Let’s Talk to Ivana Bušljeta Banks

Chair of ICORIA 2013 in Zagreb

Dear Professor Banks, for the first time in the history of the conference, ICORIA 2013 will be held in Eastern Europe. The EAA community is excited and is looking forward to the conference and the city of Zagreb. Please tell us, what we can expect from ICORIA in Zagreb? Could you name us three reasons, why it is a must to attend ICORIA 2013 in Zagreb?

We’re very honored to host this year’s ICORIA in Zagreb, and we’re sure that the EAA community will enjoy the city and the conference itself. As for three reasons why someone should attend ICORIA 2013, they would simply be for the conference, the people, and the fun. First and foremost, this is ICORIA after all, one of the world’s premier conferences on advertising research. No matter where it is held, it delivers the already known high quality advertising research in a setting conducive to open discussion and communication with top level researchers and academics in the field. It is a chance for existing EAA family members to meet and catch up on a year of teaching, learning, and research, and for new, fresh minds to enter our growing circle, become family.

Zagreb at night
Zagreb at night

This year’s venue, Croatia, is generally considered to be the next great European tourist hotspot, and the city of Zagreb is becoming especially popular. ICORIA will take place at Croatia’s leading business school, on the campus of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, which, we hope, you will find to be a comfortable and inspiring setting for academic discussion. Zagreb is a beautiful city that will provide the perfect atmosphere for both ICORIA and “ICORIA after dark”. Once the projectors are turned off and the presentations of the day delivered, we hope to further wow you with some breath-taking views, interesting and a bit unusual site-seeing (for those afraid of witches, a more traditional alternative will be provided), excellent food and wine, and even a bit of dancing. So, if you’d like to experience the best Croatia has to offer, and be at the forefront, the cutting edge of advertising research, you can’t afford to miss ICORIA 2013.

Please give us an impression about Croatia and the city of Zagreb? What makes the country and the city so unique? What will be a novel experience if one has not been to Croatia yet?

Croatia is situated in Southeastern Europe, and will join the EU in July 2013, literally a few short days after the conference. It’s a small country with only 4.5 million citizens, but it has a long and proud history, along with a rich culture influenced by its position on the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe. Croatia is also very geographically diverse: from its mountains, continental plains, to its numerous islands and pristine beaches, Croatia truly offers something for everyone.

Jarun Lake, Zagreb, © Tibor Zangl
Jarun Lake, Zagreb. Photo: Tibor Zang

Zagreb has been described as a “large city with a small-town feel”. Despite having over a million residents, Zagreb feels very cozy, is surprisingly easy to navigate, and is full of large, sprawling parks and green spaces. Zagreb is also one of the safest large cities in Europe, and one can walking around it comfortably and at ease during any time of day or night. As for novel experiences, in addition to experiencing the charms of Zagreb, its streets, parks, architecture and warm, hospitable people (yes, witches, too), we hope to introduce you to some interesting new tastes for your palate. Štrukli, burek, and other local favorites await to be washed down with some medica. Don’t ask me to explain what these are… just come and taste them. I am sure you will be looking for a way to take some home at the end of the conference. If you have the time, I strongly suggest you visit the Plitvice lakes and Croatia’s coast. Just a few hours’ drive from Zagreb, Croatia’s coast offers some of the most beautiful, scenic landscapes. If there is sufficient interest among the conference participants, a one-day excursion to the Plitvice lakes, for example, could be organized immediately following the conference.

The theme of ICORIA 2013 will be “To Boldly Go… Extending the Boundaries of Advertising.” Could you explain all Non-Trekkies the idea behind this theme? Does the conference address any special topics?

Yes, the theme does have a Trekkie influence; after all, ICORIA is quite literally boldly going where it has not gone before – as you said, it will be held in Eastern Europe for the first time. Topic-wise, we are also hoping that the conference will attract the most cutting edge research in advertising and show us a glimpse of where the future of advertising is going. There is no focus on specific special topics, but we are looking for papers that address the hottest current trends in advertising research, concerning both traditional and non-traditional media. Technological and consumer trend changes are so swift these days that online advertising and social media are, in my opinion, already well on their way toward the “traditional” box. So what is taking their place as “new”? Is it mobile advertising, apps? Something else? However, we should also not summarily dismiss the more traditional types of advertising and new trends in their usage and effectiveness. These “old guys”, I am certain, still have some good tricks up their sleeves, and we can all, both researchers and practitioners, benefit from learning how the traditional types of advertising can still compete with the “new guys”. It is these kinds of boundaries that we hope to extend in Zagreb! I invite you to come help us do it.