AWEurope’s Matt Scheckner on Propeller’s Dog ‘n’ Bone Podcast

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The Ringmaster Speaks: The Advertising Week Europe Impresario Chews the Fat on the Latest Episode of Dog ‘n’ Bone.

Events are a cornerstone of business for exchanging ideas, pitching new concepts to interested parties, setting out your stall and making handshake deals. Advertising Week Europe (AWE) serves these purposes and also reflects the concerns, passions and talking points of the wider marketing and media industry.

Like any platform, AWE must evolve and develop alongside the audience it serves. As the seventh iteration of AWE kicks off, it’s timely to share some reflections from Matt Scheckner, the powerhouse producer of Ad Week Europe, about the show and the industry.

The comments were gleaned when Matt joined us for a recording of Propeller’s Dog ‘N’ Bone podcast.

How things have changed at AWE

“You sort of go where the industry goes, so I think the mix of our corporate partners has changed. In our first year – and now I can’t even remember what the rationale was – but in 2004 but McDonald’s and Kellogg spent money with us. There have been companies that have faded in and out. Where it’s changed is as that as our geographic mix has changed and grown, we now have a number of global partners. So, Google, Facebook Adobe, Snap, Media IQ – a number of those companies now are with us in every market. Overall, I think the mix of partners has evolved based on the strength of the industry.”

Why events are important

“As the digital revolution has picked up steam and really taken hold of the entire business world, as humans that event experience has only become more important and I think it’s why the live entertainment business continues to grow  – Live Nation continues to grow and AEG continues to grow – and I think the business of the West End here in London or Broadway in New York has never been selling more tickets. Some of that, of course, is down to great shows. But some of that also is that as humans you crave that communal experience. We’re sort of in the navigation business and at end of day what people want is to hear from smart people about how that can be more successful. It’s the flip side of the coin where so much more of our time is spent buried in our phones, our tablets with our heads down.”

The development of content for AWE

“As our platform has grown, we’ve really been able to figure out a way to leverage it to talk about things that transcend our industry that are arguably as or more important. I think people want to be inspired, they want to be enlightened, they want to be engaged and  want to hear from people that are just interesting. Content around the work- life balance and  health and wellness, for instance, is very much in vogue as a topic.”

Agency network disruption

“I personally think the demise of those holding companies such as IPG, WPP, Publicis and Omnicom – well it’s very premature to write those guys off. They’re huge organisations with lot of terrific people at all at all the top places. There’s great work coming out of the big shops. You look at the job that Chris McDonald, who is from the U.K is doing – he is doing an incredible job at McCann in New York and his remit has grown. I think there are great examples that you can look at of great work being done by big shops. I think the media agencies have also continued to evolve. You know you look at a guy like Colin Gottlieb does over in EMEA for Omnicom Media. There are these are a force of nature people and they were doing great work in ‘92 and 2002 and 2012  and I would bet on them to be doing great work in 2022.

Approach to running a live event

I think you learn to take bad news well and at a certain point in one’s career you sort of either figure out what you’re doing or you’re never going to figure it out. And with no arrogance but certainly with a little bit of confidence I think we’ve learned over the years that we can take bad news well and there are things that you plan and can control. But when you’ve got in New York this year we had was thirteen hundred some odd speakers. London will be seven eight hundred this year. So clearly someone’s going to drop out right. Something’s not going to go as planned.

“Several years ago, we had Sir Martin Sorrell on stage with Bernie Ecclestone when he was still running Formula One and it was supposed to be about a half hour. And you know Sir Martin is not only a great interviewee but he’s a great interviewer. And Bernie is going to say what’s on his mind and unfiltered. And [the session] went on way long. But the audience was riveted. And it was a decision that we made in real time to let it run as long as they wanted it to. And it went for almost an hour and 10 minutes. For the delegates that were there and those that were watching on the stream around the world they absolutely loved it. Were there people that were supposed to be on you know at 4 pm and 5 pm. Did they love it? Less so. No. But in retrospect that was the right decision at that moment in time.”

You can listen to the full conversation between Matt and Phil on the latest Dog ‘N’ Bone podcast from Propeller. Look out for a DNB podcast sourced from our AWE session on March 21st ‘Tough Truths for Martech Vendors’ as well.

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