20 Aug 2020

The Nedbank IMC 2020, a first-of-its-kind virtual marketing conference

By Ole!Connect

Ole!Connect attended the first-ever virtual IMC conference on July 24th. The conference was originally due to take place on March 19th but due to the nationwide lockdown, it had to be postponed and reorganised in virtual form.

The virtual alternative themed “Marketing works. More than ever. Work it” did not disappoint. The entire day was a smooth run from start to finish with a series of inspiring talks from an impressive selection of industry experts and heavyweights. Co-founder and group CCO of Joe Public, Pepe Marais lead us through the day. He introduced each speaker, provided commentary between their talks as well as some of his personal insights gained over the last few months.

Highlights from the day included the keynote address by Fernando Machado, the Global CMO of Burger King. Streaming live from his home office in Miami, he gave an interesting talk that made a strong case for creativity in the industry and the need to push boundaries. He remarked that creativity does not happen overnight and needs to be nurtured slowly and with intent. He also acknowledged the importance of “first or nothing”, using the example of Duchamp’s Fountain and the “art or not” debate  –  suggesting that if you’re the first person to create such an installation, you’re an artist, after that you’re just a plumber.

Mzamo Masito, CMO of Google Africa delivered a controversial yet powerful address on what stands in the way of making marketing work in South Africa. He challenged the current situation in terms of race, gender, and inequality in the South African industry, reminding us that if we can solve these issues, the work we create will be even greater than it is now.

Throughout the day, several live polls were conducted, with some notable results emerging.  42% agreed that awards don’t matter, 71% responded that the reason the industry is lacking in creativity is due to clients who are too nervous to push it, and 47% felt that the biggest issue the South African marketing industry is facing is a lack of diversity.

Author, speaker and advertising guru, Patrick Collister closed off the day with his presentation on “The seven new rules for making marketing work”. He streamed in live from England, where he covered the importance of being purposeful, branded, data-minded, personal, social, involving, and innovative – noting to anyone who thinks it isn’t possible to achieve all seven, to think again because Burger King has shown that it can be done.

Other speakers from the day included Andy Rice, Alistair King, Andrea Quaye, Nthabiseng Matshekga, Zumi Njongwe, Lee Naik, Nandus du Plessis, Lee den Hond, Verusha Maharaj, Fahmeeda Cassim-Surtee, Amanda Cromhout, Mpume Ngobese and Suhana Gordhan. 

On the whole, the conference was thoroughly enjoyed  –  from the superb choice of speakers to the excellent organisation and high quality of the event. We look forward to what the IMC will deliver in 2021.

Ole!Connect has sponsored an IMC whitepaper, we'll be sharing this soon so keep an eye on our pages.