"Inspiring Creativity is at the heart of Cannes Lions. The Festival is where creative professionals come to debate, learn and be inspired; where the greatest industry honours are bestowed; where those pushing creative communications forward are celebrated."
And we’re happy to report Cannes was everything it promised.
We loved being in Cannes this year, soaking up the unique combination of atmosphere and expertise that comes from having the world’s greatest advertising professionals gathered together in a glamorous seaside destination.
This year was extra-special, of course, because we had own killer piece of creative to bring to the party: our video for Google Analytics was shortlisted for a Cannes Lion.
And in between sampling the local cuisine, cool rosé, free smoothies, cocktails and yoga, we also managed to pick up some interesting and valuable advice from the speakers and panellists. Here are some ideas that set our minds turning.
- So your campaign’s gone viral - now what? When the KONY 2012 project exploded, surpassing its producers’ wildest expectations, the team didn’t have the infrastructure or means to capitalise on the media’s willingness to engage. This is the challenge that many campaigns face once they have broken through into the public consciousness, and there doesn’t seem to be any definitive solution. KONY 2012 have turned to dance to sustain interest, attempting to speak to their demographic by adding a visual, engaging element to the campaign.
- Content. Or not content? The difference between branded content and commercials was a much-debated topic, and no one view dominated. Some thought that advertisers shouldn’t be afraid to use commercials as well as other content that requires more engagement, but that they should clearly differentiate between the two: commercials can be an effective way of reaching an audience which doesn’t expect to engage with advertising. Others, such as OK Go’s Damian Kulash, urged us to not necessarily see content and advertising as separate things. Mashable’s Adam Ostrow advised brands to consider all of their content as part of a bigger picture, instead of aiming for a single, one-off viral hits.
- Plan from the start. Everyone should start early, and be thinking about multi-platform right from the beginning. Break Media stressed that view-count can be the false idol of online content: it doesn’t give you any way of measuring audience engagement.
- RIP agencies? As you might expect from a Cannes audience, the answer was a resounding ‘NO’. But agencies will have to adapt to changing times. There was consensus that their role will become more about keeping messages consistent across multiple platforms, and becoming media partners with their clients. W+K’s Dan Weiden said: “The revolution is the rise of the independent: those agencies that take long chances, refuse to sell out, force their culture to be dynamic, and serve the client even better.” He also emphasised the importance of agencies’ innovation and agility, adding “If people aren’t failing, they aren’t taking enough risks!”
- Elephants in the room? Mashable’s Adam Ostrow hosted a session called A Day in the Future: Media and Marketing in the Connected Era. He flagged up augmented reality and real analytical results as the great unspoken niggle of the industry, and said it hadn’t been sufficiently addressed.
- How to make your video content buzz on the Social Web. Brands and agencies understand the value of engagement, but don’t know where to start. Here are seven golden rules:
1. The story matters more than the product: be a great storyteller. 2. Kick off with a bang: grab attention within the first five seconds. 3. Build an emotional rollercoaster: maintain interest throughout the entire video. Make people sad, then excited, and create a feelgood factor. People should feel better after engaging with your content. 4. Use influencers: distribute your video to those who can generate buzz around it. 5. Surprise, but don’t shock: shock can inhibit sharing, but surprise will accelerate it. Taste is very important, and people won’t pass on content that they feel might offend others. 6. The first 48 hours are critical: aim for your country’s cup to runneth over; virality is its overspill. Use the Mojito Strategy: the right ingredients in the right order. Examples: Contrex and TNT. 7. Mine is bigger: measure the KPIs that are relevant to your campaign, and compare them favourably to the competition. 8. Create doubts about authenticity: Kobe Bryant jumping over a speeding car created a huge level of engagement because people were having a conversation about the campaign.
For more insights, go to the Inspiration section of the Cannes Lions site.
Here are some of our favourite videos from the week:
- From the sessions
L’Oréal: DermaBlend link
Bold and brilliant, this stood out because it played on our prejudices and assumptions. A loud, clear message wrapped up in an engaging and entertaining package.
Contrex: Contrexperience link
Ingenious campaign which relies on intrigue, engagement and reward.
- From young directors
Chris Hill for Ford Falcon Eco Boost: Cane Toad Road link
Lorin Askill: Epic Fail link
Ben Strebel: Once and For All link
Keisuke Hakomori: Time Spent Together link
- From the awards
P&G: Olympic Moms link
The Peres Centre for Peace: Blood Relations link
DirecTV: Platoon link
Canal+: The Bear link