David Wilding’s view from Cannes – Day 2

A really busy day today – 5 seminars so far with a YouTube seminar about to start.

We started with Coca Cola’s Joe Tripoldi who made an excellent presentation about “generating shared value” with new connected consumers.

While that may actually sound pretty boring what he meant by “shared value” is creating experiences had by a few but powerful enough to be shared by many (inevitably via social media).

He highlighted the need for Coke to “do” happiness rather than simply project it or talk about it. And this ‘verbiness’ was nicely highlighted in 2 examples – the first being Coke printing the 150 most popular names on Coke cans in Australia so that most people could enjoy a ‘personalised coke’ and the second being ‘move to the beat’ a Mark Ronson music track for London 2012.

Tripoldi also made a call to creatives to focus on creating shared value for connected consumers rather than traditional advertising campaigns. With 42m facebook fans Coke is one brand that can certainly afford to think in this way.

Later on in the day Facebook’s Paul Adams delivered Facebook’s by now familiar ‘social by design’ patter.

For me there was nothing especially new here. He encouraged creatives to think of Facebook as a “creative canvas” and told us that the term ‘social’ is going away arguing that you don’t have social campaigns anymore, you just have campaigns. It was all fine and on message for Facebook but nothing that rocked my world.

Starcom Mediavest’s TED seminar treated us to 4 very different types of “creatives” – including an Ethiopian singer and a data analyst. It fell more into the ‘interesting’ than ‘relevant’ category for me but there was a nice soundbite from one of the speakers talking about his cat sleeping for most of the day – “if you’re going to be unconscious all of your life, what’s the point in being born?”. I’ll try to remember that for when my kids are teenagers…

Now this is an obvious point but so much ‘creativity’ comes across in the presentation. So it was disappointing to see one session which was literally a 45 minute conversation between an agency chairman and her client and – for me anyway – not an especially interesting one. With such a great platform one might hope that people could make a bit more of an effort.

Somebody who certainly did was the brilliant John Bird, founder of the Big Issue who was both highly entertaining and genuinely inspiring in his workshop.

Of all the Cannes stories this week his is surely one of the most interesting. I’ll try to write some more thoughts on this another time but what he’s done with the Big Issue to help homeless people work for a living is a brilliant example of the ‘reframing’ I referred to in yesterday’s post.

He talked about an acquaintance of his who was a major cocaine dealer who remembered 2,000 names and addresses in his head so he didn’t leave written records. He got 35 years in the end but, as Bird himself said, with that level of intelligence “he should have been running Unilever” if only he’d been given the chance.

But interesting and inspiring as (most) of the seminars have been for me, the real value can be found down in the lobby where the Cannes Lions shortlists are all displayed.

I spent an hour down there after lunch looking at the media lions and probably only saw half of them. This will definitely be a longer post when I get back to the UK but there were some great examples of simple but brilliant ideas that have used media’s context to brilliant effect. Three quick examples off the top of my head being…

1. ‘The wrong movie’ where the alzheimer’s society flashed up messages in cinemas saying that a different movie to the one that people thought they would be watching was about to be shown. This was quickly corrected with a message saying it wasn’t but that this is what it is like to have alzheimers. Simple and very poignant.

2. ‘The last commercial’ for a mosquito spray brand in Israel which took the last TV ad of the night (Israeli TV shuts down overnight apparently) to run a message about how everyone else had gone to bed and only insomniacs and people bothered by mosquitos were still awake.

3. An opticians who ‘sponsored’ replays of borderline offside decisions during TV coverage of football matches (I can’t remember the market or brand, sorry, but Specsavers should definitely do this in the UK…)

And once again, more tomorrow…


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