By: Chris Brook-Carter - 29 April 2004 15:51
As London flooded on Wednesday afternoon and early evening, I was in the safe and dry confines of the Mermaid Theatre in Blackfriars at the inaugural Marketing Society beverage conference, Liquid Inspiration.
My immediate reaction when first reading about the event was surprise that it had not happened before. And, given the turn-up on the day, there were a number of others who felt such a forum to debate issues, from innovation to trends in packaging and advertising, was long overdue.
There were a few criticisms that some of the content of the speeches was a little lightweight – but then these things are always tamer than you hope for. After all Diageo’s marketing chief is hardly likely to stand up in front of his competitors and hand over the company’s secrets.
That aside, the quality of the speakers was unusually high, with the definite highlight being a seemingly unscripted half-hour monologue from Sergio Zyman, the charismatic, one-time boss of Coca-Cola marketing, who now heads up his own marketing consultancy.
The subject matter, too, was varied and interesting, covering everything from premiumisation to innovation versus renovation, as well as insights into the behaviour of tomorrow’s consumers.
However, if I did have a criticism it was that, with the industry’s marketing minds in front of it, the conference failed to address two of the most important issues drinks marketers face today, alcohol harm policy and the problems of obesity.
It does seem odd that these two subjects were avoided, and it wasn’t clear why, but one hopes it wasn’t through a lack of determination to meet these difficult but important issues head on.
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