B&T was front and centre at the RESET conference yesterday in Sydney – an annual gathering of over 100 leading brands and their marketers.
There was a carefully selected group of speakers showing educational presentations for the lucky attendees – plus free coffee. One of the standouts was Shadi Halliwell.
Introduced as “one of the great marketers of the UK”, Halliwell has worked for the likes of the O2 and Harvey Nichols, and is currently the chief marketing officer at Three UK. It also happened to be her birthday.
Halliwell stepped up into the first speaker position to replace Bessie Lee, who was still on a plane. But it’s a blessing in disguise; there’s really no better way to start a conference than with dogs, dildos and designer dresses.
That’s the title of her RESET talk – and she starts with the former. One of Halliwell’s first lessons for the open-eared audience is to have a great boss – one that believes in you.
“If you don’t have a great boss, it makes your job very difficult,” she said.
Sally Cowdry is the former marketing and consumer director at O2 – and Halliwell’s old boss. She was also opposed to an ad that ended up being a huge success for the company.
“This creative was the best creative I have seen – it was mind-blowingly good,” Halliwell said.
But Cowdry absolutely destested it, and thought it was completely self-serving. However, she let Halliwell run with it.
The result? This glorious ad…
Halliwell worked at O2 for a grand total of 23 years – turning the dome of doom into the “best music venue in the world today” and pionerring the start of priority ticketing – a move that revolutionised buying tickets.
Her main advice to the audience was to be brave – which is one of the most important things for anyone in marketing to be.
“Keep pushing, keep going with it, don’t give up,” she emphasised.
And between presenting to Steve Jobs himself while stealing the first iPhone release away from Vodafone, to winning a Cannes Lion for a Harvey Nicholls ad, Halliwell has certainly been brave.