Johanna McDowell's blog

The inside track of AdForum's twice-annual World Summits

Johanna McDowell counsels clients and agencies around expectations in the advertising, marketing process. She is CEO of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), a division of black-owned marketing services group Mazole Holdings. Contact Johanna on tel +27 (0)10 594 0281, email her at and follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.
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[AdForum Worldwide Summit] Day one in the Big Apple

16 Oct 2012 13:23:00
NEW YORK CITY: We ate a delicious dinner at the oldest (former) synagogue in New York, now an art gallery and event space - organised by Ogilvy, who had hosted us earlier that day for a presentation - as part of the 2012 AdForum Worldwide Summit.

Ogilvy focused on their digital expertise worldwide, illustrating their positioning as a network for the digital age. They have 5 000 people within the worldwide network who are digital specialists.

“Analytics is the new DNA” commented Carla Hendra, worldwide chairman of Ogilvy RED – the strategic arm of the agency.

Moving to Publicis later in the morning, we learned more about their ongoing transformational work within its network – which leads to continuous reinvention and innovation - and I particularly noticed how they are building their presence in Africa and the Middle East.

'Branded Content and Entertainment' was the theme for the afternoon. We enjoyed a panel discussion led by David Lang, of Mindshare Entertainment, who informed us that 63% of marketers intend to use branded content and entertainment as part of their strategies in 2012, according to a recent survey by the ANA.

We met three agencies in the content space – Uncle Lefty, Big Fuel and NSG/SWAT – the latter being more of a conventional marketing services agency in fact.

Outtakes from the afternoon were “Without scale, social media is just a hobby,” from Avi Saver of Big Fuel, a social media and content agency.

Some interesting case studies were presented during the day, proving that ROI is becoming more and more important to clients.

Day 2 ahead – and another packed lineup with Wunderman and Proximity this morning and an afternoon of media with the Group M agencies. Dinner with The House this evening.

Best for now,

For more:The AdForum Worldwide Summit is a unique and highly focused event for leading Agency Search consultants from markets around the world, to meet and interact with agency network CEO’s and management teams from all disciplines including creative, media, digital, PR, direct, marketing services and more.

Agencies that consultants will visit include: Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Fred & Farid, Buzzman, Euro RSCG, BETC Network, Publicis Groupe, hosted by Group CEO Maurice Levy, Herezie, Proximity and BBDO

[16 Oct 2012 13:23]

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