By Alex Blyth, CEO
Glug is a global organisation bringing together creatives from LA in the west to Sydney in the East for events involving creative inspiration, unfettered glugging and its trademark ‘notworking’ – like networking but actually fun.
It could hardly be more closely aligned to everything we’re about at Red Setter, so it was with a hint of embarrassment that we turned up at our first ever Glug event – a full five years after we set up our agency in Brighton. Blushes swiftly shifted to gasps of disbelief at just how impressive the new Havas London building is, and a beautiful sunset across the stunningly remodeled Kings Cross district.
As Mark Whelan, UK & Group CCO, Havas London, wasted no time in telling us, this building, housing 24 agencies and 1700 people, was a decision born not of financial expediency, but of a desire for greater collaboration – a recognition that the best work today is created by people who are experts in their fields, who understand the meaning of their clients’ brands, and who can grab five minutes with each other, or just bump into each other on stairways.
There followed a succession of speakers showing this theory of perpetual collaboration in action.
Lucy-Anne Ronayne, Creative Director, spoke of how she reimagines the briefs on brands as diverse as Optrex, Ballantine’s and Heathrow, and finds ways to express their meaning. She talked inspiringly about her editorship role on Riposte, a smart magazine for women, and of her work as a D&AD judge, particularly the work that organisation does to make our industry more diverse through programmes such as Shift.
Next up, Lisa De Bonis widened our eyes with the tale of the night, last November, that a machine predicted human behaviour better than humans did. EagleAi pulled together five billion pieces of data to understand the views of 12m US voters and to call Trump’s victory in a way that neither pollsters, nor the media, nor even Havas colleagues, fully expected.
The future is here, announced De Bonis. She told us that the technology is already cognitive – it understands, reasons, learns and interacts. Just because it doesn’t look like The Matrix or Blade Runner doesn’t mean it can’t deliver remarkable commercial benefits for brands.
Havas didn’t stop there. It pointed out that not only is it a sister company, through its Vivendi ownership, to Universal Music, but that the world’s biggest record label is moving in next door.
Whether it’s creative ideas, the leading edge of augmented intelligence, or access to the highest profile sports and music entertainers, Havas London can offer them all.
Just imagine what happens when they meet on the stairwell.
It was our first Glug event, and it was inspiring. We look forward to many more.