to place them in their native categories – ‘war, peace, ads and politics’.
Jeremy delivered an impassioned pitch showcasing how a simple notion (one day of peace) sparked a worldwide movement, not to mention a master class on how to squeeze a 2-hour presentation into 20 minutes by talking at heart attack inducing speed. A truly passionate guy, still with boundless enthusiasm for a project he has lived with day-in-day out for 12 years.
Next up was the General, who highlighted his strategy for maneuvering around Russian interference during the Kosovo War and Nato orders that would have resulted in "dead Russians and Brits having achieved the square root of f*** all”. After analysis, embracing the Russian contingent proved the most effective strategy. As Michael, clearly a well pattered after dinner speaker, said himself, “there are more ways of killing the cat than banging its head against the wall”.
David Droga, the lone ad representative on the stage (i.e. the only one not in a suit), focused on the need for human truth behind advertising, showcasing some of Droga 5’s more inventive ad campaigns, from the Jay Z Decoded book launch to Puma Social’s After Hours Athlete. "I've come from being seduced by creativity, to creativity with a purpose", said David.
Finally, Alastair Campbell outlined a list of acronyms that power his strategic thinking, his pathological fear of failure, and the art of visualising the victory. All peppered with a smattering of autobiographical anecdotes, from receiving midnight phone calls about the bombing of the Chinese embassy to playing charity football with Maradona.
The theme of the event felt like it got mislaid somewhere along the course of the afternoon, but maybe this apparent lack of structure is a lesson in itself. That not only is there strategic lessons we can learn from beyond our marketing boundaries, but that themes, structure and perceived goals sometimes stop the flow of creativite speech, thought and action.