My first but actually the festivals eleventh edition. With high expectations from “Dani Komunikacija 2018”, a lot of excitement and will to learn, this year we arrived at Weekend Media Festival.

Everything looked great – the large program with more than 3-4 lectures at the same time, the beautiful venue – old tobacco factory in Rovinj right next to the sea, and of course, Rovinj, a small, warm very Italian looking city which makes you feel welcome and relaxed as soon as you step in it.

I have to admit that the first lecture I visited left such a great impression on me that everything else seemed weaker. Pete Radovich was the CBS producer who opened Weekend Media Festival with this experience from working on “Teasing John Malkovich”, a video that won 3 Cannes Lions and 2 Emmy’s this year.

 I was already familiar with the main point of Pete’s speech – brands should develop stories not ads, but it was fascinating to hear how it took place in a huge production having the goal of promoting one of the most popular events in the world – preps for the Superbowl. You’ve probably heard/read this before – products should not be in the video from the beginning to the end, if you make people feel something, connect to the story, then they will remember your ad and your story. It was a well known story, but this time with a big proof that this approach works.

photo: Mario Pavlovic for Weekend Media Festival

Just a few hours later, I visited the workshop of Anthony J. Cortese a close associate of Pete Radovich who is responsible for editing all of his videos. They presented the making off “Teasing John Malkovich” step by step, explaining each segment of the video – from the quiet opening, to the change in Malkovich’s attitude and the triumphant ending.

The whole presentation was one big proof of the organization and planning that goes into a project as big as this one. Having only 4 hours with the main actor, they had to plan every second in advance, and they did it perfectly.

Unfortunately, the rest of Weekend Media Festival was not so impressive, it basically came down to repeating the very well known situation of media and marketing in the area. So in case you decide to visit it next year, here are a few tips what to expect:

  • Weekend Media is a great place to get an overview of marketing and media in the Balkans. There are a lot of great panels dedicated to the challenges of media and agencies from the entire Balkan region.
  • Weekend MediΠ° is a great opportunity for networking. You get the chance to meet representatives from marketing agencies and media from the whole Adria region. Get your business cards ready and prepare to approach people since a large part of the locals are so well connected and grouped that rarely anyone is approaching. 
  • Don’t expect to learn many new things. Even though parts of the discussions are focused on development and growth, there is rarely anything new to learn. That is partially from the unwillingness of the speakers to share their secrets, but also because of the short time slots dedicated to each speaker/panel.
  • Prepare to be on 24/7. The lectures start at 10am and last up to 6pm, while the parties start at 8pm and last forever πŸ™‚
  • Get ready to see a bunch of campaign presentations πŸ™‚ A large focus is placed on the awards ceremonies for BalCannes and SoMo Borac, so each of the competitions organizes a run through of the candidates. A lot of inspiration in one place πŸ™‚

So, to summarize, Weekend Media Festival is a good event to visit, just make sure you have the right expectations and you leave well prepared.

Share your experience in the comments below πŸ™‚