Wow. What just happened? MAD//Fest, that’s what. Last week’s (13-14 November) marketing, advertising and disruption festival promised much, to deliver a truly unique experience and a departure from the usual fare. It didn’t disappoint.

With the much touted tagline ‘Dare to be Different’ and companion rebel sheep imagery, MAD//Fest set the scene for an event like no other. And while some elements were familiar – brands buying, services selling, speakers…um…speaking – everything felt very different.

First-up, the venue. Old Truman Brewery is one of London’s largest pieces of real estate, in East London’s Shoreditch; an uber-cool area with a vibe all of its own. Inside, think raw industrial loft-like space, with exposed brick and ductwork, concrete floors, high ceilings – you get the picture.

And this environment was conducive to mixing, naturally. Lots of picnic-style tables, cafes, two large bars and plenty of mingle space. Notably absent, the usual proliferation of in-your-face exhibition stands, creating instant division between buyers and sellers. On the contrary, MAD//Fest felt far more collaborative. More organic.

Add to that, exceptional content quality, with talks split across four stages with some top-notch brand representation plus celebrities from the world of business, sport and entertainment, imparting nuggets of knowledge. Check out the lineup and agenda for details. And prepare to be envious.

Last but not least, the people. With a 90/10% buyer/seller ratio and plenty of big brand representation, this was a dream scenario for us and anyone seeking new clients and partners. We made some great connections during the show, many via the MAD//Fest app and more through our own devices, literally.

So, how do you stand out at an event with a mantra that effectively means ‘stand out’? One word: moustaches. Two more words: on women. We were already doing Movember collectively as a company, so we figured it made sense to carry this theme through to MAD//Fest, especially with the moustache-friendly hipster vibe of Shoreditch. We hatched a plan.

We launched the Salpo £10K GoldenTache Giveaway – quite a mouthful, and quite a prize, with £10,000 towards developing an app or custom software idea for the winner. We also gave out moustache-related prizes at the show and will make a Movember donation for every entry received. This gave us carte blanche to spread the moustache love at MAD//Fest and people happily lapped it up.

Our giveaway goes on until 30 November, so head over to our GoldenTache Giveaway page to learn more and enter. We’d be extremely grateful if you could also please support our fundraising efforts on our Salpo GoldenTache Movember Team page – thank you!

We’ll definitely attend again next year and maybe next summer’s MAD//Picnic too. See the website for details. Finally, some thanks – to the MAD//Fest guys for hosting such an awesome event and to all the wonderful people we met and got to know at the show. Here are a few more pics to give you a flavour of the event…

Learn more about MAD//Fest
Learn more about Salpo Technologies Software Development