You’re Simply the (Euro)best

Last week, we found ourselves at the very exciting eurobest (yes, the ‘e’ is meant to be small) festival in London. From the same organisers as the prestigious Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, eurobest strives to showcase the best in European creativity and innovation in communications.

What did we see?

We were unable to make the first day of the three-day festival which was a shame but what we saw on day 2 and 3 more than made up for it. The festival took place in Victoria Basement, Bloomsbury, central London, an area synonymous with publishing houses.  As you’d expect from the organisers of the Lions, getting in, out and around the venue was a seamless and enjoyable experience. We’ve all been to conferences and trade fairs before, and while there is no denying their value, the atmosphere in these places is often quite dull; the same cannot be said of eurobest.

This year there was a floral theme to the branding which was placed all over the venue and on the programmes and bags which delegates received. It was like a trendy, arty version of your gran’s wallpaper that just draws the eye in. There were also giant screens from floor to ceiling which displayed all the shortlisted work from across Europe.

In terms of content, we saw a very lively debate, courtesy of Debatemate – an organisation that promotes youth empowerment through debate coaching. The motion was a contentious one to say the least, ‘The Rise of the Freelancer will Kill the Creative Agency’. The panels were impressive and put forward some very valid points. More of this anon.

We also saw a very witty and engaging talk by Ash Atalla, the co-founder and managing director of Roughcut TV. Ash has a string of comedic accolades to his name including the much-loved IT Crowd and The Office. After his involvement with these shows, he founded Roughcut TV which has produced hits such as Trollied and People Just do Nothing. In his talk entitled, ‘I’m a Massive Cult’ he delved into the theory that the age of the juggernaut comedy hit is over. He argued that once a handful of hugely successful TV hits reigned supreme but now they have been replaced by a plethora of more niche productions. Disruptors such as Netflix and Amazon have enabled this.

In terms of advertising campaigns, the indomitable Tourism Ireland took to the stage with Dave Monk, Executive Creative Director of Publicis London to talk about the globally-awarded work they have done promoting Northern Ireland by focusing on the fact that Game of Thrones is filmed there. It was nice to see Ireland represented at the event.
Dutch agency Media Monks delivered a fascinating talk on how they have integrated AR into their creative processes with astonishing results. They showcased work they had done with Audi and how they collaborated with Google Zoo to produce a mixed reality experience called ‘Into the Wild’ for Singapore’s ArtScience Museum.
One of the standout moments for us was the ‘President’s Address’ from Richard Brim, CEO of adam&eveDDB, well-known in the industry for producing the Christmas ads for John Lewis, so no big deal then! This talk was a real treat. He spoke about the power of ‘what the fu*k’. More specifically he related this to specific campaigns that they created. Some of the most original and creative ones came from an idea that elicited a ‘what the fu*k’ response from the creative team involved.  One such example is the ‘shoplifters’ campaign they created for Harvey Nichols. The brief was to create a campaign encouraging shoppers to sign up for the Harvey Nichols rewards app. The challenge was the fact that this target audience aren’t particularly bothered about the benefits of using a loyalty app so the team knew they needed something provocative.  They created a campaign which used CCTV footage of people shoplifting from the stores, their faces hidden by a cartoon image. The campaign was hugely successful and is well worth a look.  It is no surprise that adam&eveDDB came away with the Agency of the Year award at the festival.

What did we learn?

The future of the creative agency – although the pro-agency side won the debate on the day, we cannot deny the fact that clients are increasingly looking to freelancers to produce what their agency once did. We feel that a model like the one we adopt is a good solution, having a core team with a network of specialised freelancers with whom to collaborate.

Great creativity still wins the day – Tourism Ireland and Publicis London’s Game of Thrones work really hammered this point home to us. As part of the promotional effort for the initiative, a team created an eight-foot long Bayeux tapestry depicting the Game of Thrones. This now hangs in the Ulster Museum and is one of their most popular attractions.

Bravery pays off – adamandeveDDB are a testament to this. The agency has not been around for a long time, yet it has created one of the most well-known campaigns on the planet. Their work is innovative, fearless and original which is why they consistently win awards and maintain a desirable client list.

Ireland should host an event like this – attending events like this can be time-consuming and expensive but you come back full of inspiration and ideas. The festival is held in a different European city each year so who knows maybe Ireland will play host to eurobest sometime soon; it would be great to have it here.