The Reception


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The purpose of purpose

The coffee-pot whistles on a dreary Tuesday morning, and the TV hums in the corner. A quick look at the calendar reveals a cascade of meetings, whilst you discover your beloved flatmate has (yet again) done the last of the milk. It might push you to ask: What is the point? Such is the frenetic pace of our culture, its daily demands and dramas, that it’s rare we have a chance to step back and evaluate the meaning of things. What is it that we are really driving toward or setting out to achieve? To earn some money? But then, why? For a house, holiday or a wedding? A limitless supply of milk? But then what follows that? You’re not the first to ask.

Indifference v alienation

Anyone who’s worked in this industry for long enough will have become almost numb to jargon and cliché. From “owning” calendar days of the year,(“how do we OWN Pancake Day this year?”); to consumers “feeling lost” in a consumer journey due to “a lack of a clear call to action”. But the most baffling cliché must be the notion that advertising has the ability to engage one set of consumers whilst simultaneously “alienating” another. We’ve all heard it. “We want to modernise and appeal to a younger audience, but we don’t want to alienate our existing customers”. “We need to speak to dog owners but we can’t alienate cat owners!”. “Alienation”. The definition of alienation is ‘to make someone feel isolated’. The feeling of isolation is an uncomfortable thought for anyone. Advertising, at its best, builds distinctive memories of brands in people’s minds.

International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women's Day we asked some of the brilliant women in our network for their thoughts on two questions: Which women they most admire and why? (They can be alive or dead.) What advice would they give to young women today on thriving at work in the marketing industry? Here's what they had to say, starting with our very own chief executive, Gemma.

Ad agencies on diversity

In 2016, a thunderbolt of MBA 101 struck the client side. That’s when several brands got vocal about their insistence that agency partners reflect the diversity of their consumer base (hat tip to HP, Verizon and General Mills). It seems embarrassingly obvious that consumer audiences (which are increasingly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and female-dominated) would jolt clients awake to the enormous economic opportunity of marketing to them from a place of understanding. Yet two years later, the very memo-writers who sounded the alarm (clients) seem oddly quiet about their role in supporting their agency partners in diversity efforts. Agencies are pledging allegiance to The 3% Conference, Free the Bid, AdColor, See It Be It, Here Are All the Black People, MAIP, the Marcus Graham Project. They’re setting diversity goals, hosting unconscious bias trainings, widening their hiring pools, firing serial harassers, creating returnships, and more. Are you not only slow to join in, but slowing the progress?

The Chief Magic Officer

At the infamous members’ club The Magic Circle, home to world-renowned illusionists and magicians, The Marketing Society and IBM hosted a very different kind of magic show; The Chief Magic Officer. Our two speakers - The Real Hustle's Alexis Conran and IBM's Jeremy Waite - showed us the magic of marketing, from how hackers are tapping into social media to attack business professionals to what the future of marketing could look like in just two years. Here are just a few things we learned: Scamming has nothing to do with your IQ but by being caught off guard We know what you're thinking: It will never happen to you. Surprise, surprise, that's what 95% of the public will be thinking but from having an app to replicate texts from a bank to hacking your social media accounts in order to infiltrate your business, Alexis Conran showed just how vulnerable we all really are. The main reasons people fall for scams? 

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Editor's choice

Women in power

It needs to be #UsToo, not just #MeToo, says Tracey Barber, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Havas UK.


When did we stop thinking?

Humans are limited to obeying, not thinking, writes Dave Trott.


Star Wars in China - a cultural context

China has a unique relationship with the science fiction genre, which we explored in our analysis of the way movies are marketed in China.