News & Views

Cannes Lions / Media and Outdoor Lions

by Contagious Team

The topics being discussed during the first two days of the festival

Party: Prototyping Communication 

Tokyo-based creative lab, Party, shared its philosophy for creating products, not ads, that speak for themselves and create entertaining branded experiences. The company works by pairing a creative director with a technical director, and co-founders Masa Kawamura and Qanta Shimizu spoke about how new digital tools such as 3D printers and Arduino boards as well as platforms like Skype, Vimeo and YouTube, allow us to create new tools and processes for design. 

Commenting on the overuse of the term 'innovation' both at Cannes and in the industry more widely, the pair declared: 'F**k innovation. Use the right technology to bring the right idea to life.' 

Cheil Worldwide: Every Company is a Media Company 

'Every company is a media company,' Cheil Worldwide's head of innovation Daniele Fiandaca argued at the agency's Cannes seminar on Monday. Along with Thomas Hong-tack Kim, executive creative director, Cheil Worldwide, and Jonathan Cude, partner and chief creative officer at McKinney, Fiandaca spoke about how brands can add value to people's lives. 

He represented Cheil's 'lifeshare' philosophy, which is all about understanding the moments for marketers 'to find ways to use communications to enrich people's lives'. Cheil Worldwide and McKinney then demonstrated case studies that showcased this strategy - from Cheil Worldwide's seminal Tesco Homeplus QR code grocery shopping campaign in South Korea's subway stations to McKinney's Chip It! tool that helped people source Sherwin-Williams paint shades from online images. These case studies, Fiandaca argued, provided the audience with not just a platform and an engaging experience, but also compelled them to talk about it. 'We've evolved from a point where we were taking people's time, to asking them to spend time with us,' said Cude. 'Now, hopefully, we've moved to a point where people are compelled to share their content with us.' 

Yahoo!: The New World of Online Content

Hollywood star Jack Black joined Yahoo!'s head of video Erin McPherson as she explained to Cannes Lions attendees how 'critical' video is to the company's mission, and the importance of brands' contribution in the space. 

With the explosion of video consumption online, and people choosing to watch content on their mobiles, McPherson said the web giant was continuing to invest in web programming. That included 50 original shows, one of which would be animated series Ghost Girls, forthcoming from Black's own web production company Electric Dynamite.

Nick D'Aloisio, the 18-year-old founder of content summarisation company Summly, which Yahoo! recently acquired for a reported $30m, also joined the pair on stage.

In a world where 'time is the new currency', said D'Aloisio, summarisation technology is highly prized. D'Aloisio stressed the importance of personalisation in this time-starved age, saying that faced with a growing amount of content, 'a web ordered for you', delivered in easy to digest highlights, would be the future.

Tuesday Seminars / 
Iconic Storytelling Frame by Frame: Annie Leibovitz, Disney & McGarryBowen 

10am isn't the easiest slot at Cannes Lions, with a number of delegates filing into the Grand Audi more bleary-eyed than bushy-tailed. However, those who made it to the first seminar of the day were rewarded with entertaining anecdotes about Michael Phelps as a Merman and Queen Latifah as a terrifying octopus... all in the framework of a discussion on visual storytelling. 

Hosted by McGarryBowen founder Gordon Bowen, legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz and Walt Disney Parks & Resort's VP of Marketing Leslie Ferraro discussed the role of iconic imagery in building global brands. The focus of the conversation was Disney's Dream Portraits Series, which transforms well-known celebrities into the role of famous Disney characters. The series began in 2007 and has seen the likes of Scarlett Johansson transform into Cinderella and Michael Phelps take the shape of a Merman. Leibovitz noted that, with photography, 'you have to find that one moment which tells the whole story. Though digital is changing that.' 

Google: Taking Moonshots, Telling Stories
Google[X] is Google's factory for developing audacious ideas - home of the self-driving car and Google Glass. Astro Teller, who runs the division, told the audience at Cannes that developing a strong story around a new piece of technology is not only vital to gain acceptance, but also plays a role in how the projects develop.

Teller explained that Google[X] is tasked with solving huge global problems by taking radical steps. He said: 'If you are shooting to make something 10% better, you are competing with all the smart people in the world and you're going to lose. However, if you use creativity and storytelling as your main muscle, things get a lot easier.' 

The most recent example of Google[X]'s work is Project Loon (see video above), an initiative to bring connectivity to the 4.5 billion people around the world with little or no internet connection. Teller said that the 'economic prosperity, vitality, health and education that would be improved by those people having access to the internet is incalculable'. The project uses balloons hovering 20km up in the stratosphere to provide internet connectivity on the ground. 'We have embedded intelligence in the product to solve problems,' he said. 'Storytelling is literally the foundation upon which a "change the world" innovation is built.'

SapientNitro: Stories Are More Than A Narrative 

Gaston Legorburu, worldwide CCO at SapientNitro, launched into the seminar challenging agencies to rethink the role of storytelling: 'Do we want to continue making ads or evolve to a place where you don't just tell stories, you make stories.' 

He was joined on stage by British fashion designer and storyteller extraordinaire,Vivienne Westwood, who shared her take on culture and humanity with the audience. Westwood explained her vision of the 'ordinary self', who wants instant gratification and throws out opinions.'This is the worst of us, this is the self that politicians cater to.' Adding: 'We are dangerously short of culture. You want universal ideas of human genius.' 

Instead, she encouraged people to engage with the world, citing her Climate Revolution project as an example: 'Fight for something... your idea must be a real idea, a true idea. Fight for it and you'll find out how it's connected to everything and you'll see how everything is connected.' 

SMG Presents TED@Cannes: There is magic in the future 

While there tends to be a lot of talk about 'advertising magic' on stage at Cannes, there isn't often much actual magic. Tuesday's Starcom MediaVest Group session, however, was an exception. SMG presented a special TED session featuring an original performance by Marco Tempest, world-renowned techno-illusionist. 

Quoting science-fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, Tempest kicked things off by noting that 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.'  Looked at like that, 'magicians are the original early adopters of technology.' Tempest also drew parallels between advertising and magic: 'The publicity stunt was invented by Houdini. Advertising is rooted in what magicians in the past did.' 

Secrecy has traditionally been at the heart of magic. The motto of the Magic Circle, for example, is the Latin indocilis privata loqui, which roughly translates to the first rule of magic club is don't speak about magic club. However, Tempest noted that things are changing: 'When devising illusions for the 21st century sometimes secrecy is better replaced with collaboration.' Tempest went on to say that this applies to the creative process as a whole and that 'Magicians prototype the future everyday'. If he's to be believed then the future will be defined by 'open sorcery' and collaboration. 

Facebook: Creativity at Scale 

Big ideas are about more than the idea, they're about reach. Such was the theme of Facebook's seminar in which Facebook's head creative, Mark D'Arcy, Droga 5's founder and chairman, David Droga, and Facebook's director of engineering, Andrew 'Boz' Bosworth, looked at creativity at scale. 

Droga, who is the most awarded creative at Cannes Lions to date, noted that, when he started his career, distribution was built into the idea. You put out an ad on TV and you didn't have to worry about eyeballs. Now, however, the media landscape is fragmented and there are 'whole industries making technology to avoid the outputs of our industry.' Rather than that being something to lament, however, it's actually good for advertising - forcing us to think of ways that will genuinely engage communities of people. 'I don't give a shit about user-generated content,' said Droga bluntly, 'I care about user-generated communities.' 

The panel repeatedly stressed that you cannot have a big idea without scale. As Mark D'Arcy put it: 'Simply having a good idea is not enough. The session concluded with the final point that 'creativity at scale is a process not a product.' 

PHD: The Future is a Massively Multiplayer Game

After Mark Holden, global strategy and planning director of PHD, explained how he was inspired to create his agency's game-based internal operating system Source, after reading Jane McGonigal's book Reality is Broken, the games expert explained why it is good news that there are 1 billion gamers worldwide. 

She argued that gamers have skills that can make them better employees and gaming fuels positive emotions that can dramatically improve your health, happiness and success at school, work and life. She then went on to cite scientific research to explain how gaming led to improved creativity, social skills, resilience, and a sense of empowerment.
Proximity: How To Reach a Billion Eyeballs? 

In the 'How To Reach a Billion Eyeballs' seminar from BBDO Asia, Richard LeePepsiCo's CMO and CCO of Tingyi Asahi Beverages in China, and Volkswagen Group's China CMO Alexei Orlov outlined the fantastic insights around their brands and categories in China. 

70% of Chinese youth are hesitant to go home during Chinese New Year, typically a time for homecomings, because they'd rather go on their own vacation, or are worried about leaving work. PepsiCo wanted to make sure to keep these links stable. Three PepsiCo brands share the 'happiness' character in China, so it tried to rebuild these bonds through a series of branded content campaigns about going home. For instance, Pepsi Cola became 'wish you 100 moments of happiness' or 'wish you Pepsi Cola'. 'You just have to find your unique brand angle and make it your own,' Lee said. 

Volkswagen's Orlov talked about its People's Car Project, which generated over 43 million video views and brought in over 260,000 ideas about cars, and the challenges it faces continuously. 'The importance of referral and the power of deferral are important in understanding word-of-mouth in China.' Even after holding up to 50% of the market share, Volkswagen has come to realize it needs to refine its messaging through experience and efficiency rather than the brute force of media spend. Orlov revealed 73% of all automotive and high ticket items are sold through referral in China (compared to 43% in the US). 

Effective Brands: Marketing 2020 

At the Effective Brands-hosted seminar, Marc de Swaan Arons, co-founder of the global marketing consultancy, spoke of how the company's Marketing 2020 study of 250 CMOs and marketing leaders around the world revealed the importance of big data, purpose, consistency, and creativity. 
Sucheta Govil, global head of marketing, decorative paints business, Akzo Nobel, reflected back on Dulux's ground-breaking Let's Colour campaign, saying that the purpose-led community projects not only increased employee engagement, but also drove innovation in unexpected ways. Finally, Kevin Burke, CMO at Visa, spoke about the financial company's marketing principles saying: 'Every brief we write is social at its core. If you can't Tweet the strategy it's probably not worth sharing.'