Cannes Lions 2019: Brands should innovate by embracing change: Umesh Khandelwal, Wavemaker

Umesh Khandelwal, Business Manager, Wavemaker India, takes us through his experience at Cannes Lions 2019

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jun 24, 2019 6:51 PM  | 4 min read
Umesh Khandelwal

I set foot in Europe for the first time and was awestruck by the beauty of this place. I was excited and nervous at the same time as the Cannes Media Festival is a once in a lifetime experience. It was a week full of learning and getting new perspectives.

What did I learn – The world is changing all the time, brands should innovate by embracing change.

Session 1- Gaming: The Future Brand and Consumer Battleground

Last year saw an explosion in media, brand and investor interest in gaming. But many brands have been reluctant to dive into gaming and in particular Esports, with both feet. The speakers of the session discuss the opportunity presented by the global gaming industry and how it can help brands drive transformational growth.


Thomas Fellger, CEO, IconMobile Group, explains that the gaming community is an over-arching umbrella and that Esports is kind of a niche sector of that.

Sue ‘Smix’ Lee, Partnerships Associate, Twitch, E-sports Presenter, Event Host & Reporter, talked about how gaming is all about live, as well as interaction with chat. Brands are now coming up with different ideas to engage with this consumer base.

Twitch star Imane Anys, stressed on the importance of giving creative control to influencers.

Key Takeaways:

1. There are 2.1 billion people in the world playing games and 350 million people are Esports fans.

2. As marketers, we need to understand that gaming and Esports are all about the interactive and engaging gaming experience. So, we should focus on enhancing this experience and not interrupt it.

Session 2- Make advertising great again.

It has become so hard to make a case for investment in creativity even when evidence suggests it is effective. This is because we have made a rational, not an emotional case for it.


Rory Sutherland, Vice President, Ogilvy, leads us on how to make our colleagues and clients think differently about advertising. With the help of the below examples, he explained how setting the right context can lead to behavior change.

Turning weakness into strengths: Avis is only No. 2 in rent a car. So we try harder. Here the first sentence is obviously a weakness but the last word of the second sentence “harder” made Avis more appealing.

Humans distinguish between gain and loss: A pension plan salesperson tweaked how he describes the scheme to the customers, by stating that they need to pay the 25% premium only when he gets his increment. Registration for this pension increased drastically, as the customers are not losing anything but they are gaining a little less than what they would’ve gained.

Key takeaways: Behavior science and behavior economist helps businesses if we codify what we already know.

Session 3- Building brand love with purpose, brick by brick.

All brands seek something, otherwise why they would be in business. It’s not simply to make a profit. Simply put, all brands need to have a purpose. A reason to exist. For more than six decades, the LEGO brick has been on a mission to ‘inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow’, children.


Julia Goldin, Global Chief Marketing Officer, LEGO Group, explains how purpose can drive innovation and ensure a brand remains inspiring, trusted and loved, from one generation to the next. She further stressed on how the world is changing all the time, you don’t know what was right yesterday, may not be right today. The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

Key takeaways:

1. Change is inevitable, so as a marketer we should be ready to deal with it. Adaptation and evolution should go hand in hand.

2. No matter how strong your brand is, you can’t avoid challenges. It will come at some point or the other. The market leaders of 2000 are not the same as in 2019.

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