Written by Bradley Moss, Senior Communications Executive and Abi Lofthouse, Communications Manager.

On Thursday 17th October, Eff Week came to Zenith in the form of four talks rounding up the highlights from this year’s effectiveness event.

Rich Kirk, Zenith UK’s Managing Partner (Strategy and Data) started off the day with What’s the point of any of this?!”, a talk which ran through the fact that as ‘The ROI Agency’ it is central to our proposition that we can articulate that value, and our own contribution to it.

One of Rich’s ambitions for the agency is that on every single account, at any time, we can give a PoV on how marketing is contributing to metrics shareholders and the CFO would care about.

Rich also spoke about the importance of getting better, as an industry, at telling a clear story on how we’re delivering success against overall business goals – vital to effectiveness.

Alice Kamara, Director: Marketing Effectiveness, Zenith UK led the second talk of the day: The Cutting Edge of Effectiveness in Advertising. This talk wrapped up of some of the best content presented at the main IPA Effectiveness Week Conference, from the importance of diversity of thinking to how we can continue to attract people with experience in tech to our industry.

We need to talk the talk: storytelling is essential: Alice brushed on the importance long-term thinkers within agencies. Delivering results is important, but focusing on short-term results often forces out long-term thinkers, who are vital to an agencies’ success. Data literacy is an incredibly important piece of this puzzle: as an industry we need to get better at using data to prove long-term thinkers are moving in the right direction and are helping us move towards our overarching business goals.

“We love a PowerPoint or an Excel spreadsheet, but we need to learn to make our work and stories dance” – Alice Kamara, Digital Planning Director, Zenith UK

Self-reflection is vital: In our industry, we can get very caught up with new emerging tech. From 5G to AI, we often see new tech get caught in the same cycle. Tech is hyped up, consumers then become disillusioned then their interest starts to drop off. Then, once capabilities and scale improves, people’s opinions improve. Because of this, self-reflection is important. We need to be aware of how consumers feel towards tech before we jump on the back of new tech.

One of the foremost voices in the field of advertising effectiveness, Orlando Wood, Chief Innovation Officer, gave an inspiring session on the creative-crisis affecting the industry: Addressing the Crisis in Advertising Creativity.

From Ancient Greece all the way up to 2019, Orlando pinpointed the exact moment in many eras that you can see a clear change in creativity and ways of thinking, which he explained was down to the switching between key thinkers being either left or right-brain dominated. These two halves of the brain “don’t do different things, but do things differently”.

According to Orlando, society is currently dominated by left-brain thinkers who are very literal and results-focused: this has led to a creative-crisis in advertising.

“Advertising has become too left-brained” – Orlando Wood, Chief Innovation Officer, System 1

The left brain is all about abstraction, menace, rhythm, self-consciousness with no ‘between-ness.’ The right brain is all about sense, time, connections and interactions and ‘between-ness’… for your brain to make sense of this here is a ‘left brain example ad, and a right brain ad.

Since the 1980s there has been a huge decrease in right brain ads – this is even more prominent on platforms such as YouTube. Orlando believes to reverse this crisis, the advertising industry needs to encourage a to swing to right-brain thinking, and we all need to get involved to make this happen.

For more information, see Orlando Wood’s ‘Lemon‘ presentation or watch a video Orlando summarising the talk.

For the final talk, Proving Effectiveness on your Accounts, Sam Dias, Director of Publicis Media’s Data Sciences team, ran us through how you can use existing Zenith methodologies to further an effectiveness agenda on your accounts. This was a really exciting session that helped explain how to put some of the great things you have seen presented through the Eff Week Sessions into practice.

Sam focused his presentation on the risk around the financial equation of ‘profit = revenue – cost’ and how changing this technique may just lead to something.  Sam put forward the concept that the industry needs to take more risks, and he argued that the “language of risk is missing in marketing.”

“Finance teams are waking up and getting closer to marketing teams… and many businesses have little more costs left to cut.”  – Sam Dias, Director of Data Sciences, Publicis Media

The London Business school argue that 70% of businesses time is spent on cost-cutting rather than revenue growing. What would happen if we turned that on its head? Making revenue is deemed as a high-risk venture, whilst cost-cutting is deemed as being low risk. However, the path to sustained growth is by changing perceptions on owned media assets, indeed the path to growth means you need to take a risk.


In the coming weeks a podcast rounding up the event will be released and shared in the Podcasts section of our site. Don’t miss it!

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