Event Recap: Coca-Cola at the Contagious Villa 

Marketers from Coca-Cola gathered at the Contagious Villa to hear Contagious strategists Dan Southern and Patrick Jeffrey present this year’s Walk the Work session.

Attendees got the chance to look at work Contagious has been championing throughout the year, along with real-time insights gathered by our editorial team on the ground in Cannes. They heard from both the people behind the winning work and the jury presidents who were awarding the top prizes.

The session 

The session was divided roughly into two key focus areas, with the first highlighting the new and exciting additions at Cannes in 2019. Overall, the festival saw more entries than last year as two new Lions categories were added, Creative Strategy and Entertainment for Sport. The latter was introduced to highlight how sports (and esports) marketing has moved beyond badge-slapping and into a far more dynamic and creative area. The theme of inclusivity was also discussed, and went on to become the biggest theme of the festival, as creative ideas championing under-represented groups in society won top awards.

The second area touched upon themes that weren’t necessarily new but were gaining momentum. A number of award-winning campaigns featured in this deck seemed to follow a very specific way of thinking that, in fact, underpins much of the best work that makes it to Cannes each year – they all ask difficult (or ‘heretical’) questions*.

Einstein reportedly once said: ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes to determine the proper questions to ask’. Einstein understood the power of asking questions that lead to surprising and unconventional ideas, and so did the very best ideas that won at Cannes this year. Some of these included ‘What would happen if we sent our customers to our competitor’s retail locations?’ and, of course, ‘what would happen if we chose the most polarising athlete, not the most popular one, to represent our brand.’

The Walk the Work session was followed by Perry Nightingale, Chief Creative Technologist at Grey Group (WPP), who gave attendees a 15-minute presentation on AI and creativity, wrapping up a very successful morning at the Riviera beach and leaving Coca-Cola marketers with a set of ideas to keep in mind while attending seminars and reading about winners.

'The campaigns and learnings we saw during the Walk the Work session really chimed with our way of working at Coke, which centres around design sprints,' said Tom Hidvegi, creative strategy lead at Coca-Cola. 'Co-creation and collaboration are just buzz words, but they're also ideas that we aim to fill with great meaning every day we come to work.'

*Heretical questions is a provocation that's explored in detail in our book, The Contagious Commandment: 10 Steps to Brand Bravery

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