Cannes: Day 4 Recap

The 808 Track

The Young Lions—the group of young advertising professionals and students here at Cannes to learn—must have skipped school this morning. How else to explain the preponderance of excited youth at the door to one of the Palais des Festivals smaller theaters? They were there, of course, to see Kim Kardashian drop the 808. …and they didn’t. It was a whole lot of nothing. Wait, why where we surprised?


Of course, all those young folks who got there early received a whole bunch of wisdom from the opening acts. They learned that there are two dimensions missing from most marketing to women: compassion and independence. Maybe that’s why some studies show that 91% of women feel that marketing doesn’t reach them. Considering that women will control $40 trillion in consumer spending by 2018, this is a big miss. Kim Kardashian, no doubt, will account for most of that in some way—at least if the draw of her Hollywood app is any indication.

Foolish Games

The very existence of Kim Kardashian proves that success in life is nothing but a game. It’s a good thing, then, that a couple of ad execs spent a ton of their free time watching game shows. Game shows are perfect scale models of real life—albeit viewed through a tilt-shift lens. Our friendly (and they were very friendly; they took questions while sitting in the laps of audience members) distilled their uncounted hours of game show watching into 7 rules of game show theory. 1. Give them something to rally behind. 2. Have a great human-interest story written. 3. Go beyond expectations and dreams. 4. Have a narrative arc with subplots. 5. Create lots of cliffhangers. 6. Have amazing rewards. 7. Have multiple layers of engagement. Got it? Go use these in your advertising. These guys did, and the awards just flowed.


Adland legend Keith Reinhard spoke to students from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, and while it wasn’t a public session, another legend—this time someone I know—managed to smuggle out intel and advice on leadership from one of the greats. Before you dismiss Reinhard as a pre-digital relic, consider that the shift from atoms to bits has not changed the fundamentals.

Human nature remains the same. We still burn with the drive to succeed, to survive, to love, and to take care of ones own. “The importance of brands has not changed,” Reinhard said. Nor has the importance of ideas. The nature of leadership is also unchanged. In order to lead oneself, Reinhard says, you need to have a dream, the passion to pursue it, the persistence to see it through, and the curiosity to do it all over again. Leading others—a learned skill, not a bestowed title—depends on sharing your vision and values while helping others grow and keeping them inspired.

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