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Advertising Week

The Drum’s Guide to Advertising Week Europe: From ad blocking to Brexit, here are the must-see sessions


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

April 15, 2016 | 6 min read

Advertising Week Europe is upon us, and with four days of back to back panels and events lined up that familiar FOMO feeling is setting in. To help you get the most out of the week, here are The Drum’s top picks as well as some of the key themes to keep an ear out for.

Ad Blocking

The contentious topic of ad blocking will likely come up time and again during Ad Week Europe, but a number of sessions have set out to tackle the issue head on. The IAB will take change on day one (Monday 18 April) with a panel titled Ad Blocking: A New Deal or a Modern Day Protection Racket? which will bring together executives from The Guardian, Unilever, Mediacom with Ad Block Plus and Think Privacy.

Later in the week (Tuesday 19), The Financial Times will be joined by trade body ISBA, Maxus and Ad Block Plus to shine a light on the economic drivers behind the rise of ad blocking, the real impact on the industry and the effectiveness of publishers' responses.


Diversity is another issue the industry has been grappling with over the past 12 months, with some significant changes to how agencies and brands are making their organisations more diverse already coming into fruition. However, there is still some way to go. One panel not to miss, Modern Gender Roles in Culture: an Agency, a Brand and an Academic Debate, will be led by 72andSunny and joined by client Unilever.

Promising actionable tips on how to build diversity within organisations, creative network The Dots has gathered top marketers from Microsoft, Mr President, OMD, MullenLowe and the Black British Business Awards to look at what more the industry could be doing to foster diversity.

The Future of Advertising

With the a decision on Britain’s place in the EU looming coupled with some significant changes to be enforced by the government around things like how the industry advertises high fat and sugar products, it’s unsurprising that a key theme of Ad Week is around the future of the industry.

On Monday, MP and Minister of State for Culture & the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey will address issues such as the UK’s place in the global market and the BBC’s future.

On Tuesday, an extended panel will see some 14 journalists and leaders of the industry come together to debate the Brexit. Sir Martin Sorrell will be joined by Formula One Group chief Bernie Eccleson as well as representatives from The AA, The EU and the United Nations.

And on Wednesday, the Marketing Society has vowed to get into the nitty gritty of the industry and ask the questions not one likes to answer. Speakers from Unilever, Santander, Sainsbury’s and Travelex will be quizzed on everything from what annoys them about agencies, suppliers, customers, stakeholders, other departments in their business to a candid talk on how things can get better.

What’s next for programmatic?

Once again, programmatic is a topic that will be explored widely during Ad Week Europe. This year however, the big question is: what’s next?

The beginning of the week will see The Guardian and Yahoo delve into ‘The Programmatic Evolution’ and what to expect next in mobile advertising while Sky Media, Spotify and Rubicon Project look at the ‘Future of Automation’.

Amongst one of the more interesting session looks to be Can a Robot Make You Cry? which will bring speakers from the Washington Post, Microsoft, Rocketfuel and Clearchannel together to discuss if machines really turn out a John Lewis-esque advert.

The Drum Bus returns

The Drum will be hosting a number of its own events throughout Advertising Week which will see the return of our now infamous Routemaster bus.

On board, The Drum's news editor Seb Jospeh will host a frank debate on the futre of sports marketing in light of the seemingly endless headlines outing sports stars for doping.

Meanwhile a separate session on the Brexit , hosted by The Drum's opinion editor Cameron Clarke, will shed some light on the arguments for and against the UK leaving the European Union.

Finally, following the release of The Drum's latest guest-edited editon, advertising legend Trevor Beattie, co-founder of BMB, will discuss his experience of working on this special edition with features editor Katie McQuater.

For more information on The Drum's Advertising Week Europe plans or to register for any of the event mentioned above visit the dedicated website.

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