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Cannes Lions 2008: At the end of the day, it is still about storytelling

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Cannes Lions 2008:  At the end of the day, it is still about storytelling

The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2008 has brought new media, new ways of looking at old media and various such topics under the scanner through the Festival. On June 19, advertising industry thought leaders took the discussion back to the basics and how while it was the idea at heart, the game was still about storytelling.

Wieden+Kennedy and Coca-Cola dedicated an entire seminar to ‘tale telling’. Coca-Cola’s Global Creative Director Ivan Wicksteed made two points. He said, “Story telling is important and we as the communication industry should care about that.” Teaming with John Norman, ECD, W+K, Wicksteed took the audience through various examples of Coca-Cola, where the brand was trying to tell its side of the story to the consumers – even if that was on what happened in the cola vending machine from the time a coin was inserted and a cola bottle came out.

According to Norman, “Stories are timeless and when the brand has a character, you have managed to give the audience something real to connect with – something more human.” Give the brand side of the story was the conversation in this seminar, and more examples of this were seen in the Dentsu seminar on ‘Beyond the Great Wall’, where the China market and its changing ways were diagnosed.

Akira Kagami, ECD and Executive Officer of Dentsu, was the moderator on the session. He began with the success that the Asia market is enjoying on the international creativity platforms and cited the India example on how Indian advertising agencies had done well at the Cannes Lions 2008. He said that much of the work that was seen in Asia was inspired by daily life situations. This was one of the reasons that a lot of social messaging was also being seen from India.

The presenters at this seminar were Sheung Yan Lo, ECD, North East Asia, JWT, and Jiang Jie, Director, Strategic Planning Division, Beijing – Dentsu Advertising. The duo took the audience through various works that were done in China, interspersed with works done with the other Asian markets like Singapore, Thailand, Japan and India. The ‘India Poised’ TVC was shown here as well.

Some of the insights shared of the Chinese consumers in this seminar was the changing progressive nature of this TG, where career consciousness was being balanced with fun and leisure, women in the society were looking at working and family lives together, there was a rise in the number of young entrepreneurs and the country was becoming more conscious of aspects such as fitness and respect to international copyrights.

The speakers explained that as more local brands in China were becoming international, more international brands, too, were adjusting to Chinese tastes and preferences. China was looking at the more developed nations and its immediate neighbours to learn more in the media domain and Chinese audiences continue to be as pragmatic as can be.

Another session during the day delved on the mobile domain and the way the medium was taking off. The speakers in the session were Michael Baker, VP – Head of Nokia Interactive; Giovanni Maruca, Director of Mobile, EMEA – Paramount Pictures; and Daniel Rose, Head of AKQA Mobile (Visa). One of the points that this panel raised was that the sheer variation in the kind of handsets and what they allowed a consumer to do varied significantly at an individual level. The challenged it posed to advertisers was to be able to get more definite trends on the kinds of consumer segments that they wanted to address.

This panel reiterated that the mobile was indeed a very personal device. Maruca said, “I aw an interesting statistic that said that 60 per cent people answered their mobile phones even while having sex – what can get more personal than that.” The discussion from here moved to various examples where advertisers were able to use the third screen to connect the consumer better to a brand and its various utilities to create relevant brand experience.


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