Advertising Week New York is set to launch next week, where marketing’s best and brightest will gather to discuss the big ideas, challenges and opportunities in advertising today. While concerns regarding creative differentiation, loyalty and relevance are to be expected, a key question to answer at this year’s event is: where agencies fit into the equation as brands seek to take back control, and how are new partnership models are emerging to help them do just that?
To help brands carve a path in this new landscape, our New York Monks are making the (long) pilgrimage to Midtown from their SoHo office. But another Monk is joining them: our Founder and COO Wesley ter Haar, who will be sitting on a panel discussion on the Roundel Stage at IMAX. We sat down with him to discuss what he’s looking forward to most about the event. If you’re keen to attend the panel and see what else our Monks are up to over the course of the week, find and follow all the details over at our Advertising Week page.
Hi Wesley! Can you talk a bit about the setup of the panel, and what you’re looking to discuss?
I’ll be sharing the stage with Sir Martin Sorrell, Joanna Coles from Boudica and Emily Del Greco, who runs MightyHive in the Americas. What’ll be interesting is that we’re being framed as a new holding company, but we’re not a holding company. We’re a different beast altogether, and what will be driving the conversation is the question of exactly how we’re different. If you look at what we’re doing from a distance, I’ll concede it can look a lot like how a holding company functions, so this’ll be a chance for us to get into the nitty-gritty of how we operate, how we think, and how our cooperation will feel, in practice.
It can look a lot like how a holding company functions, so this'll be a chance for us to get into how our cooperation will feel, in practice.
Interesting! What are you looking forward to at this event?
Panels like these are an interesting way to have a conversation, as an industry, about what the new phase of marketing services should look like. Having Sir Martin there, who near-single-handedly built the industrial advertising complex, together with two foundational parts of S4 – MediaMonks and MightyHive – should make for an interesting conversation. I’ve attended some Advertising Week events before – in Mexico City and Tokyo – and I enjoyed them greatly. I found them well organized and run, with interesting speakers. Plus, New York is the epicenter of the advertising world, so it’ll be one of the largest collective conversations we can have this year as an industry. In fact, we’ll have a presence at several of the events happening around there.
What is the biggest takeaway you hope to leave the audience with?
I hope people will come away from this event understanding that we are not just actively building something new, but are also authentically ambitious about our challenges: organizing around what clients need, what our talent needs, and what the industry needs to do from a cultural perspective. Hopefully people will come in slightly cynical, yet walk out thinking to themselves, “I might want to work there someday.”
Final question: are you nervous at all?
In life, or just for this event? [Laughs] No. I’m not nervous – I enjoy the fact that we are getting the opportunity to have these conversations with our colleagues, clients and frenemies.
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