After four years of holding the wildfire ideas together with Leo Burnett at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, this year, Contagious partnered with the Publicis Groupe for a session on ‘Contagious Conversations’. Publicis Worldwide’s COO Richard Pinder and Contagious Communication’s Co-Founder Paul Kemp-Robertson were leading the conversation.
The starting point was that brands needed to begin changing the conversation with their respective audience. While some brands needed that more, and found creative ways to break through the clutter and make the conversation, the ‘how’ aspect made all the difference.
Citing the example of Durex, the panel spoke on the fundamental shift that the brand was looking at in its conversation. Durex launched a range of new products and then used the new media route to move the conversation on it. The change in its revenue figures in markets like the UK indicated that the route worked.
The first step in changing conversations, according to Pinder, was to Ignite the conversation. Jess Greenwood, Director, Contagious Insider, cited a few examples to speak about engagement over reach, and Pinder added that the way forward was more about effectiveness in advertising.
Some of the examples shared on how brands were igniting conversations included some of the work that Volkswagen had done with the fun theory and Lurpak did on Bake Club. Both examples had triggered a behavioural change.
From there, the next step was to own the conversation. Advertisers have felt for long that they owned the conversation, but according to Kemp-Robertson, they were just yelling at the consumer from a distance. Today, that has changed – the panel discussed the Gatorade Replay case study on how the brand got a human insight, took that as an idea and converted it into a programme that got the brand some Cannes Lions winning mileage.
The third part of the stage was to confront the conversation. The Dominos example was cited here. The company had been getting an increased amount of negative feedback and Dominos launched the Dominos Turnaround programme, which essentially meant taking those conversations and converting them into a dialogue, which even resulted in positive brand benefits for Dominos.
The final step of changing the conversation is to subvert it. The Uniqlo example was cited here, amongst others.