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Cannes Lions 2008: Global industry leaders delve on new communication frameworks

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Cannes Lions 2008:   Global industry leaders delve on new communication frameworks

While digital and new media has been the focus area at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for years now, day two of Cannes Lions 2008 saw seminars on new frameworks in communication, new modes of advertising and newer ways of dissecting consumer groups. Also, the Young Lions Media Competition has taken off in full flow, and the first-ever master classes were held at the Young Lions Zone.

MindShare presented new models for branded content. David Lang, President, MindShare Entertainment, and Laura Klauberg, VP, Global Media, Unilever, conducted this seminar. The duo took the audience through examples like ‘’ to explain how branded entertainment had to be treated with equal focus on content as on the communication message.

Content comes first, as that is what the viewer would engage and then participate in. Through this example they pointed out the need to integrate the brand message on every aspect of the communication chain. Lang explained, “Whether it is through character blogs or options that would get them to share their experiences with the other users on the website or any other tool, the idea has to give them something in return too. This is why it has to be deeply rooted in consumer insights.”

He pointed out some facets like not talking to the consumers -- talking with them made the difference. “The client doesn’t have to be the hero every time. You have to let the consumer be the hero and that has to be the tonality of the message,” Lang added.

Klauberg agreed and said that another driver for the success of an initiative such as this was to be able to narrow down on relevant partners and then to work very closely with that network. She said, “When I first saw, I knew it was great content and a brilliant idea. What I didn’t know even then was what kind of halo this would create around the brand. However, we were working with a strong network like Sprint and Suave where something was happening at every step along the way and following that, the results were brilliant.”

While this team focussed on new modes of communication, the Proximity team focussed on the ‘lost’ generation. Proximity had a simple idea: everyone is focussing on the new generation and everyone compares it to Generation X, but what has happened to the generation sandwiched in between -– the one born from 1966 to 1976 -– and what is it that clicks for them?

Christine Hannis, Director of Communications and Talent, Proximity Worldwide, explained that the focus on this generation was important for the advertising community, as this generation was now in its 30s and headed to influential and powerful positions.

Hannis along with Kevin Allen, Planning Director, Proximity London, spoke to the audience on a survey that Proximity embarked on to understand this generation better. Amongst the various findings that they divulged about this generation, three clear subsets emerged in this group. Proximity classified these as the Cruisers, Nesters and Super Breeders.

Allen explained, “This TG has an important role to play for many advertisers and they are very marketing savvy. They have a cynical view on things and they know when technology starts and stops. For them, it is a tool and not a lifestyle. Our communication needs to factor this to get to this TG.”

The final seminar of the day focussed on a new framework in advertising that began with the Dada and moved on to Data, Alpha and Beta. Jan Leth, Vice-Chairman, Digital, Ogilvy Worldwide, and Jean-Philippe Maheu, Chief Digital Officer, Ogilvy North America, presented this seminar and explained that each of these components had a certain relevance to make a successful communication exercise.

Leth explained that the Dada was an art rebellion, a backlash against the status quo and a ‘mash-up’ art form. The broad point he was making was that culture today can be tapped into to create, build, protect and celebrate brands. In a sense, Dada can allow innovative and unconventional ideas to surface for advertising.

Data was the next step, which though is the backend, and the tool that allowed interactivity in a sense, had to have a tinge of story telling. Technology is used to segment audiences, construct media plans, set content, increase relevance and measure results. Further focus on data, according to Leth, could help in identifying the technologies that would dominate in the next five years of advertising.

Philippe Maheu explained more on Alpha and defined it as the new age consumer that was playing a role in shaping a brand’s perception and where it was headed. He said that there was a need to actively engage with this target and listen to it actively, not just listen but also interact. And the final leg was Beta which formed the nature of the interaction between the brand and its consumers. It was the execution level.

The framework started off as Leth’s idea and then was worked on to give it its present form. Ogilvy believes that this mould would play a significant role on how successful communications can be formed.


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