MAD//Fest London 2024

Fortune favours the bold – Things we learnt at London's marketing, advertising + disruption festival.

More than 15,000 brands and agencies across the industry stepped through the Truman Brewery gates of London to come together, network and learn at the MAD//Fest 3 day festival. From masterclasses to innovation pitches, panels (including our very own Grace Charge) to merchandise, we got clued up on the key issues affecting the advertising world. A B2B dream, there were 10 stages discussing the hot topics of AI, technology, attention, innovation and leadership to get stuck into. With this year’s theme ‘Fortune Favours The Bold’ here are our highlights from the event.

Push culture forward

Fortune favours the bold means thinking how you can push culture forward with your brand. It requires great partners who can support being brave and encourage outside thinking to find the truth intention behind an idea. Is it unexpected? Can it shape culture and have longevity or impact?

The popular thing…or the right thing?

The aim for most marketeers is to create something that outlives your own career and provides real legacy and meaning for the world. But there was a lot of discussion how many get trapped doing the popular thing, as opposed to the right thing. Sometimes, being bold is having the confidence to stop a project, challenge your partners or clients or even skip a few approvals to be different and take a risk. Marketeers are all too often met with a clash at the C-suite, where all ideas are scrutinised, justified with numbers to the point where all originality and creativity to push culture has been squeezed out.

No Risk, No Reward

Risk is imperative to get the reward - you need to be brave to think differently! Always question if you’ve taken a risk. If you take away the risk, you take away the reward. Too often ideas are ripped apart for being too risky, but it’s when you step out of the comfort zone and take those risks, that the good ideas become great. Never wait for someone else to bring the energy. Never wait for someone else to have a good idea. What will happen if you do nothing? Nothing will happen! What are you scared of?

Think beyond a category

Challenger brands, disruptive brands are the ones that give the something unexpected. Nils Leonard from Uncommon agency succinctly put it as ‘you don’t exist in a category, you exist in a world’ – and work becomes monotonous if you only looked within what your obvious competitors are doing. Forging your own path helps with disruption and standing out.

The Human Factor is gold for brands and companies

Embracing AI that augments humans vs. replaces it. Machines are faster, more efficient and accurate in many things, but can never replace the qualities that make us human. Empathy, creativity, emotional intelligence, and the ability to connect with others – which are the foundations for many brands when it comes to marketing. If we are open to change, we’re going to be able to use AI and develop complementary skills for a powerful combination between humans and machines. Be inspired by data rather than dictated by data. Data can tell you what’s going on, but it’s up to us how to act on it.

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