The theme for 2017 is Keeping Advertising Human.

At this year’s conference, international thought leaders curated by Contagious UK will share how to build for a technologically driven tomorrow.

For the conference agenda, click here.

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James Cooper

James Cooper
Head of Creative
New York

Branded Access Memories

What are the long term AI implications for brands? Going beyond simple chat bots and taking the concept of computer RAM - data storage which stores frequently used instructions and allows quick data access irrespective of physical location - we'll look at what might happen to brands as they become more like computer powered brains.

James has been Head of Creative at start-up studio betaworks since 2013. His role is to explore creative opportunities for betaworks products and tell the betaworks brand story. Some of the betaworks brands include the no.1 game, Dots, which has been downloaded over 150 million times and won a One Show pencil for a campaign with GE. Other betaworks products include Giphy, the search engine for gifs, recently valued at $600M, and Poncho the weather cat, the most popular bot on Facebook. James also produced 'The Intern' a hit podcast about working at betaworks and in the tech world. Before betaworks, James was a creative director in the ad world where he has won many awards including two gold lions at Cannes and ran Dare - named Digital Agency of the Decade in London and sold for $50m in 2007.

Marc Landsberg

Marc Landsberg
Founder & CEO

It’s the consumer, stupid

All interactions between brands and their audiences, should be centered on one fundamental driver: the needs and wants of the consumer. Brands exist to serve their consumers, and in a too-technology driven world, it's easy to forget this. Technology is merely in service of a brand's ability to better serve their key audiences. With better product. With faster service. With affordable cost.

@SOCIALDEVIANT, we fully believe that the best brand experiences are designed around human needs, human wants, and human truths. And the best brands not only understand this, but are shifting their organizational, operational and marketing ecosystems to put consumers first.

I'll examine how the best brands in the world are truly human-centric, and drive value and market impact by creating resonant value exchanges with their key audiences. Value for the consumer - be it functional value, emotional value, or both - and value for the brand.

Marc is the founder and CEO of SOCIALDEVIANT, a content marketing agency dedicated to creating value for brands in a socially connected world. Marc has 20+ years of marketing and M&A experience, serving as CEO of MRM and Arc, and as a director at Lake Capital. Early in his career, Marc co-founded startup Digital Knowledge Assets, a Web-based knowledge-management platform, with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Telecoms guru Tim McDonald.

George Emerson

George Emerson
Head of Agency Relations

Social Media or Social Mayham?

Many of technology's leading experts tell the Pew Research Center that uncivil and manipulative behaviors on the internet will persist – and may get worse. Will trolls, fake news, bot attacks and ad fraud prevail? Or is a positive outcome within our grasp? LinkedIn's George Emerson, an award-winning journalist and Internet pioneer, will lead a discussion on the tools to enable human connection at scale: to grow healthy businesses, protect our industry and strengthen our society.

George quit law school to seize an opportunity to be a broadcaster. He's won awards for his investigative journalism for the CBC, where he worked in the national news units of CBC Radio and TV, traveling internationally covering subjects as varied as the US presidential elections to wars in Africa and Latin America. He was twice honored by the National Magazine Awards, writing for Canada's leading magazines including Toronto Life and Canadian Business. He was also The Globe & Mail's first personal technology columnist, which grew out of his work creating some of the CBC's first digital media products. From the CBC he went to BCE, where he was on the team that created Sympatico, the country's first national ISP and online portal. From Canada's largest tech company he jumped into the world of dotcom startups - ventures that included the first interactive digital video; online fantasy sports; and the first company to build apps for mobile devices -- for the BlackBerry, before the iPhone came along. When the iPhone launched, George joined a startup to create a new category for luxury iPhone accessories -- where he learned how brutal it is to sell products through some of the world's leading luxury retailers, although along the way he was happy they put him in touch with customers as varied as Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and Kanye West -- the latter being the only reason his three teenagers had a clue about what George does for work. Today, George is proud to work with a company recently voted one of the most ethical in the world, LinkedIn.

Chris Barth

Chris Barth
New York

Keeping Advertising Human

We’ve already seen AI creative directors and programmatic creative campaigns. Will algorithms replace agencies next? Or does technology merely unlock human creative potential? Contagious will look at how brands and agencies are responding to advances in interfaces, platforms, and core technologies that have changed the way consumers interact with the world around them, and what we can do to stay relevant in the future.

Chris Barth is a Senior Strategist on the Contagious Insider team. In that role, he oversees a wide variety of projects for brands and agencies throughout North America, including trend interrogations, in-depth research reports, innovation workshops and collaborative strategic initiatives. He speaks regularly at industry events like SXSW, Advertising Week, the World Federation of Advertisers’ Project Reconnect, and Contagious’ own Now Next Why and Most Contagious conferences, among many others. Prior to joining Contagious in 2013, Chris worked as a staff writer at Forbes, an editorial producer at Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and a consultant at Arcadia Solutions.

Scott Knox

Scott Knox
President & CEO
Institute of Communication Agencies

The Reality of Driving Agency Growth

Scott is the President & CEO of the ICA and joined the organisation in November 2016. Prior to this he was Managing Director of the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) in the UK where he built a dynamic and diverse membership of over 100 agencies from the cutting edge of communications-strategy and creativity. As well as being listed in Campaign magazine's "A-List", he was featured in the Daily Telegraph's Out @ Work Top 50 as No.23 of the most powerful LGBT+ leaders in British business. In 2015 he became the Founding President of the world's first event LGBT+ group for Advertising and Marketing when he launched PrideAM.

Gabi Zijderveld

Gabi Zijderveld

Why AI needs Emotion

Emotions influence how we work, live, play, and communicate with each other. But today we're surrounded by hyperconnected devices and smart AI systems that have high IQs but no EQs. As our interactions with technology become more conversational, the emotional element is either woefully inadequate or missing entirely. How can we bring emotional intelligence to the world of technology, and what potential does that unlock?

At Affectiva, Gabi is responsible for all marketing, leading the strategic direction of its products and solutions, driving expansion into new markets, and growing industry awareness of emotion recognition technology. She has successfully positioned Affectiva as the leader in Emotion AI and has enabled the company to break into new verticals. Gabi’s career in high tech spans two decades. She has held a variety of marketing, product management and international positions, leading new product launches, go to market strategies and channel management for companies including ON Technology, Dragon Systems, Be Free, Centra and Segue Software. Prior to joining Affectiva, Gabi spent 8 years at IBM where she first led the product management team for the Tivoli IT Asset Management and IT Financial Management portfolio, and then worldwide marketing for Linux and Open Virtualization across the IBM company. Gabi has a graduate degree (Doctorandus) in Art History and Archeology from Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith
Lead Researcher
IBM Watson
Yorktown Heights, NY

Can AI be creative?

IBM Research recently created the first-ever cognitive movie trailer for the thriller Morgan by analyzing more than 100 horror film trailers. It shows how AI might be used in the creative industries and explores whether creativity can be analyzed and recreated methodically. In this talk, we describe how AI techniques were used to augment the process for the making of the trailer. We discuss recent extensions of the work that include automatic generation of highlight reels for sports and construction of personalized video commercials. We assess the advantages of using AI to assist in the production of creative works. We ask the broader question of whether Artificial Intelligence can be creative.

Dr. John R. Smith is IBM Fellow and Manager of Multimedia and Vision at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. He leads IBM’s Research & Development on image and video analysis and understanding including: IBM Watson Developer Cloud Visual Recognition, Skin Cancer Image Analysis, IBM Multimedia Analysis and Retrieval System (IMARS), Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA), and Video Understanding for Augmented Creativity. Dr. Smith recently served as co-General Chair of ACM Intl. Conf. on Multimedia Retrieval (ICMR-2016) in New York City. Previously, he was Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Multimedia from 2010 – 2014, Associate Editor-in-Chief from 2006 - 2010 and Standards Editor from 2003 - 2006. Earlier Dr. Smith led IBM's participation in MPEG-7 / MPEG-21 standards and served as a Chair of the MPEG Multimedia Description Schemes Sub-Group and co-project Editor of MPEG-7 Standard. Historically, with Prof. Shih-Fu Chang at Columbia University, Dr. Smith developed some of the earliest approaches for content-based image and video retrieval, including VisualSEEk content-based image retrieval system and WebSEEk, which was one of the first image and video search engines for the Web in 1995. Dr. Smith is a Fellow of IEEE.

Alex Tanguay

Alex Tanguay
Global Brand Director
New York

How Consumer Data Becomes Insightful Storytelling

Alex will explore how Spotify leverages culture, human insight and streaming data (often times all three at once) to engage its audience in brand communications. Through a mix of traditional and non-traditional channels, Spotify grounds its brand marketing in culturally relevant storytelling that, through music, tells its audience something about themselves, their listening habits and the world they exist in. In Alex's talk, she’ll take a look at a selection of campaigns and creative work that helps to differentiate Spotify by translating human insights into brand stories centered around culture, data and customer listening habits.

Alexandra Tanguay joined Spotify as the Global Brand Director in February 2014. In her 3+ years at Spotify, Alex has overseen the growth of the Brand Organization from one to nearly 20 and now leads three functions inclusive of Brand Direction, Brand Strategy + Experiential Marketing. Alex has been instrumental in evolving Spotify’s once internal “creative studio” to a premiere talent creative group leading global campaigns for Brand Spotify as well as individual artist/album launches + Spotify Original Content. Alex’s career has been diverse having worked on many brands from both the agency + client side... a short stint in publishing, a short stint in fashion and an undying curiosity to uncover the nuances that drive culture have given her the ability to view work differently, bringing to the table an unexpected array of experience and perspective. Previously, she has worked for brands like Nike, Jordan Brand, Mondelez International, JetBlue, Beats by Dr. Dre, Moet/Hennessy, Sprite, Converse and the NBA, helping them connect better to their consumers through emotionally and culturally relevant brand narratives and experiences.

Lucas Ives

Lucas Ives
Head of Conversation Engineering
San Francisco

The Character Imperative in Computer Conversation

Gone are the days of brands and ad agencies creating traditional campaigns around a single event, entertaining consumers once and then moving on. The advancements in voice recognition technology and the explosive growth of installed user base (Facebook Messenger alone has 1.2B users) have created an opportunity for brands to develop lasting connections with consumers. Businesses now must engage consumers in an ongoing conversation and provide compelling and interactive content that consumers can access on their own volition. A successful branding strategy should incorporate computer conversation anchored by natural language. Lucas will outline how businesses can find their brand’s voice, inject the brand’s personality into computer conversation script writing and create meaningful/results-driven consumer journeys through computer conversation.

Lucas Ives has made a career of occupying the intersection of art and technology. He spent the better part of a decade at Pixar Animation Studios in R&D and as a Lead Technical Director, building tools for storytellers working in the medium of 3D animation. For the past five years, Lucas has helped writers explore the space of conversational characters and decidedly non-linear narrative. Lucas leads the Conversation Engineering team at ToyTalk, an award-winning entertainment and technology company that combines art and science to create conversation with characters.

Presenting Sponsor:
The Globe & Mail

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Availability is limited to 150 attendees.
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JW Marriott
The Rosseau Muskoka
Resort & Spa
Minett, Ontario


May 17-18


For help, questions, etc.
416-482-1396 x 229