Ethical advertising, Retail Media & CTV the three areas of focus that brought the, at times, standing room only, audience to the DigiAds Stage at MAD//Fest 2023.

Each of our speakers, panellists, podcast broadcasters embraced this year’s theme of “Riders of the Storm” giving passionately delivered insight and advice to inspire and challenge us all to do better and be better, using examples of real-world success and achievements. 

The entire first day on the DigiAds stage can be found here

Laura Wade, Global Head of Sustainability Strategy at Essencemediacom returned to the stage to kick off the Responsible Media sessions with a sterling presentation “43 months and marketing can make a difference to the climate” alongside Matt McIntrye, Global Head of Programmatic at Essencemediacom and Sophie Collins, Marketing Director of the circular audio-visual retailers MPB to share valuable insight and deliver a provocative “to do list” for the industry in order to be part of the solution in a growing low carbon economy. 

Dino Myers Lamptey, founder of The Barber Shop, went on to show how being “Responsible” is not only the right thing to do but generates a better ROI during his presentation that posseted the question “Can the collective power of advertising unf*ck the world?”

Post lunch, the stage was dressed, in record time, to provide the platform for Ben Downing, Global Managing Director, Ethical Media & Strategic Partnerships at Havas to record the LIVE Meaningful Media Podcast

“We need to recognize our influence and recognize our role in what is happening out there,” Jake Dubbins, Founder, Conscious Advertising Network. 

DigiAds is known for encouraging change and development within our industry.  To support this, Andrew Susman, Founding Chief Operating officer at the Institute of Advertising Ethics choose this platform to launch the UK Chapter of the IAE certification for advertising executives, a system that empowers professionals to create a positive impact and positive change within the industry.  

Andrew has kindly offered free enrolment to the first 500 MAD//Fest audience.  If you would like to find out more about this please email me

Retail Media experts took to and stole the stage.  Ollie Shayer, Omni Director, Boots UK gave a masterclass on the realities of an industry expected to $130bn by 2025, Chelsea Monaco, VP Retail Media at Merkle, showed us the opportunity for everyone in today’s retail media landscape.  Asos, Deliveroo, A million Ads educated us further on the retail media agenda.  

Every session from day two on the DigiAds stage can be found here.

Paul Wright, Head of Uber Advertising, accompanied by the dynamic Ismael Sadiq, Digital Strategy Lead at  The 7 Stars, gave an interactive session, with audience participation in exchange for Uber credits, the winner was decided based on their Uber Rating embarrassingly higher than my own, as Ian Whittaker, MD and owner Liberty Sky Advisors closed out the stage to give overview of how the financial markets view the opportunity from Retail Media.

Last, but by no means least, CTV became the focus for the last day.

Hayley Cochrane, VP Ad Sales at NBCUniversal kicked us off with a session that covered how NBCU is balancing the shift from linear to digital whilst navigating the current media landscape, with innovation and collaboration. 

Paul Gubbins, VP of CTV Strategy at Publica ran a dynamic panel of CTV experts for his 2nd year. Yahoo, Rakuten, ITV and Warner Bros. Discovery joined Paul asked, “What is really possible in CTV advertising?” in what was hailed the “must attend panel for the year”.  

Rhys McLachlan, Director of Advanced Advertising at ITV closed the session with an impassioned plea to the audience to make better decisions to enhance this new channel, learn from the mistakes of the past and do our due diligence on those we choose to partner with.  As is often the case in our industry, new channels and opportunities attract those with less well intended interest, as a reminder that all the glitters is often not CTV gold!

Gail Borley, Head of Brand + Digital Marketing gave us much needed clarity and a real-world perspective. We listened from a client-side marketer on how to practice simplicity through complexity in the world of CTV and channel fragmentation. And if you’re from an agency, potentially pick up some tips on how to make your clients' lives a little easier.

Collaboration had been a common thread throughout each session, and it was encouraging to see, competitive, brands, agencies come together and share experiences. 

I cannot thank all our speakers and sponsors enough, as we close down the stage for ’23 I am already in planning for ’24.  

If you would like to be involved next year, please email

I have said it before and I will say it again, next year “Were going to need a bigger boat!”

All the sessions are now on ourYouTube channel and over the course of the summer and next few months, we'll be be summarising and highlighting several of the standout keynotes, so you can have a weekly dose of marketing inspiration!