IDMF & Internet World - the verdict

yesterday i took the day out of the studio and headed to earls court for the international direct marketing fair, which ran alongside internet world. they two exhibitions were in the same venue with no real divide so for the purpose of the post we'll treat it as one.

the exhibitors
after a short time it was easy to put exhibitors in to one of three categories.

  1. noise - sadly this made up about 80% of the stands in the venue. the number of lazy, ill advised stands and presentations was depressing. everyone in this category used the same blue, scrappy stands with lists of overly complex offerings. usually flanked by middle aged men in suits trying to shove poxy leaflets in every one's hands
  2. clowns - 10% of the remaining exhibitors opted for the lowest common denominator. loud music, sweets, balloons, tacky gimmicks and glamour models women in fancy dress or barely any dress. With no consideration to what's being sold, they simply assumed that stacking them high and selling them cheap was the best way to improve their business
  3. quality - the final 10% fell in to the last and most respectable category. exhibitors who made an effort to find something useful to give people, or those how made it very clear who they were and what they offered managed to really stand out. Sense stood out as one of the best stands at the show. other good stands included cim, big kid, refreshed media and hotel chocolate (not sure why they chose this event, but it worked bloody well).
the keynotes
i managed to catch a number of presentations throughout the day. i have to be honest i was surprised at how many people were preaching or extolling the virtues of considering digital concepts at early stages of creative development.

are we still going over this?

i won't name and any names but hearing old school agencies talking about how digital needs to be considered as a serious route of brand campaigns seemed like i'd slipped back five years. these agencies are modelled on making massive profits from buying and reselling media space. now spend on tv and press is dropping they have no answer.

local boys nixonmcinnes gave a presentation on using social media. the talk was essentially about using social media networks as part of a marketing plan and how best to approach these new avenues. all of tom's points had merits, but it seemed unusually to be restricted to social media. many of his points on how to engage consumers and represent yourself with honesty are relevent to branding in general. i think he would have held court far more effectively in the 'brands reignited' section of the show.

Overall i felt a bit depressed by how little some people have moved on in their approach to integrating digital creative work in to their proccess. Some of the ideas in how to use emerging technology is so basic it harps back more than 40 years, to when advertisers were getting to grips with cultural changes and spending patterns.