Yesterday saw the second annual Newsworks Shift conference, an always thought provoking afternoon on the future of news brands, and this year was no different. And to top off the day, we saw PHD’s very own Emma Callaghan take first place in the Day Of Influence challenge, and a prize worth £300,000 of media space for Expedia.
The afternoon was structured around the enduring influence of news brands, and all the sessions were thought provoking and delivered well.
First up we heard from Jason Seiken, the Telegraph’s new charismatic Chief Content Officer. He believes “we are entering a golden age for newspapers” and that there’s “room for everyone” in the war between titles. He advocated the fast moving approach adopted by Facebook (whose motto is reportedly ‘move fast and break things’!), and explained the ‘failure metric’ for his staff – who are penalised for not failing enough! (the thinking being that to fail means at least trying new things).
He rounded off his section with a demo of Oculus Rift (still cool but I want to see some real brands actually use it!) and some impressive drone technology that will allow us far more access to stories like the 2013 Philippines disaster, or the UK floods, than humans can ever reach. An example here
Later in the session Alan Rusbridger found time (on his way to the airport to pick up yet another award for the story), to give a fascinating window into the Snowden/NSA story. It continues to occupy an important place on the global news agenda and his stance on the importance of investing in investigative journalism remains impassioned and very timely.
Sir Martin Sorrell gave us an audience talking about his influences, citing his father, the Saatchi brothers and Simon Schama as all playing their part!
Other sessions included an interesting research study on the love for news brands from David Brennan at Newsworks, with some interesting focus group characters (!) and a surprising piece from the John Lewis agency team, who revealed their annual print investment matches their TV spend, if not dwarves it. They claim to use print to be the “harder edge of an emotional brand” – very eloquently put.
By far my personal highlight however was the final section of the day, which came in the form of short 4 minute pitches from 3 finalists to the media ‘dragons’, as to how they’d spend a ‘day of influence’ and £300k investment from UK news brands.
Emma pitched her idea for Expedia and the Philippines, which aims to use this platform to push Expedia’s CSR project to drive re-evaluation of the Philippines as a tourist destination, after the havoc caused by last year’s typhoon – based on the insight that people feel guilty enjoying themselves in a country that is suffering so much.
Against some tough competition from Mindshare/Warburton’s, and Vizeum/Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Emma was grilled by the judges but won the audience over to be voted overall winner and will now get to activate her campaign idea. Look out for the activity on 22nd July!
Lauren Port, Innovation and Insight Group Manager at PHD