Reflections on MAD//Fest 2019

 Mary Keane-Dawson, NED and Management Consultant

Did you make it to this year’s MADFest? I really hope you did, as it proved that as a broad church, from next-gen adtech to legacy brand advertisers like AVON, to global platforms SNAP and Amazon, to one woman start-ups DigiLearning and Appetite Creative, to Olympian sports star Denise Lewis and Ogilvy-legend-in-residence Mr Rory Sutherland, as well as our very own industry cynic, Media Lad, our industry can turn up, look and sound smart and surprise itself on every level. WELL DONE US!!!

If MADFest tells us anything, it tells us we can make a positive difference, we can sit competitor to competitor, we can collaborate, we can learn, we can dare to be different, we can speak our truth. MADFest allows us to celebrate our differences, giving us the space we can ask out loud what we need to do now to save the planet, as well as reinvent our business model, and engage our artistry to embrace our consumer, ask their permission and accept it when they tell us we need to change.

There are several key lessons I believe MADFest showcases perfectly – get out of your silo, meet the neighbours and talk to each other. Accept that we do not have all the answers, but by discussing our challenges we will be surprised and delighted at the solutions we find. There is still so much for us all to learn, and we can do this best by connecting in a relaxed, diverse, egalitarian and open way. Cross fertilisation isn’t just for the gardeners amongst us.

It is a great privilege to have been a MADFest Chairperson along with the lovely Paul Frampton, Ellie Scott Edwards, Tom Ollerton and Justin Pearse, as well as to have worked with Dan Brain and Ian Richard Houghton the co-founders, and real-deal superstars, who bootstrapped their way to realising a dream and delivering a truly outstanding event/experience, that makes us proud to work in advertising and marketing.

And if you didn’t make it to MADFest this year, then you’d be a fool to miss out on the MadFest Picnic in July and MADFest 2020 in November next year. I truly hope to see you there. Please come and find me, we can have a chat, and maybe learn something useful, and there’s the value, in and of itself.

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