News & Views

Cannes Lions / Tuesday's Highlights

by Contagious Team

Contagious is on the ground at Cannes to bring you the best of what's happening at the Palais all week. The highlights from Tuesday’s seminars include wise words from visionaries Kanye West and Marissa Mayer, insights from Coke on real-time marketing, and lessons from neuroscientists. To hear more from Contagious at Cannes, check out Storystream, listen to our daily podcasts and follow us on Twitter


 Yahoo: On users, brands and creativity / Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer 

Making the world’s daily habits more inspiring and entertainment. That, according to Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer, is the tech company’s mission. And she spoke to the Cannes Lions audience about how she believes Yahoo is doing this. 

Yahoo, powered by tools like Flickr and Tumblr, Mayer said, helps people with habits like searching for answers, communicating with friends and family, consuming content and watching great videos. 

Yahoo, Mayer said, is also focused on creating inspirational advertising in mobile, native, social and video.  To create thoughtful campaigns on mobile, advertisers should think about simplicity, modern paradigms that are driven by patterns of user experience and context.  But ‘mobile is in its infancy,’ Mayer said. ‘We’re still finding more ways for the constraints to inspire our progress. 

Native advertising, advertising which is part of the environment, beats traditional display counterparts in every way, Mayer said. It allows advertisers to have better, more impactful ways to reach audiences. But, she added: ‘Digital is the only type of advertising that hasn’t fully embraced the notion of native.’

Mofilm: If your ad agency doesn't have the answer, are you asking the right question? David Alberts, chief creative officer at Mofilm, Jamal Edwards, founder of SB:TV and Mark Adams, founder of social influencer network, The Audience

Mofilm’s seminar brought together SBTV founder and content creator Jamal Edwards and social influencer network The Audience’s co-founder and CEO Mark Adams to discuss content creation and social media. Dave Alberts, Mofilm’s chief creative officer spoke of brands’ insatiable appetite for authentic content that is fresher, faster and created at a fraction of the cost. 

Edwards shared the importance of listening to feedback and responding to his audience: ‘If they say film something, the next day I can go out and film them.’ Edwards explained how SBTV’s videos gain traction: ‘On the internet there is so much content so how is yours going to stick? I try to make the exclusive aspects known and that’s what I pride myself on.’

The Audience network uses celebrities' social presence to ‘own popular culture’ across social networks, pulsing the network to syndicate one piece of content. Generally unimpressed by brands’ presence on social media, he said: ‘Brands have positionings but they don’t have a point of view.’ As a counterpoint, he spoke about The Audience’s work with Dove, explaining how they thought of the brand as a publisher to create popular cultural resonance when distributing Dove Sketches. 


The Coca-Cola Company: Winning in Real Time / Coca-Cola global marketing leader Wendy Clark

Coca-Cola’s goal, Wendy Clark said during the company’s Cannes seminar, is to operate in real time on any given day. ‘Operating in real time is the mandate and the remit for all of us,’ she explained. ‘One of most important lessons we’ve learnt is that silence is not an option. In a socially networked world if you’re silent your truth will be filled in for you.’

The soft drinks giant’s real-time strategy is that speed trumps perfection. ‘If you miss the relevance,’ said Clark. ‘It doesn’t matter how good your content is.’

There are 33 tweets per minute on brand Coca-Cola just in the English language, but Clark warned that the goal is not simply to create more content. ‘In our haste to have contextual relevance we must be very careful not to put out more,’ she warned. ‘The world is not suffering from a lack of content. The goal is more good content.’

By working with data in real time, Coca-Cola knows immediately when it has created effective content, and Clark said that the brand wants to be more precise and more predictive. ‘This is about learning more and guessing less,’ she said.  

Effective Brands: How do Cannes Lions winners work differently to drive growth /
Pepsico chief marketing officer Frank Cooper III, with Marc de Swaan Aarons founder of Effective Brands

Effective BrandsMarc de Swaan Aarons was joined by Pepsico global beverages group’s CMO Frank Cooper for a frank discussion about the characteristics of winning brands, and how Pepsi’s marketing is adapting for this.
Effective Brand’s research has found that a combination of insights, positioning and total experience are the holy grail for successful brands that outperform their rivals. Pepsico’s Frank Cooper discussed the capabilities that he thinks marketers need to achieve this including a lean startup mentality and a desire to collaborate effectively, both internally and with agencies. He believes marketers of the future should see themselves more as brand curators. ‘Get all the ideas on table, flesh them out and then see which have the best trajectory for the brand and the brand growth, then execute. It’s less about perfection but more about putting things out and adjusting as you get feedback.’


SMG: SMG Presents TED@Cannes 2014: Beautiful Minds / Bruno Giussani, European director TED, Laura Desmond, CEO Starcom Mediavest Group, Beau Lotto, Professor of Neuroscience at University College London, and Tali Sharot, Neuroscientist at University College London 

Two neuroscientists took to the stage at Cannes to demonstrate how the mind really is a beautiful thing. First up, Beau Lotto, the founder of Lottolab, a lab that merges design and neuroscience, performed a series of experiments to show the audience that our brains do not see the world as it really it. ‘Context is everything,’ Lotto said. ‘Your brain has evolved to see meaning, you see the past significance of stuff.’ He explained that people have assumptions but are almost always blind to what those assumptions are. ‘In order to be creative, the first step is to know what our assumptions are.’ He cautioned that to understand people it’s pointless to do a survey or ask questions. You need to study people in the ‘wild’, not in a lab, he said. 

Next, Tali Sharot spoke about ‘the optimism bias’, the idea that about how people think they’re better than everyone else or more likely to succeed than anyone else, even though it is statistically unlikely. Shurot explained how this optimism bias impedes us from heeding warnings. Sure, we all know smoking kills, but we believe that it’s more likely to kill the other guy. ‘Warnings and inducing fear have a very limited impact on behaviour,’ said Shurot. ‘So we need to work with the optimism bias to get people to hear us.’ So instead of saying smoking kills, we can tell people that they will be better at sports if they don’t smoke, for instance.

PHD: Mind Trip - a complete reboot of the way we see the world /
Techno-philosopher Jason Silva, with Mark Holden, worldwide strategy and planning director at PHD

Techno-philosopher Jason Silva spoke at PHD's seminar about the rapid pace of evolution aimed to give the audience a reset as part of his attempt to 'impregnate the world with awe'. 'The overlapping technologies of genetics, nanotech and robotics AI are unfathomable,' Silva says. 'We haven’t augmented ourselves to imagine the capabilities of these overlapping technologies.' However, he believes, 'the only response to the human condition is a creative response' so maybe we have some potential to cope with the exponential pace of change. Mark Holden, PHD's worldwide strategy and planning director, cautioned the audience against 'trying to take notes' during Silva's video-punctuated monologue: sound advice.


MCCP: Planning for the death of planning, as we know it / Kay McCarthy, founder MCCP

Planning was - as it always is - under the spotlight at Cannes. Kay McCarthy, founder and managing director of MCCP, took the stage to issue a rallying cry for planning to reinvent itself with a radical purpose; to create better businesses, so that people’s lives are improved through contact with the brand. To do that though, planners need to be bold: ‘That means being bigger than advertising,’ she said. ‘Planners have the ability to stand back and look at the macro picture.’  

Iris Worldwide: Lifestyle hacking: the question is the answer / Chris Baylis, Iris Worldwide executive creative director and Ben Essen, head of planning

Chris Baylis and Ben Essen of Iris Worldwide tackled data and creativity during their seminar. They encouraged the attendees to use data to ask the big, provocative questions that lead to big ideas. “Data tell us what has happened in the past or is happening,’ said Baylis’. ‘But creativity shapes what will happen in the future.’ To bring these two elements together, they advocated agencies using ‘data curators’ – people who can look at the meaning behind the data and search for outliers that can be a spark for creativity. By way of example, Essen cited Forgotify, a website that lets users listen to one of the 4 million tracks that haven’t yet been listened to on Spotify. 


The New York Times: Storytelling with Story Creators / Downton Abbey executive producer Rebecca Eaton with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd

‘There’s no doubt that Dickens and Shakespeare would have been addicted to Twitter,’ The New York Times columnist told the audience of the Grand Audi theatre. 

Maureen Dowd went on to explain how stories shape our experiences: ‘Nobody invents their own vocabulary. We inherit the forms with which we engage the world. Before you experience life, how can you learn about life? The short answer is culture. It is life pre-lived. Long before we experience desire and sex, we learn about it on the screen. We are given models and anti-models.’ 

Downton Abbey producer Rebecca Eaton followed Dowd with her rules about storytelling: ‘There has to be somebody I care about, something has to happen to that person, I have to kept off-balance, I have to have some deep feeling, there has to be resolution.’ 

But she admitted that it was hard to explain what makes someone a good storyteller. ‘It’s kind of like sex. When you’re in the hands of someone good, you just know.’ 

What makes someone a bad storytelling is easier to identify. ‘Know your audience,’ she warned. ‘There’s a lot of self-pleasuring going on in storytelling. I see all around me the narcissism of storytelling.’ 


Translation: technology, culture, and consumer adoption: learning to read the cultural landscape / Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of marketing company Translation, Ben Horowitz, co-founder and partner of venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz and Kanye West, entrepreneur/ rapper / producer / ‘human brand’. 

‘I don’t want to make these really big over-the-top statements that get quoted,’ Kanye West said on stage at Cannes. So just to annoy him, we’ve decided to quote all his best over-the-top statements:

'It’s my goal to change the idea of luxury. Time is the only luxury.’ 

‘I believe bad taste is vulgar. It’s like cursing.’

‘Colour is a big branding tool but it’s the lowest hanging fruit. I really disagreed when Apple came out with its coloured phones. I was like, ‘No! Steve would never do this!’

‘I’m not a big fan of Samsung by the way.’

‘It’s ridiculous to give any celebrity a creative director role of anything. There are only three guys I think could even work consistently, that’s Ryan Leslie, me, and That’s because we care about it.’

‘There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal. It showed a number one company being involved in culture.’

‘The world as a whole is ugly but the internet is ugly too.  Everyone spends the majority of their times looking at their screens, but we can clean that up.’ 

‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the internet is our new Rome. It’s time for the best content creators and visual artists to be empowered. Empower the best content creators or f**k you  - that’s the motto.’