Marketing Society: Amplify

David Bowie. Equality. Manboobs. What do these have in common? They are a few of Marketing Director Fiona MacPherson's highlights from MSS Amplify Festival!

David Bowie. Equality. Manboobs. What do these all have in common? They were my personal highlights of the Marketing Society’s recent Amplify Festival.

While people may enthuse about the great speakers and the organisation of the event, for me, the Amplify Festival was a chance to throw myself into pure marketing fundamentals for a full day and elevate my love for advertising. The day didn’t disappoint and did exactly that, with three talks focussing on different areas.

The Ogilvy Lecture

The day itself kicked off with The Ogilvy Lecture. I love the ethos and patriotism surrounding the tribute to David Ogilvy, the renowned advertising genius, and this year’s event, delivered by MT Rainey, deputy chair at Channel 4,

She began by declaring that being Scottish is her secret sauce. Brilliant.

It was an incredibly powerful session, focusing on the simple truth that “the consumer is not a moron”. Wise words.

Further stressing the importance of the audience being more important than a brand or product itself, with digital not just being an isolated tool, she finished off with another excellent clip, this time from the late David Bowie.

The Badger Debate

Inspired by the Scottish Government’s “50/50 by 2020” campaign, the motion for the debate was “Gender equality quotas lead to better-performing boards”. As a female director and mum to a young girl, equality is incredibly important to me as both a professional and personally. I went into the debate fully expecting to be swayed that quotas were the way to go.

Clare Smith from the Scottish Government delivered a highly emotive speech, stating that at the current rate of change it would take us 70 years to get boards to 50/50. In her opinion, forcing change is the only way to make it happen.

The first counter argument came from Chris Smith of RBS, who outlined that a softer approach was the way to go – getting it right is better than doing it quickly.

Garry Lace, University of Stirling, speaking for the motion outlined several countries that already have quotas in place that are working, including Norway and Belgium.

Roisin Donnelly from P&G ended the debate. Whilst clearly for equality, she made the valid point that it shouldn’t stop with gender. Speaking against the motion, she very passionately delivered many persuasive arguments that meant the audience voted against the motion.

I volunteered my hand just prior to the summary, suggesting that by enforcing quotas we may have the opposite effect, creating negativity towards women on boards and the perception that they don’t deserve to be there and are only in their position due to a quota.

Pioneering Spirit Awards: Clients v Creatives

The day ended with a bit of friendly competition between clients and creatives.

In this client vs creative event, each team championed a set of Pioneering Spirit Award ideas and the audience will determine the overall winning idea and more importantly, the winning team.

What a brilliant way to showcase some of the most innovative campaigns in advertising from all over the world. Here are a few of my favourites:

After that brilliant day, I’m already looking forward to Digital Day in October!

By Fiona Robertson, Marketing Director.