APG Noisy Thinking 2016

Our flagship evening event held 6 times a year in association with Flamingo. Each event addresses a provocative question or current theme focused on Planning & Strategy. These events are supported by Google.

What is a Brand Nowadays?

1 February 2016

David Wilding.png

Speakers: Dom Boyd, David Wilding, Mark Bell, Nick Kendall and Jane Buck

Brand Lessons from Brexit - Why did we stop listening?

19 September 2016


Speakers: Alex Batchelor, Helen Job and Matthew Taylor

Is big data making strategy irrelevant?

18 April 2016


Speakers: Les Binet, Lazar Dzamic, Shorful Islam and Leo Rayman

Why did we stop thinking beyond next week?

18 October 2016

Bogdana Butnar

Speakers: Richard Shotton, Dr. Guido Orgs and Bogdana Butnar

Collaboration in practice and how it can lead to great strategy and great work

6 June 2016


Award-winning teams told us how working together made the difference on Sainsbury's and This Girl Can

What transformed your thinking in 2016?

29 November 2016

Stuart Bowden

Speakers: Lilli English, Stuart Bowden, James Caig, Kevin Chesters and Fern Miller


It's been a momentous year with startling levels of change and disruption. And amidst the chaos there's been plenty for us strategists to chew on and do that magic thing of taking base metal and turning it into strategic gold. So we're pulling it all together for our final Noisy Thinking of 2016 and asking a selection of strategic magicians:

'What transformed your thinking in 2016?'

They'll each have about 5 minutes to tell us about what brought about a real change in their thinking this year, using examples both from 'our world' like the campaigns that have profoundly altered their perspective on what's possible, and anything from culture more broadly that has provoked a substantial mind change.
It'll be fast, furious and fun, and hopefully you'll go away feeling uplifted by the ability of our community to move the world a little by the power of thought and imagination.
Amongst our speakers will be:

Lilli English
Strategy Director & Partner at BBH London
Stuart Bowden
Global CSO at MEC
James Caig
Head of Strategy at True Digital
Fern Miller
International Chief Marketing Officer at DigitasLBi
Kevin Chesters
CSO at Ogilvy & Mather

Noisy Thinking is back on 18th October and this time we’re asking questions about long and short term thinking. The IPA and Peter Field’s excellent report suggests a shift to short-termism and a drop in budgets in the wake of the global economic crisis are eroding the link between creativity and effectiveness.  Digital and social channels encourage iterative strategy and a focus on the here and now. How are our brains responding to this change?  What has happened to our attention span? Is it true that we’re stuck in the short term, and if so what can we do about it?


We’re going to look at the question from three different perspectives. 

Richard Shotton is Head of Insight at ZenithOptimedia and interested in how we apply psychology and behavioural economics to advertising to make it more effective

Guido Orgs is a Lecturer in Neuroaesthetics and Psychology of the Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London

Bogdana Butnar is Head of Strategy at Poke and engaged day to day in the application of strategy to primarily digital campaigns. She may disagree with the question.

Why did we stop listening?
Brand lessons from Brexit
19 September 2016

What a relief it's been temporarily to put aside our painful post referendum analyses in favour of the arcane mysteries of the Omnium and the Keirin.  But the hard questions haven't gone away and we're kicking off the Autumn Noisy Thinking events by asking about our collective failure to have a finger on the pulse of contemporary Britain. So the theme for the 19th September is 'Why did we stop listening?  Brand lessons from Brexit'.  Our speakers will include Matthew Taylor, Director of the RSA, Alex Batchelor of BrainJuicer and Helen Job, Head of Cultural Intelligence at Flamingo London.



6 June 2016

APG Noisy Thinking on 6th June is going to be all about collaboration; collaboration in practice and how it can lead to great strategy and great work.


We've invited APG Creative Strategy Award-winning teams to come and tell us how working together made the difference on Sainsbury's and This Girl Can. You'll hear about the process of developing the thinking as a team and how it played out during the course of the campaigns.  And you can ask them some hard questions about how it worked and what really happened.


We set out to provoke, and whilst the topic drew a huge crowd there was far more agreement than conflict, despite an intriguing range of ways in to the debate from our 4 speakers…….…… (And who’d have thought, given the topic at hand, that one of the big winners of the night would be our excellent friend, qualitative research).


Les Binet | Head of Effectiveness at Adam&EveDDB dazzled us with his data, precisely nailing inconvenient truths, and even more precisely reminding us of some basic prescriptions for successful data based marketing plans:  Immediate responses should be rationally driven but if you want to maximise profit in the long term, take the emotional route.  Data is dangerous if you’re not looking at the whole picture. Chasing volume is a cost, not a benefit to a business. Getting people to pay more for the same stuff is the best plan and you can reduce price sensitivity by long term brand building.  And that is just a tiny taster of the incredibly clear advice based on rock solid data foundations, in Les and Peter Field’s excellent volumes The Long and the Short of It, and Marketing in the Age of Accountability


Lazar Dzamic | Creative Strategist from Google Zoo ‘where we eat data for breakfast’ is all about turning light into heat and mining Google data to give texture and nuance to the stories we want to tell through brands and campaigns. So much for old fashioned planning, you might say.  But more provocatively Laz thinks that we should ‘automate the dull 40% to 60% of ad campaigns’ – get the algorithm to do the donkey work and concentrate our efforts where we can make a real difference; that is ‘fame strategies’ that are powered by human brains.  Laz is a firm believer in collaboration as he thinks that strategy is too big for one person and with collaboration you can make far more of multiple data sets and complex consumer behaviour. “Data is still waiting for its Scorsese….’


Shorful Islam | Managing Director at Stream Intelligence noted the floating air of conflict in discussions about data and his plea is decidedly for peace and understanding.  Shorful thinks data should just live alongside strategy and that it’s simply another source of info like a book.  All that is happened is that we are now collecting and storing the signals that data creates.  It’s incredibly useful because data can help us understand the repercussions of an original action and then help you re-optimise customer journeys to lead to changed behaviour.  The role of strategy is crystal clear:  To set objectives and set out what ‘good’ looks like. ‘Data without strategy is pointless.  Strategy without data is dangerous’.


Leo Rayman | Head of Planning at Grey had the best video and examples of the algorithm at work: A robot consistently beating a human at ‘Scissor, paper, stone’ (the robot had a camera that allowed it to anticipate the the action of the human and win every time); a slowed-down visual of trading algorithms in the city and a somewhat dodgy poem written by algorithm. (Maybe give it Shakespeare rather than Taylor Swift lyrics to plunder next time?) He talked about ‘Edge Cases’ and imperfect algorithms and the fact the some of our best thinking comes out of illogic and apparent stupidity:  Dirt is good?  You have to be able to think ‘anti-intelligence’-style as people are unexpected and challenging.  The computer can win at chess but we tell the puerile jokes that have us rolling in the aisles.  ‘Augmented Intelligence’ is the answer perhaps: Doing our strategy assisted by fabulous machines like the Amazon success built on a combination of intuition, hypothesis and loads of testing.  So use algorithms as much as you can, but dwell at the edges like creative thinkers and be mindful of the ethical dimension.  We need to think really hard about the questions and the answers.

What is a brand nowadays?
1 February 2016

We kicked off 2016 by asking a fundamental question: What is a brand nowadays?

There was a prism of perspectives on the theme, by several people from different parts of the strategy universe, including:


Nick Kendall | Planner extraordinaire and former Group Strategy Director at BBH, now Co-Founder at BRO-KEN and the editor of an excellent new book: 'What is a C21st Brand?' 


Jane Buck | Global Brand Communication Director, Hair Category at Unilever - previously a Planner and researcher who now has a fascinating client perspective.


Dom Boyd |APG Chair and Group Director of Strategy at adam&eveDDB.


David Wilding | The media voice; he used to head up Planning at PHD and is now Director of Planning at Twitter.


Mark Bell | Expert in the strategic management of the on-line customer and brand experience. He is Chief Experience Officer at OLIVER.

Nick Kendall
12 February 2016
The first text in the IPA Diploma is 'What is a Brand?'
David Wilding
15 February 2016
I like it when we all watch the same thing
Dom Boyd
17 February 2016
What is a Brand Nowadays?
Mark Bell
23 February 2016
What is a Brand Nowadays?
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