The Tech Off: Battle for The Future @ Festival of Marketing

The Tech Off: Battle for The Future  @ Festival of Marketing

festival of marketing

Innovation is the hottest of hot topics for anyone working in marketing. Just how do you deal with digital disruption, the ever shifting sands of online? It was this important question we set out to decide in a ‘Battle for The Future’ at The Festival of Marketing.

The Festival is now a landmark event for senior marketers from the biggest brands, with over 3,500 people congregating over two days in Tobacco Dock in trendy East London. This year saw a stellar speaker line up including Lord Alan “marketing tossers”  Sugar, astronaut Chris Hadfield, and cyber-bullying-patient-zero Monica Lewinsky.

Indeed we had a lot to live up to, as Marketing Week, Design Week, Econsultancy and the Festival itself all called us a “must see” event #blush

For a full set of our photos click here.

festival of marketing

festival of marketing

We set out the lower the tone of this illustrious event with our downwardly-aspirational mix of tech/wrestling/boxing antics, which (like our Tech-ometer App) we pushed “up to 11”…

For those that haven’t been before – The Tech Off is a regular event we run where speakers have 5 minutes to convince the crowd that they have the best take on tech. The most popular with our audience takes away the coveted Belt Of Tech, which they can defend at our next event.

To help keep our speakers on track, we invested in some security for the event in the comely form of The Fabulous Bakewell Boys – the deep North’s answer to Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock…HOW DO! The Boys invited Britain’s marketers to advance their careers with new Linked In profile pictures of themselves against our high impact “VS” backdrop…(these photos are from Twitter)

festival of marketing

festival of marketing

festival of marketing

We also had some fun flyering for our event!

festival of marketing

festival of marketing

Our session was held on the aptly-titled Tech Trailblazers stage, and we welcomed a capacity crowd with standing room only…Yet little did they expect what was to happen next, as MC “Danimal” strode to the stage flanked by our beefy security, brandishing the Belt Of Tech. “MAKE WAY” he cried, and the crowd duly parted…

festival of marketing

dan kirby

As always, The Tech Off is all about the quality of the contenders, and we were proud to introduce three digital heavyweights into the arena. They had only 5 minutes each to talk to our audience, who would then decide who would take away the Belt of Tech. And we were serious about the 5 minutes too – anyone going over the allotted time would be escorted from the stage by The Fabulous Bakewell Boys….

The pressure was ON!

Scott “Semtex” Morrison
Ex-Marketing Director of Diesel, founder of The Boom

festival of marketing

Scott warned us not to sleep walk into a digital doom-scenario, arguing that marketers are too afraid of risk, which is perceived as having too high a cost for them. But if marketers want a seat at the top table in a business they need to be shown to have vision, and the guts to deliver that vision.

Inspired by Jon Kotter’s book XLR8 Scott helps brands and their agencies build “Boom Units”, small agile teams that can act under the radar, and around the ‘rules’ of a corporation. This is the key to unlocking innovation, mitigating risk and helping drive real change.


Colin Lewis aka “The Pilferer”
Marketing Director BMI, and organiser of Ireland’s biggest digital conference: DMX

festival of marketing

Colin came on stage to Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog, and he demonstrated his canine cunning by showing us how to stand on the shoulders of giants – or as he put it – “copy” what others do. He illustrated how new ideas aren’t actually new, they are evolutions of an idea that came before…Elvis stole Hound Dog (and his hip shake) from Freddie Bell and The Bellboys, Picasso from African Art. Remember that Steve Jobs didn’t invent the mobile phone…

He absolved us of the perceived sin of ‘unethical copying’ by quoting the Bible: ‘There is nothing new under the sun’ Ecclesiastes 1:9.

He made us repeat after him: “Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate”


David “Badass” Bailey
Creative Director User Experience & Design at BBC

festival of marketing

Dave showed exactly how ‘Badass’ he was by refusing even to show any slides. With only the raw power of words he argued you have to upend where you think ideas come from. In their mission to create an ‘internet first’ BBC, his colleagues were having to look in different places for new ideas. Programme makers now ask the advice of UX designers, who in turn were asking for insight from the software engineers.

Despite cutting his teeth as a cool music industry designer in the 90s, David admitted that the cool kids were now “the guys in Star Wars T-shirts”. Maybe to unlock innovation in your company you need to rethink where ideas come from too?


It was now time to decide the winner, and to definitively decide who owned the future of marketing we took a step into the future itself – unveiling our Tech-ometer Connected Device App ™. We even had a new Wifi Signal Booster to ensure we could correctly interpret the sonic signatures from the crowd.

After a quick sound check, and with expert help from our security, the Tech-ometer swiftly concluded that the winner was…”The Pilferer”!

festival of marketing

Despite the bitter defeat, both “Semtex” and “Badass” swallowed their disappointment and congratulated the winner through gritted teeth while vowing vengeance. But at The Tech Off there can only be ONE winner…

If you like the look of this sign up for future events at

We’d like to thank all the fine people at Festival of Marketing – especially Ashley, Ruth and Rachael – YOU ROCK!!!

We’d highly recommend the Festival of Marketing – see you there in 2016!

festival of marketing

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