MAD//Fest 2022 simplified - takeaways from the UK’s disruptive marketing event (part 2)

July 2022
Lucy Montague
Read time:
3 minutes
MAD//Fest 2022 simplified - takeaways from the UK’s disruptive marketing event (part 2)

Following Part 1 of our MAD//Fest roundup, where we discuss long-term brand investment and customer-centricity, here we look at the power of authenticity and measurement.

Brands & their marketers must be authentic

Authenticity was a recurring theme throughout MAD//Fest. Today’s audience is super-sensitive to lip-service and being patronized. And, let’s be honest, there is a fair amount of virtue signaling and band-wagoning within the ad space.

Success is about finding the authentic story that sincerely reflects your brand's core beliefs and will cut through with your audience.  It’s not easy. After all, you don’t want to be a lazy brand (or brand marketer). But the rewards can be huge. 

Authenticity and the right angle enables you to do more with less.

In a panel discussion on the untapped potential of brand strategy in sport, Diageo’s Global Head of Beer, Baileys & Smirnoff, Mark Sandys described its “only Guinness can do” approach to signing off campaign creatives. 

At the recent Rugby World Cup, Heineken was the major sponsor, yet Guinness cut through with an authentic story about Gareth Thomas, the first openly gay rugby player. Building on established values and reflecting the approach of doing what “only Guinness can do”, Guinness gained greater value – and was the most talked about brand – despite not being the headline sponsor: 23 million people watched the TV ad when it aired during the Wales vs England match.

When brands talk about purpose, about creating and shaping new narratives in society, that can only be done by being authentic.

Authenticity brings its own protection, too. 

When the famous line, “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” was hijacked in the wake of Dominic Cummings’ infamous eye-test drive, people asked if the non-political brand was concerned. It wasn’t. As Specsavers’ MD Nicola Wardell said, “You can’t police your brand, but having authenticity of brand means it doesn’t get misused.”

Authenticity and purpose go hand-in-hand.

From finding a wedding in the heart of a country estate to locating a 7-year-old having an asthma attack in a forest, what3words demonstrates the balance between profit and purpose. It’s creating an ecosystem that businesses accept, and people use through listings, TV appearances, and training for businesses.

CMO Giles Rhys Jones described how what3words is building at scale and quickly becoming a normalised way of sending, sharing or finding addresses.

Across the sessions, we heard strong examples of brands demonstrating purpose and social awareness in authentic ways that reflect their roots: Cadbury’s fun and generosity; Vanish’s concerns about fast fashion and Dove’s long-running focus on body image, self-esteem, and the negative side of social media. 

Measure for marketing intelligence

The other strongly recurring theme was measurement. Not measurement for the sake of it, but meaningful measures aligned to goals. Measures you can respond to and act on.

Specsavers’ prime concern wasn’t cool, viral ads but helping people know they will get good eye (and hearing) care.

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt, as Senior Brand Manager Laura Gray told us, set goals of reach and of Cadbury Creme Egg being the number one product for Easter, ensuring the whole marketing team and partners were working towards those goals.

For Dominos, strong ROI and a successful campaign to help maintain trust with its franchisees as the business moves with the price-cutting times. 

Whatever your aim, meaningful measurement ensures true marketing intelligence. It helps marketers to quickly understand what works, what doesn't, and what action to take to optimise paid, earned and owned initiatives.

MAD//Fest in a nutshell 

Brands need to take risks to stay fresh, competitive, and relevant to their audiences. That means taking a long-term view but measuring along the way so lessons can be learnt and activities adjusted accordingly.

If we didn’t get a chance to speak at MAD//Fest, whilst the doughnuts are all gone, please get in touch with us here

Read part 1, to discover insights from Jack Daniels, No7 and Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland.