I tagged along with fellow colleagues Inghar and Matt to attend my first Glug London event, held at Cargo in Shoreditch. As an advertising person grounded on the ‘account handling side,’ I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was hoping to be inspired and to finally see what these events were all about. It took us an hour to get there (although Inghar swore some app told her it would be 34 minutes) so we ended up standing in the bar area, which was unfortunate as I wore some cool, yet high, pink suede heels…you know, to try to fit in with all the creative types in Shoreditch.
The first talk was by Hal Happiour (yeah, I don’t really think that is his name), was a bit odd and had me worried that the rest of the evening was going to be boring. Basically, Hal got up and reminisced about his band and how they got out of their record contract and toured the US using social media before social media was ‘a thing.’ As an American, I hadn’t heard of his band, so I’m not sure how truly successful they were, but OK. Then he talked about an app he created called Happiour that companies could use to share Happy Hour events at restaurants, cafes and bars. I was bored. My feet started to hurt.
Luckily the second talk was a bit more interesting. Not following the agenda, talk number two was Yoni Alter who is probably best known for his amazing cityscapes, which I knew I had seen before, but couldn’t place.
He then shared his latest work philosophy as ‘showing something without showing it’. I viewed as a modern take on pointillism. Apparently, these works consist of sequins he has to make himself.
The next speaker was a guy from Manifest PR who insisted he only spent 5 minutes on his presentation that morning…which boy, made me feel special. He then proceeded to talk for 15 minutes trying to convince everyone that PR is not lame (because you can apparently swear a lot) and not all about writing press releases. He shared an impressive case study about Manifest’s first client, Brew Dog beer. As he told his story, he kept using the words ‘we.’ But I was left sceptical that the success had anything to do with him. I think he lucked out with Clients who had a clear vision, and the discipline to see it through. Then with this clear vision/brand positioning/personality, which in Brew Dog’s case was essentially about challenging convention, Manifest was able to develop ‘gimmicks’ to bring the Brew Dog brand to life and live that personality. Now I’m not saying the gimmicks weren’t cool, they were…but when you’re given a brand that has such a clear personality at the beginning, and Clients with guts, it makes it kind of easy, no?
The next talk was a refreshing change of pace away from boastfulness to humility. Margaux Carpentier just wanted to share her beautiful illustrations and process with us. She expressed how difficult it is to work with Clients and hear their critique, because her illustrations are her ‘babies and you want them to be loved.’ (Awwww. I guess our advertising creative team is the same?) She shared a story of how she had to develop an illustration for EasyJet in 24 hours…and then showed an illustration that I couldn’t hope to create in 1 year. Next, she shared an illustration of a leopard, toucan and pineapple all staked on top of each other… stating that she ‘did this before it became trendy.’ I must have missed that trend. Which is a shame because I thought it was cool, but better late than never!? She shared many other beautiful illustrations, but the one I’ll never forget was of a bear where the expression in the bear’s eyes left me with a peaceful, yet sombre feeling. I love it when art elicits emotion.
Next up was a company called Monorex. They started with a high powered, kick-ass show reel of their work that I would describe as street art. Then they actually talked, which to be honest was not as high-powered and kick-ass as the show reel, but they did have some eloquent ways to describe their work. They called street art ‘an essential medium’, which I agree with when it’s done well. When it’s just random ‘tags’, I think it just makes things look dirty. Essentially Monorex have a global network of illustrators, designers and street artists all around the world that they can activate to ‘take creative campaigns and make them more sensitive to the world they’re marketing to’ through executing high-rise murals, installations or other experiences. They describe their work as ‘charm rooted in the dawn of advertising,’ which summed it up well. An event they hold, and last year ran at SXSW for Chevy, is called ‘Secret Walls’ where two artists (or in the SXSW case, pairs of artists) compete illustrating two white walls with black paint. They described it as mixing sport and exhibition together. Looked like it would have been fun to witness!
My feet were now really starting to hurt.
Next up was Ben Rider, who is an artist that also, funnily enough, has done work for Brew Dog Beer (coincidence? I think not). Essentially, I would describe him as Frankenstein. He takes retro art apart and creates new art with it. The thing I liked about his talk, was that he focused on his process and took you through it. Definitely more difficult of a process than it seemed to me with the untrained eye.
And now my feet were done, and I took myself and my cool shoes home.
Megan Howard – General Manager