Paul Yole's AdFest Diary: Day 1

IMG_5005 (1).jpgPaul Yole (left) is a retired planner who has covered awards shows for CB for over 10 years. This year he shares some observations from the 20th anniversary edition of Adfest.

The More Things Change...

The Adfest program has a high proportion of technology-based presentations this year.

This is probably a good thing because everyone in the business needs to learn about new stuff.

The only thing that concerns me is whether we are missing the opportunity to remind people (or educate them) about the unchanging truths of understanding and influencing human behaviour.

Which, after all, is our job.
I was also pleased to see there are quite a few sessions about craft.

Craft matters, a lot.

I only caught the end of a talk by Ryan McGuire from Cutters Studios on the subject of editing, but he made one point that stuck with me.

IMG_4997 (1).jpgIf you involve the editor earlier, and have him or her understand your brand better, you will get a better result.

Which led me to wonder whether people in the business today work too much in silos and don't make an effort to understand enough about the role and value that other team members bring to the table.

Alex Liu from Cheil scared the crap out if me.

In his talk about The Apocalypse of Creativity he suggested that through the wonders of AI we can now get machines to write like copywriters and draw like painters.

To see his proof, simply visit to see how they used data to create a masterpiece that could easily be mistaken for a Rembrandt original.

Impressive indeed.

However, I have a problem with this.

The whole premise is based on writing algorithms from lots of data, then replicating the practice.

By definition, the result will be formulaic.

So there's the rub.

Once you take out emotion and humanity, we really are doomed.

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