The idea we’re building upon when we’re putting together ICEEfest‘s agenda is to try to make it so damn good that we ourselves would pay the tickets just to be there. There’s a downside, certainly, to this kind of mindset: it’s rather frustrating to know you’ll miss lots of great stuff because you’re organizer ;)

Here are some of the reasons I’d prefer to only be part of the audience instead of being deeply involved in organizing ICEEfest.

1. ICEEfest is a truly good investment. With 166 euros (the special offer price, 2 + 1 free) I would have access to some major companies’ presentations and to speakers I could only see at the industry’s most important conferences in both Europe and the United States. A plane ticket to one of Romania’s main towns, Cluj, is around 200 euros. A flight to one of the capital cities in the region, Budapest, is 300 euros. QED.

UpDate: The main news bulletins at ProTV, the leading TV station in Romania, and at Antena 1 and Romania TV | Smart IT, included news stories about ICEEfest. Thank you, guys.

2. You can witness “live” the thinking process and you can find out directly from the source what the major global players of the industry are up to right now. From Google, Twitter or Facebook to Shazam, Daily Motion, Skype or Windows Mobile – I know there are ideas and information I could use for the projects I’m involved in or information that can help me win new business. You can find the speaker’s list here.

3. Because it’s a major opportunity for networking and new business. Last year we had 1.792 participants (that is according to Xing Events, providing public data – not to the so-called “the organizers’ estimates”). This year we’re expecting over 2.000 people. You can make connections, that’s for sure. Moreover, you’ll be inside the best ideas generator – an environment filled up with intensely distilled ideas.

4. Because it will be fun. The Internet and its people deserve a more relaxed approach — that’s why we decided to stay away from the classical conference format (the boring one, I mean).

We will have, as we did last year, a host from the UK: we’re introducing again Keith Farnan, a stand up comedian with a heavy CV coming with all the words under his belt. He will surely help us take everything in with a smile during the two-days festival.

Moreover, we’ll have again, at the festival’s closing, the “Viral Movie Night” – this year with Andi Moisescu and his guests: Mihai Bendeac, Mihai Bobonete, Raul Gheba and… maybe some more ;). We’ll also enjoy other celebrities in a panel moderated by Florin Grozea about the artists’ relation with social media, online and brand associations (we’ll have an interesting study presented on this topic).

5. Because the program, bursting as it is with great speakers and major industry players, also offers momentous issues for many of the industry’s key areas both in Day 1 and Day 2. A thorough analysis would make me discover, for sure, topics that would help me better do my job.

Here there are:

I. CONTENT 

If I would be in publishing and/or online content production, I would surely like to understand new players as UpComing or Daily Secret – both testing, currently, new business models. On the other hand, veterans as BBC, Forbes or Der Spiegel should not be ignored. Not at all. A special mention for the Day 2 session, scene 2 – where Katharina Borchert, CEO of Der Spiegel Digital (nominated for the “Young Global Leader” at the World Economic Forum) will have a presentation followed by a not-to-be-missed debate (the new CEO of ProTV, Aleksandras Cesnavicius, will attend the session – worth mentioning this is his first public appearance since he took the job.)

II. PROGRAMMATIC TRADING

If I would work in media agencies, in publishing, in sales houses or if I would be a client I would surely be interested of this year’s hot topic – as it is signaled by the Media Fact Book 2014 report. I would like to attend the presentations about the automatisation of the online advertising space sales and buying process. Because this will radically change my job (or will eventually make me lose it). Programatic trading will be a key topic on ICEEfest agenda. Major players as Xaxis, DataXu, AppNexus, Nugg.ad, LiveRail, MindShare and other major agencies will approach the topic. It’s about money and it’s about the very near future.

III. CREATIVE

If I would work in creative agencies, in PR or in media, performance marketing… or if I would be simply passionate about the beautiful craziness of digital communication, I would surely chose not to miss the ideas of people and agencies that aim at international awards or build great projects for their clients. ZOO – the creative agency inside Google -, Sid Lee, Effective Brands, DigitasLBi, Achtung!, Branderati, The Comms Lab or Åkestam Holst sign in at the largest festivals of the industry. You can meet them at ICEEfest also. In Bucharest. You’ll find them all in the festival’s program, both in the first day and in the second.

UpDate: [Romanian] Here are few fascinating campaign examples [in Romanian], via IQads.

IV. PERFORMANCE AND eCOMMERCE

If I would be in the frontline, where every click means a sale or something… that is if I would be a client that also supervises the online sales department or a performance marketing agency, I would surely want to see Lee Odden‘s presentations –  don’t miss this speaker, I warn you! – and I wouldn’t also miss at all Performance Marketing Masterclass of Day 1 (with Google, Facebook, TopRank and others) and neither the Facebook workshop and presentations or the Oren Hefetz moment from Google. A special mention from the Dynamo presentation on Day 2nd – it’s about a company that combines PR with SEO writing and the sales generation.

V. START-UPS

We will have again here a “200 Seconds of Fame” session (I’ll be back with details in the days to come). We can also announce the participation of Enon Landenberg with an inspirational keynote on this topic. Plus the chance to win financial support for start up projects (a Start & Grow partnership).

That’s all, guys. Enough with the writing. I’m looking forward to seeing you and I hope we’ll prove once again that the regional market and Bucharest itself deserve such an event.