After an inspiring trip to the Windy City for ADMERICA 2018, I’m sitting on my flight back to Oklahoma City and racing to blog all the highlights from the American Advertising Federation’s national conference while the details are still fresh in my brain. It’s my second year to attend this conference with Oklahoma City Ad Club, and it has been four great days of education, inspiration and connecting with top advertising pros from around the country. I’m returning to Oklahoma City with new ideas, the latest developments in our industry and a ton of inspiration after seeing some of the absolute best in advertising at the national ADDY Awards.

There were a few trending topics at the conference this year: Culture, the Time’s Up Advertising movement and the progress our advertising industry needs to make on diversity and inclusion efforts.

Conference Highlights

Highlight #1 

“How Music Provides Context for Brands in Culture”

Corey Richardson (Cultural Anthropologist, fluent360) and Nidia Serrano (Multicultural Sales Marketing Lead, Pandora) spoke about the power of music for brands. They discussed everything from how music affects the hippocampus of the brain (impacting memories, cognition and our emotion) to how mainstream music serves as a marker for today’s culture.

Favorite Takeaways:

  • Brands have an identity, story and core values that should be the right fit for the artist’s persona, ethos and voice. When these align, the brand partnership shares purpose, equity and RTBs.
ADMERICA Conference
Corey Richardson and Nidia Serrano speak at the AAF conference.
  • A good example of this in action: T-Mobile & Drake
ADMERICA Conference
Corey Richardson and Nidia Serrano discuss the power of music at the AAF conference.

 

  • Corey Richardson on the questions to ask when your brand considers partnering with an artist: “Ownable: Is this something/someone that can be exclusive to your brand or one that shines in the company they keep? Relevant: Does the executional idea or activation connect with the lifestyle of your target? Contextual: Is it the right person, place and time for the brand to connect with your target?”

Highlight #2

“Intersectionality and the Pursuit of Equality”
Tiffany Warren (SVP Chief Diversity Officer, Omnicon Group) moderated a panel discussion with fellow “Time’s Up Advertising” steering committee member Emily  Sander (SCAD Chair of Advertising, Creative Director, Copywriter) and Taylor Yarbrough (Manager, Diversity & Inclusion at American Association of Advertising Agencies). After a powerful Times Up movement erupted in our Oklahoma City community this past week, this was one of the learning labs that I was looking forward to most. Tiffany discussed the significant movements this past year: the women’s march, “Time’s Up,” “March For Our Lives,” and Jay-Z’s “4:44” music video. Then, the panelists dove into a discussion of intersectionality and some of the issues our industry faces including unconscious bias, gender parity and a lack of diversity in the creative class.

Favorite Takeaways:

  • You have different layers and social constructs that can shape your life and in some cases give you advantages/disadvantages. View what makes you different as a superpower, giving you greater understanding, empathy for others and a unique perspective that you bring to the table.
  • “If you are leaders in your workplace, consider the people in those spaces that are being excluded, and how you can create spaces where they can bring their full selves to the table.” -Panelists

Highlight #3

“Innovation Through Venture Thinking”

In this keynote, Greg Welch (Senior Partner at Spence Stuart) interviewed Dara Treseder (Chief Marketing Officer, GE Ventures and one of Forbes’ “9 Marketing Experts CMOs Need to Be Aware Of”) about leading high performing global marketing and commercial organizations, investing in startups and commercializing IP.

Greg Welch and Dara Treseder speak at the AAF conference.
Greg Welch and Dara Treseder speak at the AAF conference.

Favorite Takeaways:

  • Dara’s top key performance indicators: revenue growth, ROI capital, lead conversion rates.
  • Marketing advice: “The medium is almost as important as the message.”
  • Dara’s top advance in managing teams: “Understand that the workplace has changed.” We’re living in an informed age—leverage the power of this. Younger generations entering the workforce seek to have a strong sense of purpose.
  • Her reading tips: Curate a list of books you plan to read at the beginning of each quarter. Her latest read? Earning It by Joann S. Lublin.

Highlight #4

2018 National ADDY Awards

The trends I noticed from this years’ national ADDYs show? Some of the best work wasn’t afraid to tackle tough social issues and get political. Advertisers are using brand equity to make a positive difference and play a role in mainstream culture.  The result? The best advertising work at the show this year left a strong emotional footprint and moved the audience to tears.

National ADDY Awards Show
National ADDY Awards Show

My Personal Favorite ADDY Winners:

Proctor & Gamble, “The Talk” (BBDO) – BEST OF SHOW

UPS, “Wishes Delivered” Campaign (T3) – PEOPLE’S CHOICE

Chipotle, “As Real as It Gets” (Venables Bell & Partners)

Doritos/Mountain Dew, “Doritos Blaze vs Mountain Dew Ice” (Goodby Silverstein & Partners)

General Electric, “Unseen Stars” (BBDO New York)

Lonely Whale Foundation, “Strawless Ocean Campaign” (POSSIBLE)

Coca Cola, “Share a Coke 1,000 Name Celebration” (Fitzgerald & Co)

Gatorade, “Sisters in Sweat” (Tool)

Xfinity Home, “The Neighborhood” (Goodby Silverstein & Partners)

American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda “Ultimate Get Well Card” (RPA)

Common Sense Media/Xfinity, “Device Free Dinner” (Goodby Silverstein & Partners)

Cuyahoga County Opioid Marketing Task Force, “KnowTheRx” (Doner Advertising)

 

View the full list of winners from the National American Advertising Awards here.