Most Contagious is the acclaimed year-end event staged by Contagious. It makes sense of the most important trends in marketing, technology and consumer culture from the past year and analyses what impact these ideas will have on the immediate future for brands and agencies.
The event includes a full-day conference programme, with talks from Contagious as well as expert guest speakers, panel debates and discussions. There’s also a startup award competition and an exhibition to showcase disruptive ideas, innovative new technologies and the makers behind them.
For 2016 sponsorship enquiries, please email email@example.com
Contagious equips companies across the globe to achieve the top 1% of marketing creativity through our research platform, consultancy, quarterly magazine and live events.
Learn more at contagious.com.
‘One of the most interesting and inspiring conferences I have ever attended.’
Kay Etherington, Global Senior Manager, Marketing Excellence, Bayer Healthcare
‘A genuinely wicked show.’
Nils Leonard, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Grey London
‘Most Contagious was one of the better events I’ve attended over the past couple of years. Fantastic job to everyone involved!’
Dennis Maloney, Chief Digital Officer, Domino’s
‘The breadth of topics and calibre of speaker is outstanding. One of the best events of its type out there.’
Stacy Lee, Key Account Executive, Wella Brands, P&G
‘My first Most Contagious and I can safely say that Contagious events are the only ones I look forward to attending!’
Nick Geoghegan, Strategy Director, eatbigfish
Felicia Williams /
Felicia Williams /
Lisa McKnight /
Lisa McKnight /
Laure Murciano /
Laurence Blair /
Laurence Blair is the deputy editor of The World In 2017, The Economist‘s annual publication and platform offering predictions for the year ahead in global politics, business, techology, and culture. Now in its 31st outing, this year’s edition will see world leaders and commentators reflect on a host of powerful ideas about the future. A unique section in 2017 will feature 17 prominent millenials, drawn from different fields, looking ahead to what next year will bring: in sport, activism, technology, music, business and more.
Laurence is a journalist based in London. He has reported from across Europe and Latin America for outlets including The Economist, The Guardian, and the Financial Times, on topics ranging from politics and economics to narcotrafficking and guerrilla groups. Also an analyst for The Economist Intelligence Unit, he has been quoted and interviewed by Diario Financiero, Pulso, Brasil Observer, Radio Colombia, Radio France Internationale, the BBC, and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and addressed the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Latin America.
In January 2016, DREAMS OF THE SEA, his long-form report on Bolivia’s quest to regain ocean access, won the Bodley Head/Financial Times Essay Prize. Simon Schama, one of the judges, said that Laurence had “invented a completely new genre: magical journalism, at once fantastical and pragmatically droll.”
Laurence grew up in Weymouth, Dorset, and studied History at Oxford University before taking an MA in International Law and International Relations. He has previously worked as an English teacher in Russia and as a researcher for global analysis firm Oxford Analytica. You can follow him on Twitter @LABlair1492.
Porter Gale /
Porter Gale is an internationally known author, public speaker and start-up advisor with over 20 years of experience working in marketing, advertising and independent filmmaking. Currently, she is the General Manager of the Marketing Vertical for Globality, a new company that’s working on opening up global trade to small and mid-sized businesses. She is also an advisor for WePay, Zozi, Hint Water, Accompany, TrueFacet, AirPR, UpLift, SenderGen and N3twork.
From 2007 to 2011, Porter was Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America. Prior to Virgin America, she also held the post of General Manager at Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners San Francisco. She was awarded the Changing The Game Award, by The Advertising Women of New York (AWNY), was on AdAge’s Digital Hotlist, iMedia Top 25-Digital Marketers and named a Digital Passionista by The Huffington Post.
In the independent film world, Porter produced or directed documentaries that aired on Lifetime, PBS, Channel 4/England and in film festivals around the globe. Porter’s film work has been honored by the Directors Guild of America, The Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences and Filmmaker Magazine. She is also the author of Your Network is Your Net Worth, published by Atria Books. Porter has a BSBA from Boston University and a Masters in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University.
Bas Korsten /
J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
Bas Korsten is J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam’s Executive Creative Director and one of the agency’s managing partners, whose ambition and commitment to creativity has turned this local network office into one of the Netherlands’ most talked about and awarded agencies. J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam was voted agency of the year 2016 for the Netherlands; and with its ground breaking, double Grand Prix-winning campaign The Next Rembrandt, the agency also became the most awarded Dutch agency in Cannes 2016 by a long stretch, leaving behind the likes of Wieden + Kennedy, 180 Amsterdam and 72andSunny.
Bas originally graduated as Engineer in Logistic Management in 1992 and received a Business degree from the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) in 1994. Quickly realizing the error of his ways, Bas followed his heart and moved into advertising by landing an internship at HVR Advertising agency in The Hague in 1996.
By 1997 he had moved up to junior copywriter at Result DDB and within two years he had become Creative Director and Board Member of DDB Amsterdam. Under his creative leadership DDB Amsterdam was voted ‘Agency of the Year’ in 1999, 2001 and 2003.
He left DDB at the end of 2004 to start his own agency Selmore, together with partner Michael Jansen and three other founders. After growing Selmore succesfully, Bas left in 2008 to found creative hotshop Nothing.
In 2011 he was asked to join J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam as Creative Director, by 2012 he became Executive Creative Director, holding creative and strategic end responsibility on all clients.
Bas has won 28 Cannes Lions amongst which 2 Grand Prix (Creative Data and Cyber), an Innovation Lion, 3 Gold, 6 Silver and 4 Bronze Lions in 2016 for The Next Rembrandt project for ING Bank. He has won 2 D&AD Pencils, 21 Dutch ADCN Lamps, 19 Eurobest Awards, 8 Effies, the Epica Grand Prix for ElaN Languages in 2015 and numerous other national and international advertising awards. He’s judged at Cannes and The New York Festivals.
Bas is married and a father to four, plus an avid football player, coach and fan – especially of his brother Willem, who played for the English Premier League sides Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Emmanuel Flores /
J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
Emmanuel Flores is J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam’s Innovation Director who led the innovation, data and technology on double Grand Prix winning project ‘The Next Rembrandt’. Currently he’s charged with innovating the traditional agency model by introducing Agile and Lean productivity methodologies into an advertising context.
Emmanuel is a certified Scrum Master with a formal education in Digital Arts. Most of his career has taken place at the intersection of design and technology: first as an interaction designer and software developer, then leading and mentoring multidisciplinary teams on digital-driven projects. In addition to his work in product development and advertising, he is currently a visiting professor of Interaction Design at the Tongji University in Shanghai.
A self-proclaimed newcomer to advertising, Emmanuel believes that the most meaningful innovations are the ones that endure, and that these do not solely come from technology, but also through improving the way people interact, work together and inspire each other. As such, his preferred way of working is to support teams to become efficient, empowered, self-sufficient and as such more creative. A proponent of Design Thinking, he is stimulated by translating fundamental business questions into concrete audience-centered solutions.
Despite being new to the industry, he has already been awarded 16 Cannes Lions, including two Grand Prix (for Cyber & Creative Data) and the Innovation Lion.
Emmanuel (37) is originally from Mexico City but has travelled widely and lived in China, Italy, Spain and currently the Netherlands. He speaks English, Italian, Dutch and Chinese as well as his native Spanish.
Björn Ståhl /
Ståhl has been in advertising for 25 years, including 11 with Lowe in Stockholm and London. While at Lowe Stockhold, he and a partner started a second Lowe agency, which quickly became one of the best in the network.
For the past 12 years, Ståhl has been the ECD/CCO and a board member at INGO Stockholm, a part of the global networks of both Ogilvy and Grey. The agency rose rapidly to international acclaim for its creative, and was ranked the third-best globally and the best in Sweden at Cannes Lions 2016.
Ståhl has been a juror for many prominent award shows, and has himself won some 90 awards in the forms of Lions, Pencils, Eggs and other desirable shapes.
Ramona Liberoff /
Ramona has experience in her 20+ year career as a tech for good entrepreneur and long-time angel and social investor, committed to innovation and gender equity and access to finance. She previously led the global business between Unilever and Nielsen Innovation, where she also led Nielsen Europe’s CSR strategy and activities.
Craig Wills /
Hi Mum! Said Dad
Craig Wills is Managing Director and Co Founder at Hi Mum! Said Dad. He leads product and transformational strategic within the agency.
As an old industry hag, starting off in Australia and moving across to the UK in 2005, Craig has worked across markets and channels from ATL through to the mobile product and innovation space that he inhabits today.
Hi Mum! Said Dad has set out the be renown as the industry’s foremost mobile product and innovation company; Famous for delivering measurable impactful for brands and business through strategic insight and robust tech, all applied via creative experiences that resonate with consumers.
Paul Kemp-Robertson /
After graduating with a masters degree from Goldsmiths College in London, Paul started his career at corporate communications firm Maritz before helping launch shots magazine in 1990. After a spell in commercials production, Paul returned to shots and became editor in 1994. Subscriptions trebled under his tenure.
In 1998 he was appointed worldwide director of creative resources at Leo Burnett in Chicago. In 2004, Paul co-founded Contagious with shots founder Gee Thomson and media entrepreneur John Gordon.
Paul has written for publications including Business 2.0 and The Guardian, as well as co-editing D&AD’s The Commercials Book. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and his talk on alternative currencies has been viewed more than 438,000 times at ted.com.
Chloe Markowicz /
Chloe Markowicz is Deputy Editor of Contagious I/O – a bespoke intelligence resource that delivers strategic insight into brands and agencies around the world, and of Contagious Magazine, providing in-depth case studies on major global brands, company profiles and trend analysis features. She also regularly delivers tailored trend briefings.
Prior to Contagious, Chloe was a technology reporter at PRWeek, and following a stint in China at the Shanghai World Expo, worked as a freelance journalist for a diverse selection of publications from Restaurant Magazine to Vanity Fair.
Chloe holds an MSc in Gender and Media from the London School of Economics, as well as an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University.
Patrick Jeffrey /
Patrick is responsible for generating Contagious Trends across the magazine, I/O platform and at our events. He works with the rest of the editorial team to identify, analyse and publish these trends every month, and ensures that the content has a direct and demonstrable relevance towards the marketing industry. Additionally, he delivers Trend Briefings for both brands and agencies around the world and regularly speaks at industry events.
Patrick also writes features for Contagious magazine – either highlighting the latest technology trends or interviewing and profiling forward-thinking brands and startups. Prior to Contagious, he worked agency-side for 4 years, as both a strategist and a producer.
Dennis Maloney /
Dr Erin Marie Saltman /
Institute for Strategic Dialogue
Dr Chris Brauer /
Goldsmiths, University of London
Anna Pickard /
Christine Cattano /
Ed Sanders /
Head of Marketing, Google Glass, Google
Malin Hanås /
Rick Ridgeway /
VP Environmental Initiatives and Special Media Projects, Patagonia
Subject to change.
9:15 AM / Welcome
9:20 AM / Movements
The key events, themes and moments from the year that put the marketing world into context. From the world’s first AI hedge fund to the FBI requesting that Apple unlock a suspected terrorist’s iPhone, we’ll explore the events which unfolded in 2016.
9:35 AM / Machine Learning
Arguably the most important macro trend of the next decade, machine learning is increasingly underpinning businesses across a variety of sectors, including entertainment, retail and even food. We’ll be offering insights into how this new technology could impact the way that businesses are run and advertising is created.
9:55 AM / The Next Rembrandt
In April, ING Bank unveiled a ‘new’ masterpiece by famed Dutch artist Rembrandt. The Next Rembrandt, created with J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam and Microsoft, is comprised of 168,263 painting fragments taken from the artist’s body of work and offers a mighty convincing facsimile of the real thing. The team used 3D scans of Rembrandt’s existing paintings, machine learning algorithms and a paint-based 3D printer to create the digitally-engineered painting to great fanfare: the work received worldwide press coverage and won Cannes Lions Grands Prix in both Creative Data and Cyber. J. Walter Thompson executive creative director Bas Korsten and innovation director Emmanuel Flores will join us to reveal how they approached the challenge of doing what’s never been done before.
10:15 AM / Small But Perfectly Formed Pitches for the Most Contagious Startup Award
10:25 AM / Morning Break & Exhibition
11:00 AM / Welcome Back
11:35 AM / Small But Perfectly Formed Pitches for the Most Contagious Startup Award
11:50 AM / Gender
Concerns around gender reached fever pitch in the advertising world this year with a number of high profile firings. Out in the real world, the US presidential race kept the subject at the top of the news agenda with one of the two people shortlisted to run the free world beset by sexual assault allegations, while the other faced discrimination based on her gender. Our diverse range of Most Contagious speakers will tackle what this topic means in 2016 for marketing and business. The SVP and general manager of Barbie, which has been a lightning rod for women’s issues, will share how is the brand is ensuring the doll’s relevance for millennial mothers. We’ll hear about how an accelerator called Spring is empowering girls in East Africa and South Africa. And finally, we’ll learn about how Axe and its agency 72+Sunny helped the personal care brand triple sales growth by championing a broader vision of masculinity.
12:35 PM / Lunch, Exhibition and Networking
sponsored by Globality
Despite all the advances in the marketing world, why does the agency search process fail to evolve? The session will explore how relationship dynamics are changing with the rise of project work, debate the merits of choosing excellence over size and unpack hard-to-define chemistry criteria that make some agencies shine brighter than others.
2:00 PM / Welcome Back
2:05 PM / The Swedish Number
To celebrate 250 years of free speech and encourage tourism, The Swedish Tourist Association and Stockholm-based agency INGO gave the country its very own telephone number. The Swedish Number connects anyone around the world to a random Swedish citizen (who has signed up to help) to chat about all things Swedish – from politics to culture, women’s rights to Ikea. As of June 2016, the campaign had received more than 170,000 calls from 186 countries and generated more $146 million of media value with zero media spend. The campaign took home a number of awards at Cannes Lions 2016, including a Direct Grand Prix, and earned INGO the ranking of third most-creative agency of the year. INGO executive creative director Björn Ståhl joins us to discuss insights behind the award-winning campaign.
2:25 PM / Reality Check
Artificially enhanced environments can be used to create relevant, shareable, innovative marketing. We will cover the new creative possibilities that the fields of Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality have opened up this year as increased expertise, funding and adoption all make an impact.
3:20 PM / Small But Perfectly Formed Pitches for the Most Contagious Startup Award
3:30 PM / The World In 2017
The key predictions for shifts in politics, the global economy, leading companies and cultural trends in the coming year, from The Economist.
3:50 PM / Afternoon Break and Exhibition
4:30 PM / Humanised Computing
The way in which we interact with computers is on the verge of a revolution. Rather than having to learn how to engage with technology, we’re now communicating with machines as if they were people. We’ll chart how, this year, human language has become the new user interface and computers have become significantly better at understanding our words – the rise of the chatbots being the most obvious example of this shift. As we’ll demonstrate, this has implications for online search and digital retail experiences and has the potential to totally transform the way people communicate with brands.
5:30 PM / Most Contagious Startup Award
5:35 PM / Wrap Up followed by Networking Drinks
7:00 PM / End
Despite all the advances in the marketing world, why does the agency search process fail to evolve? To move things forward, Globality, a Silicon Valley-based startup has taken a new approach to agency search, using machine learning and human curation to improve how marketers currently source agency partners. Join us for a discussion about the power of a strong client-agency ‘match’, hosted by general manager of the marketing vertical at Globality and former CMO at Virgin America, Porter Gale.
The session will explore how relationship dynamics are changing with the rise of project work, debate the merits of choosing excellence over size and unpack hard-to-define chemistry criteria that make some agencies shine brighter than others.
Contagious invites people, companies and products from the Wildfire section of Contagious Magazine and Contagious I/O to showcase their projects. The exhibition is a chance for delegates to get up close and hands on with need-to-know technologies, products and services that will reshape the future.
Sponsorship opportunities are available in the exhibition. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org
This year’s exhibitors, so far, include:
Tilt Brush /
Google’s Tilt Brush is a VR experience that takes users into a virtual studio where they can create 3D works of art. The app works with HTC’s Vive VR headset and hand controllers, enabling users to make virtual brush strokes. Different colours and brushes can be selected from a virtual toolbox, alongside other fun options such as painting with stars, light and fire. Users can take a photo of their work at any time and can share it as a VR experience or animated GIF. Google claims that the app has potential beyond art and could help designers and people working in fashion sketch out new ideas.
Tilt Brush /
MAPO is a personalised smart mask that can analyse your skin. Created by Paris-based beauty tech company Wired Beauty, the mask covers the top of your face, with sensors on both cheeks and the forehead. These sensors can measure the skin’s temperature and moisture level, and will gather enough data for analysis in just one minute. The app then uses this data to track the health of the person’s skin and gives recommendations for routines and products they should use. For example, if a user’s skin gets drier in winter, the mask would be able to pinpoint the time they should start moisturising more, or suggest a more intensive product to switch to.
The Next Rembrandt /
We’re delighted to have a real masterpiece in our exhibition this year, in the form of ING Bank’s The Next Rembrandt. More than 300 years after the Dutch artist’s death, technology has brought his artistry ‘back to life’ with this digitally engineered painting. The Next Rembrandt is comprised of 168,263 painting fragments taken from the artist’s body of work and was created by ING Bank with J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam and Microsoft.
The team used 3D scans of Rembrandt’s existing paintings, machine learning algorithms and a paint-based 3D printer to create the painting. The initiative scooped two Grand Prix’s at Cannes and has divided opinion across the advertising, tech and art world. Is it really ‘a horrible, tasteless, insensitive and soulless travesty of all that is creative in human nature’ as one Guardian article touted? Or is it a fascinating experiment, blurring the boundaries of science and art? Come have a look and decide for yourself.
The Next Rembrandt /
If you’ve been eyeing up your parents’ wrinkle patterns to get a glimpse into your own future, don’t bother – 75% of skin aging is due to changing environmental factors and lifestyle choices rather than genetics. That’s why French cosmetics startup Romy Paris has created Figure, an at-home beauty laboratory for ultra-personalised skincare. ‘It is unbelievable that a bottle of classic skincare does not respond to major changes,’ says Romy Paris co-founder Morgan Acas. ‘We want to follow our consumer everywhere to give the best recommendations for their skin.’
In the style of a Nespresso machine, Figure combines a basic serum with capsules containing different active ingredients with varying skincare benefits. An accompanying app creates a real-time beauty diagnostic and recommends a combination of capsules that will help keep it in optimum condition.
To set up the app, users answer a three-part beauty questionnaire about their skin type, lifestyle habits and beauty goals. The app measures changing environmental factors such as the weather, pollution levels and the temperature of the air. It also connects with healthcare apps to measure activity and sleep. All this data is combined to create a diagnosis. For example, if someone usually gets 10 hours sleep, but last night only got 8, the app knows they will be tired and will recommend the right formula accordingly.
Once the optimum ingredients have been determined, users insert the capsule and select either light or heavy cream. Figure mixes it all together and produces a 1ml application of the formula on a spatula.
Pure Human /
Instead of looking at catwalk shows for inspiration, Tina Gorjanc turned to biotechnology. Her Pure Human project is a collection of fleshy totes and biker jackets complete with the freckles, sunburn and tattoo designs found on the body of the late Alexander McQueen.
Gorjanc’s work explores how genetic information could be extracted from someone’s hair and used to grow skin that mimics the tissue of the original source. While her collection was actually made using pigskin, not the famous designer’s cells, it was created to highlight issues around the exploitation of genetic material and how, for example, doctors can use biological material extracted from patients without their consent.
But Gorjanc believes that labgrown skin could have its uses: ‘Bespoke laboratory skin for cosmetic testing would minimise or even remove the use of test animals, while laboratory-grown leather could also replace some of today’s cruel leather-producing techniques.’
Pure Human /
Air Ink /
Marcel Sydney in partnership with Graviky Labs for Tiger Beer
Tiger Beer worked with MIT Media Lab spin-off Graviky Labs to turn air pollution into art supplies by attaching a device to the exhaust pipes of cars, boats and cranes in India and Hong Kong. The tool used works by capturing the carbon being emitted as soot and separating it from the other pollutants (like heavy metals). The material captured can then be mixed with oil and water to create paint and ink.
Delegates at Most Contagious will get to flex their drawing and writing skills with the Air Ink pens.
Future Flora /
Around 90% of the human body is composed of different microbes, bacteria, fungi and viruses that have a symbiotic relationship with our skin. But overusing chemical-based soaps and cleaners results in the removal of this microflora, which can make us more susceptible to infection.
To bring balance back to a woman’s most intimate area, designer Giulia Tomasello has developed an agar jelly-based kit that is designed to be worn like a sanitary towel. The jelly pad helps balance the bacteria that live in the vagina, which prevents and treats infections like thrush.
Tomasello believes that by engineering living materials, consumers can become active participants in their own health and wellbeing.
Future Flora /
Clement Balavoine, a French designer, has created Neuro: a platform that allows clothing to be created, customised and exhibited without the need for fabric.
The Neuro process is entirely digital, combining several forms of 3D software to build virtual clothes that can be fitted to virtual models. Designers can then alter the size, shape and fabric of the clothing – and conduct virtual photo shoots within the programme. Final pieces can then be 3D printed or laser cut to the exact specifications.
Watermelon Sugar /
As we spend more time online, health and wellness will increasingly become about taking care of our digital selves. Visual artist and designer Pamm Hong presents her app Watermelon Sugar, which visualises a user’s browsing history as a digital organism.
Like a Tamagotchi for analytics, it paints an intimate picture of a user’s online consumption, mediating his or her relationship with data and technology. Hong’s Digital Wellness Lab enables visitors to diagnose their online habits and receive a prescription to improve their digital wellbeing. Hong’s varied practice is informed by technology, materiality and interactivity.
Watermelon Sugar /
Real-Time Posture Scanner /
Microsoft & JMW Stockholm
According to Microsoft, one in four Swedes carry too much on a daily basis, and 50% of the country therefore suffers from back and neck pain. But the brand believes it has the solution: its Surface Pro 4 is both a tablet and laptop in one, and at 766 grams, weighs much less than most portable computers.
To highlight this product benefit, Microsoft – working with agency JMW in Stockholm – fitted an interactive billboard in a busy business district of the Swedish capital.
The screen used Kinect technology to analyse people’s posture and specialists were on hand to advise people how to carry their things in a more effective, less harmful way.
Real-Time Posture Scanner /
Microsoft & JMW Stockholm
Each year, Contagious shortlists six to eight Small But Perfectly Formed companies, as featured in the pages of Contagious Magazine, for the Most Contagious Startup award. The companies are selected for their achievements in investment, growth and disruption to their sector (forget sectors: some even created totally new categories).
A representative from each startup takes to the Most Contagious stage to pitch their company to the audience of 400+ delegates from the world’s top brands and agencies. This year’s shortlist will be announced at a later date.
Period pants startup THINX won the Most Contagious 2015 Small But Perfectly Formed Startup Award.
The brand’s clever reimagining of feminine hygiene products and purposeful stance on womens’ education impressed the judges. THINX were chosen for not only creating a product which brought innovation to a category which had seen no new developments for decades, but which also had the potential to positively impact millions of women.
Founder and CEO, Miki Agrawal, collected the award at the event in 2015. She said afterwards: ‘We have a lot of work ahead of us. There is a real gender-equality problem on our hands. Tackling that through creating a category disrupting product is a great start.’