Social Media Week – More than just a conference for M&C Saatchi LA

We’re sponsoring a conference.

If you had asked us two weeks ago to explain our partnership with Social Media Week, that’s what we would’ve said. Our logo will appear on websites, emails, and promotional materials, and a few more people will have heard of M&C Saatchi when it’s over.

Reflecting on our involvement in this year’s event, we couldn’t have been more wrong. We did so much more than sponsor a conference.

Conveniently located just a short walk from our offices, the week started with members of our team heading to Bergamot Station to scope out the various panels, sessions and master classes. While we anticipated interest from our social team, we were blown away by the excitement that came from the rest of the agency.

From creative to accounts to planning and design, every single department took something away from the week. Formerly somewhat of a redheaded stepchild of the industry, all eyes were on social media. It was a true testament to its growing importance within the traditional advertising model.

Conference room

On Wednesday evening, the team from Dinner Lab transformed our office kitchen into a dining room for a private dinner where the topic du jour was live streaming. Guests from Mattel, CBS Interactive, FOX, Vanity Fair, and more welcomed themselves (literally) via our “Is LIVE Quick Enough?” art installation featuring three simultaneous Periscope streams.

Over five delicious courses prepared by Chef Jason Fullilove, we had a lively discussion about live streaming – what it is, where it’s headed and what it all means for brands and agencies. Challenges like, “In the form of a toast, what is live streaming?” made for conversation that was fun and engaging. Everyone who attended left with new friends, a full stomach, and a heightened understanding of how live streaming will continue to affect the work that we do.

Is Live Quick Enough

The following afternoon, our Director of Innovation and R&D, Syed Naqvi took the stage at Bergamot Station for a fireside chat with the Founder and Executive Director/CEO of Social Media Week, Toby Daniels. In what could have doubled as a stand up routine, the two discussed the misconception of agency innovation and how we approach the challenges associated with the #1 most overused buzzword (innovation) at M&C Saatchi.

The duo got the audience involved with trivia questions, a Jeopardy-like board of teaser topics, and a Meerkat vs. Periscope battle. Among the fun, we were reminded of just how exciting it was to be even having a discussion about a topic that just a few years ago would’ve been completely taboo. And while insights about Brutal Simplicity of Thought, adaptability, and trust were all touched upon, we think that @dpgoodfellow summarized it best:

SMWLA

In an industry where conferences are plentiful, it was refreshing to have been involved in one that provided us a forum to spotlight social media within the agency, generate conversations with other industry leaders, and have fun in the process. Regardless of where this ever-evolving industry is a year from now, we look forward to bringing more fresh thinking to Social Media Week in 2016.

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