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Media Research Group Conference: insight and inspiration in Málaga

Media Research Group Conference: insight and inspiration in Málaga
Dan Brilot, chair of Media Research Group (MRG) and head of growth at Differentology speaking at the MRG Conference in Málaga 2023.

Mediatel Connected’s head of research Anne Tucker brings highlights from the Media Research Group conference, from overarching themes and standout speeches, to shenanigans outside the conference room.

Over 130 media researchers made the trip to Málaga last week for the Media Research Group (MRG) conference, the birthplace of Picasso, with a theme of Representing Reality.

With 32 presentations, three keynote speeches, two panel debates, and the Gala Dinner and Awards to fit in, it was a packed three days full of debate, laughter and sunshine.

Three brilliant and varied keynote speakers set the tone each day to kick off proceedings.

Phil Smith, director general at ISBA, took to the stage on the first afternoon with a great presentation which took in all elements of the media space. He also made the case to stop thinking of brand and performance advertising as two unconnected things, with activation the poor relation.

Flavilla Fongang, CEO of 3 Colours Rule, inspired the room on day two with tales of her challenges on her journey to where she is now in her impressive career as a Black woman in tech, reminding the room “what you have to create doesn’t exist yet”. Her strong message was that seeing more people like you inspires you, and that currently one-third of Black people are not feeling represented in advertising.

On the final morning Adam Larter, senior strategy director at Boldspace, woke up the slightly hungover crowd, having the room in hysterics with his highly astute and well-observed stand-up routine. Everyone in the room could recognise something from within his very clever tongue-in-cheek speech based on a media presentation.

Across the three days, over 30 presentations from companies representing all aspects of the media research industry, from media owners, agencies, trade bodies, suppliers and brands, all demonstrated the amazing quality of research that is currently occurring within the industry, inspiring the room.

Themes included the value of older audiences, the need for diversity, the importance of emotion and AI developments — and with speakers keeping to time it made the days move swiftly from one paper to the next.

Awards and shenanigans

Friday night saw the grand Gala Dinner and the MRG Awards, held at the stunning Palacio del Limonar.

Congratulations to all those who were shortlisted and to those who took the coveted trophies and certificates on the night. Personally, I was very proud that our Word Count Matters research, conducted by Jason Brownlee at Colourtext using Adwanted’s Audiotrack data, was named winner of the James Smythe Award for Best Realisation of Research.

With both Jason and I being close to James Smythe, a research guru and MRG stalwart who sadly died last year, it made the award all the more special to receive. Thank you so much to the judges for the recognition.

Well done to the MRG committee in producing such a well-rounded event, and particular thanks to Frances Sheardown at Kantar for all her incredible hard work on the conference.

For MRG conferences, much of the reason for attending is to spend over three days alongside your media research peers and this year was no different, with the calibre of the attendees making every chat in the networking breaks, bars and restaurants inspiring and fun.

As ever with any MRG conference there’s always shenanigans outside of the conference room. This was ably assisted by a large metal slide connecting the first floor and the bar on the ground floor of the hotel, thus providing a great spot for fun and games, and sadly a few stitches for one.

Meanwhile, tales of Spanish police at a bar at 4am firmly cement Málaga into folklore as one of, if not the best, MRG abroad conference. See you at the next one.

Anne Tucker is head of research at Mediatel Connected, under Adwanted Group, which publishes The Media Leader.

The award-winning Consumer Surveys app within Mediatel Connected carries industry leading research covering all media, from RAJAR, Barb, Ofcom, TouchPoints and exclusive surveys Video & Voice from YouGov, and Adwanted UK’s exclusive Connected Screens tracker survey.

To find out more about the Mediatel Connected data product, please get in contact at clientservices@uk.adwanted.com.

Tim Barber, Director, BVA BDRC, on 01 Dec 2023
“Hard to argue with that quote from Flavilla.”

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