Martha Stewart, Gloria Steinem and Digital Storytelling

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity — the ad world’s largest trade show and awards event — began on Sunday, June 16, with nearly 12,000 advertising, media, marketing and tech executives in town until next weekend..

Now in its 60th year, the Festival’s first day of programming featured seminars about the explosion of digital and social content.

First up was a Daily Mail Online-curated panel with Martha Stewart, Nick Canon and the Spice Girls’ Mel B, that tackled the instantaneous nature of digital media, the proliferation of social media, and how these celebrities are using the media to manage their own brands. Stewart equated social media with “the wild west,” and said she “can’t be political” when using her various social channels, as it has the potential to alienate subscribes and key partners of her magazine and TV franchises.

Canon, who has 4.3 million Twitter followers, said that social media enables him to communicate directly with his fans, squeezing out traditional media outlets, which previously owned the main channel for connecting celebrities with fans.

All three panelists agreed “authenticity” was a key to successful social media engagement for celebs, something we strive to instill in our C-suite clients when coaching them on social-media best practices. It’s one thing to share your news and use the medium for self or company promotion, but the message is much better received when it comes from a place of truth and shares a real (and ideally provocative) point of view.

Next up was Gloria Steinem, a journalist and early leader of the women’s movement, who took lead in an AOL seminar tied to the brand’s digital documentary film series “MAKERS: The Women Who Make America,” which features real-life stories of groundbreaking females. The conversation, moderated by award-winning journalist Marianne Pearl, centered on the history of the women’s movement in the U.S. over the last half century, where it stands today, and what it will look like in the future.

aol makers

The panel also featured MAKERS Executive Producer Dyllan McGee, and SVP of AOL’s Lifestyle Brands, Maureen Sullivan, to round out the conversation from a branded-content perspective. The two women discussed how “snackable” digital content like MAKERS is helping inform today’s generation about important history events in a scalable way.

Amid the fragmentation of the media landscape in recent years, it was exciting to hear about successful uses of digital and social content by brands –both personal and corporate. Now, if only Gloria Steinem could help get more females on industry award juries, the world really would be a better place!

Posted on June 17, 2013, in Cannes, Cannes Lions, Events, Social Media, The Hit Board and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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