How ‘Purpose’ ruled Cannes

At 66th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that concluded last week, ‘tech that aids a purpose’ dominated conversations even as marketers questioned the separation of Media & Creative 

by Srabana Lahiri
Published - Jun 24, 2019 8:14 AM Updated: Jun 24, 2019 8:14 AM
Cannes

Purpose. Technology. Inclusivity. Integrated Media and Creative. Short form creative. Marketers, Marketers, Marketers. These are the buzzwords that ruled conversations at the 66th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that ended last week. The festival saw a significantly larger turnout of marketers compared to earlier years, and their refrain was integrated services in one place – media, creative and digital all put together.   
Read what senior industry leaders had to say when we asked them to tell us about the trends they spotted this year…

 

Michael Roth, Chairman and CEO, Interpublic Group
‘A lot of our conversations are about the integrated offering’
Obviously the presence of tech and data analytics are important conversations that we are having. Frankly, a lot of our conversations with our clients are about the integrated offering. I believe clients are now looking to the extent we can have a single source provider for all their marketing and communication needs, and we can do it on a client-centric basis, on an efficient basis, on a global basis. That’s what they want to hear, at the same time they want to hear innovation. And so we have a number of our agencies working on innovation, on design changes, on consulting capabilities, and of course bringing in our creative, digital and media capabilities all in one place.

 

John Seifert, Worldwide CEO, Ogilvy
‘Over 25% of this year’s festival attendees @Cannes are clients’
Cannes has turned a corner. Over the last couple of years, some debates have been about ‘Is it too expensive?’, ‘Is it relevant?’, ‘Does it matter in terms of clients and what they cared about?’ Over 25 per cent of attendees are now clients; the diversity of our industry has never been broader, and Cannes is getting back to celebrating creativity in its broadest sense, whether it’s creativity in data or technology or story-telling or brand experience or user experience through technology. I think it is going to find a way to bring these different areas of expertise together, so that people are beginning to see the whole rather than the sum of the parts. They have also been responsive to the concerns that many of us have had about it being too long, too expensive, and they worked very hard to make it more cost-efficient and inclusive. Cannes is really going to go from strength to strength in the days ahead.

 

Sonal Dabral, CCO, South and South East Asia, Ogilvy & Vice-Chairman, India
‘Including the older consumer, who has the money to spend’
Tech is playing a really big part now; there is more impending conversation about AR and VR. Another key conversation was on diversity and not in terms of gender, race, etc., but in terms of including the older consumer. Many brands are talking about millennials but there is a big chunk out there from the brand and business point of view, as they have the money to spend. Most brands exclude that consumer. Inclusivity in terms of age. Another thing is brands communicating with authenticity, finding their purpose and communicating.

 

Saurabh Verma, CEO, Publicis Communications, India
‘A lot more is happening outside the Palais rather than inside it’
Some trends are macro and some of them are micro. The macro trends are that a lot of the work is becoming very purpose-driven; if you really look at some of the big winners, it is largely work which can result in this purpose. 

 

The second big trend is that a lot more is happening outside the Palais than inside it. There was the time when the Palais itself used to be the place where everything would happen. Now, there is a lot more, from a Google workshop outside to a Facebook to Spotify to Twitter beach or space, they have all taken the place of the brands and are actually creating engagement. They are actually showcasing their tools; they are showcasing their work, technologies in these places. 

 

The third big trend is the huge focus on technology delivery. So, how do I use AI? How do I use machine learning? How do I use some of the things? Fundamentally alter, change the game and use that technology to have a massive delivery for an idea. Creating a great idea is one thing but scaling that idea, making that idea bigger using technology is again a very big thing. One thing I noticed is that the festival was much less attended than it used to be in the past. Of course, the number of clients is going up. I am sure every third or fourth person I met was a client. So, there are a lot more clients attending, which is good overall. But, at one point I know that the festival used to have 12,000 people attending, that was two or three years back. I am not so sure it’s still the case. Many agencies are under pressure to cut budgets and therefore lower the number of people who are at the festival here.

 

Josy Paul, Chairman & CCO, BBDO India
‘Media and creative should never have been separated’
Firstly, the work is purpose-related, specially the Grand Prix winners, but the difference is that they are not just talking about it, but doing something about it. It’s all about the action behind that work. The second part is that they are creating products to stand and commit to that work. 

 

The second thing I have noticed is cheeky competition which is very interesting – for example, the kind of thing Burger King has been doing and the kind of applause and recognition it is getting. 

 

The third thing I am seeing is the rise and rise of short form creative. I have been at YouTube and Facebook seminars and everyone is talking about the 5-seconders and the 6-seconders and even the 1-seconder. It is also about the randomness of the work. Many of it is just stuff that’s done for fun. Nobody really knows why they suddenly become memes. But YouTube’s watching and it’s interesting to know that there’s no real strategy behind it and human beings have now become the medium of that message. 

 

Another thing is what Nick Law said at the opening of the festival – the media and creative departments should never have been separated, because now, more than ever, it is the guy who understands the medium who will get the message.

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