16 Nov 2016


Last week we shipped our MD Joe Wade (resident sharer of wisdom) to Lisbon for the 2016 Web Summit. We thought this was a pretty huge deal considering Don’t Panic was heading from Shoreditch to Europe’s largest technology conference.

Web Summit saw 50,000 entrepreneurs, tech professionals, investors, journalists, business executives, and political leaders from around the globe showcasing emerging technologies and to explore the impact of tech on the world.

Joe drew in the crowds with his talk on Comedy and Creativity. Noting that most ads nowadays try to evoke emotions, and the rise of ‘sadvertising’ is very much upon us. Why am I reaching for the tissues during an advert for chicken stock? Really, why?  There is also an increase in the number of award winning movies that are drama based as opposed to funny. Why does everything want to make us sad? And is this really effective? Advertising companies tend to go overboard on the amount of tear-jerking lonely old people or sad puppies and try to be emotional just for the sake of it. Why is this the case when funny ads would create a better positive association with the brand and the product?

With a packed Portuguese schedule, Joe then gave a talk on purpose in advertising. Mentioning that brands often just jump on the ‘cause’ bandwagon, associating themselves with a cause that isn’t really relevant. Hence, it just doesn’t work.

Some brands state a purpose that is just, well, ridiculous. Our personal favourite is Tinder’s statement that ‘Empowering women is a vital part of Tinder’s overall mission’. Right, ok, yeah…I’ll just leave that there.

On the other hand, a brand who (I’m sorry) nailed their purpose/brand campaign was PornHub’s “Give America Wood”. Pornhub launched a reforestation campaign on Arbor Day, promising to plant 1 tree for every 100 views in the ‘Big Dick Category’ and as a result were able to plant 15,473 trees. Proving if a brand picks the right cause it can actually help the planet, rather than just make empty statements to sound like they care about things.


Make sure you don’t miss Joe at these other talks coming soon:

  • Nov 17- Huddle: “When Purpose Goes Wrong and How to Get it Right”
  • Dec 1- Eurobest – “Comedy in Advertising”
  • Dec 8- “Behind the Headlines with Greenpeace”