News & Views
10 Insights from Cannes Lions 2013

1. Crowdsourcing here to stay. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was a huge advocate for crowdsourcing at Cannes, commending the work of creative communities such as MOFILM, which has partnered with Chevrolet to produce a series of short films that will air during the Academy Awards next year.

2. Collaboration is crucial. Paul Edwards, General Motors’ Director of Global Marketing Strategy, believes that the recent democratisation of talent is “very complementary to traditional agencies”, while David Alberts from MOFILM believes that an openness to external collaboration will become a crucial component in agencies’ evolving strategy. Or, in the words of guest speaker P.Diddy; “you need to team up with the influential needle movers who help define culture and curate what’s cool.”

3. Content will continue to be the big trend for the next few years. Miles Young, Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, believes that “creativity is a competitive weapon”, and notes that communications have evolved from the directive (TV spots, ad placements etc.) to the immersive. Content, says Young, is the key to standing out in this new landscape.

4. …And it ties neatly into social commerce. Content marketing was discussed at length in a session by Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, Elyssa Grey from Citi, and Razorfish CEO Bob Lord, all of whom foresee an increasingly transactional component or next step being added to the existing model. Jeff Weiner describes social gestures, such as likes and comments, and imagines “commercial gestures [that will] enable people to receive more information and ultimately complete a purchase.”

5. Gamification is good for agencies. Writer and game designer Jane McGonigal made a compelling case for the benefits of gaming, citing stimulation of the memory, learning and motivation centres of the brain that can be transferred to someone’s professional life and help them be more collaborative and creative. Mark Holden, of media planning firm PHD, described how he had introduced a gaming element to every aspect of the company’s day to day workload, so that achieving objectives becomes both competitive and socialised.

6. Build your brand on authentic, personal stories. “People don’t care about brand stories, they care about their story,” said Gaston Legorburu, Chief Creative Officer at Sapient Nitro. One campaign which fully embodies this ethos is Ogilvy Brazil’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ for Dove, which won a Titanium and Integrated Prix on the final day of the festival.

7. Simple is often better. Tumblr founder David Karp believes that complex, large-scale campaigns often miss the mark, while the smaller, simpler storytelling cultivated by a platform like Tumblr fosters a greater degree of consumer engagement.

8. Artists who collaborate with advertisers are no longer selling out. Street artist Shepard Fairey spoke openly about how he works with corporations, but has turned down a lot of work if he felt an ethical conflict of interests. “Consume with discretion”, he advised. Meanwhile, rock and roll legend Lou Reed conceded that the very notion of “selling out” is somewhat outdated, as the advertising world has embraced a more diverse and comprehensive approach to creativity.

9. There’s a difference between perceived creativity and genuine creativity. If you have an idea that is different enough from previous success stories that it can be called original, but still safe enough that it’s not going to make waves… That’s perceived creativity. If you have an idea that is so original you’ve never seen anything like it, and makes you just a little bit nervous… That’s genuine creativity.

10. Create something that is provocative, risky and challenging. “Challenge us”, said Coca-Cola’s Joe Tripodi at this year’s Cannes Debate. Shepard Fairey encouraged young creators to be “provocative”, and Vivienne Westwood urged her audience to “always be fighting for something.” Elyssa Grey, marketing officer at Citi, a highly regulated bank, said it best: “If you’re not taking risks, shame on you.”

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