The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2007 kicked off on June 18 with a host of seminars – some of them seeing a change in the speakers as well. The focus was on the consumer once again and different ways of looking at and talking to the consumer to make that vital connect with him.
ZenithOptimedia’s Worldwide CEO, Steve King, joined the agency’s Worldwide Director, Client Services, John Taylor, to talk on ‘The Perfect Storm – navigating through the choppy and often uncharted waters of today’s communications channels’.
The duo brought out trends like mobile and other digital mediums leapfrogging in the Third World countries. King quoted data to show that consumers used various digital platforms like social networking and blogs, and said that by 2009 this would be a $500 billion industry.
Taking this forward, Taylor’s presentation revolved on Content Creation, Content Distribution and Aggregation and Data Analysis. On content creation, he elaborated more on user generated content, message creation and cutting edge experiences that would ultimately lead to user engagement.
On the point of content distribution, Taylor took the audience through the changes in the means of distribution and the fact that there is a need of newer forms of distribution networks. On aggregation, he said, “We have to develop a new matrix that would help us store and sort data in real time. This is to ensure return on investment measurability.” He ended his presentation saying that the right approach could save brands from being washed out in a ‘perfect storm’.
Nigel Morris, CEO, Isobar Worldwide, took on the session that Jerry Buhlmann, CEO, Aegis Media, was to address on ‘Creating time: the new currency of communication’. Taking this forward, he stressed on the convergence of digital media in the world of Open Source, Web 2.0 and search optimisation engines. He asserted that while the world was going digital, a point to note would be that computers would take a back seat as mobile phones would emerge as the primary source of accessing the Internet.
In support of the same, he remarked, “There are 2.7 billion handsets operational in the world today, this amounts to twice the number of credit cards in use and three times the number of television sets in circulation.”
Morris also emphasised on the importance of moving from awareness to engagement, not being restricted by form, time and platform. He concluded by acknowledging the importance of developing more C2C communication from the brands as opposed to B2C language in communication.
Another session in the first half of the day was by Agency.com. The session looked at the need to pay attention not just to the platforms like YouTube that bring together the consumers, especially the youth, today but the force that is driving these platforms.
James Clifton, European Head of Strategy for the agency, stressed that where a large number of people downloaded the content, a much smaller number uploaded this content and the idea should not be to focus or invest in these platforms alone but to get to these smaller numbers that uploaded the content.
He said, “Challenge the people. Like Adidas did when they said ‘colour your own shoe’ and put white billboards. Consumers created graffiti on these billboards and Adidas used this for its forthcoming range. Efforts like these can make all the difference.”