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Lions Entertainment: Bringing Your A-Game and A-List Talent

This year marked the launch of a new Entertainment event at Cannes Lions, introducing a fresh energy and obvious nod to the increasingly blurred lines surrounding branded content creation.

The musical lineup at this year’s festival alone, including artists by the likes of Usher, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, and Poo Bear, was a clear indication that brands are well on their way to becoming some of the biggest investors in music properties and talent of the future. Their presence also signified that brands are engaging with music in a more meaningful way than ever before, and truly investing in culture with a fresh perspective.

While music will undoubtedly continue to be a prominent fixture in culture, the traditional model of creation is shifting. Music lovers no longer choose to pay for albums or singles, therefore leading traditional labels and publishing companies to take less risks and in turn pave the way for brands to step in and own music from top to bottom. So, with audience attention spans continuing to wane, marketers must bring their A-game when it comes to the type of music they’re attaching to a brand, and consider artists as their own brands while doing so.

This theme rang true throughout a number of sessions this year. A fireside chat between Justin Beiber’s main musical collaborator, Poo Bear, and Jingle Punks co-founder and president, Jared Gutstadt, addressed these issues by explaining the importance of music for brand building today, as well as how essential it is to make music part of a dynamic marketing strategy right at the upfront.

The notion of music as a conduit for brand affiliation can also be seen in television and film, with a whole new revenue stream opening up to artists who get involved in producing tracks for longer-form content, supported by brands/TV shows that no longer simply front the basic sponsorship they’ve done in the past. There is more of an importance for music to win over the consumer and influence behavior and decision-making preferences than ever before, and that sentiment has echoed throughout the Entertainment track.

Amongst winners of the inaugural Lions Entertainment for Music category this year was none other than Beyoncé for her acclaimed “Formation” music video, taking home the coveted Grand Prix Lion Award. While “Formation” may not seem like your typical brand campaign,  the video symbolizes a complete repositioning of the artist’s personal brand, and its impact on issues around race and the perception of women in culture. This win has set the tone with an impossibly high standard for those shortlisted within the category for years to come.

All in all, it was evident at this year’s festival that the role of music in advertising should by no means be underestimated.

Creativity Matters

Thank you creativity.

It’s the clear theme of the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival. And it’s also what you can’t help but feel when you walk inside the Palais or stroll down the Croisette.

No one deserves that thanks more than Spotify’s Daniel who personifies creativity. His passion for innovation has helped Spotify become one of the world’s largest streaming platforms and he is not stopping there.

Video and data are two of the most prominent trends at Cannes – both of which Ek was quick to point out Spotify has in abundance and will look for innovative ways to good use. Spotify’s deep insights into who is listening to what, when and where has impacted every facet of the music business. Bands like Metallica are analyzing what songs are most listened to in each city on their tour to determine what their playlist will be for that particular show.

Creativity has also found its way into the American presidential race. Creativity on the Stump, a panel that featured PR players and writers from Politico, looked at the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In a “one-minute” news cycle, Trump’s unorthodox but authentic approach, especially on Twitter, is rewriting political campaigns. Not lost though was Sander’s more traditional TV spot “America.” Borrowing its soundtrack from Simon and Garfunkel, the comparably long (.60) spot demonstrates that even in an age of social media, the power of creative television advertising is very much alive and well. That ad notwithstanding, Politico’s editor in chief, John Harris, did proclaim that Donald Trump might be a better marketer than most everyone in Cannes.

While creativity is essential to winning Lions it’s vital to attracting and winning new business. Flanking the Palais are rows of cabanas where the likes of tech startup Luma hand out cans of oxygen to passersby and host clients and prospects for meetings looking out towards the Mediterranean.  Beyond the Palais are rows of yachts where agencies and their partners like SteelHouse and the Daily Mail have taken up residence for the week hosting clients. On land, SteelHouse’s CEO Mark Douglas looks to discuss how technology is making creativity more intelligent. He’ll be speaking alongside Jose Molla, Founder & co-chief creative officer at The Community and Peter Horst, Chief Marketing Officer for The Hershey Company. Global media agency, MEC has taken imaginative marketing to a whole new level with their welcoming presence at the Carlton Hotel. Throughout the week, MEC plays host to a number of sessions including Breaking the Band which looks at how MEC Wavemaker, its content specialist arm, helped uncover an aspiring new brand.

Other themes throughout the week remain centered on technology, the blurred lines between agencies and brands and the merits of the work being shown in the Palais. Cannes celebrates all the rapid fire changes in our industry, but holds paramount the one unchanging element that separates the best work from the ad clutter: creativity. That will never change.

Bon Jour, Cannes!

The Ad world morphs at lightning speed. Traditional lines of branded entertainment, advertising, technology and media companies continue to blur, data scientists now sit alongside artists, data has become a crucial part of the creative process, etc. One of the only constants is The Cannes Lions Festival – the industry’s global celebration of creativity. It remains the center point of the ad world– a moment for all of us to look back and honor the best of our industry while simultaneously looking ahead and preparing for the changes yet to come. If the festival has changed at all, it’s only that it’s gotten bigger.

With this year’s event just days away, our team will be on the ground supporting clients and sharing the week’s most exciting news, bringing you insights from industry players, highlighting trends and observations and sharing live content right from the Croisette. As in years past, this year’s festival has attracted top names to the Palais including, Vannes Bayer (Saturday Night Live), Anthony Bourdain, Anderson Cooper, David Copperfield and many more.

Some of the sessions we’re excited about:

  • Tuesday, June 21, 11:00AM: “How to Change The World Through Advertising”, Cindy Gallop, Lions Lounge
  • Wednesday, June 22, 10:00AM: “Fireside Chat with Daniel Ek, Spotify”, Inspiration Stage
  • Thursday, June 23, 3:30PM: “Is Technology Making Creative More Intelligent” Mark Douglas, SteelHouse, Jose Molla, the community
  • Friday, June 24, 4PM: “Music as Marketing: Flipping the Script on Celebrity Talent” Jared Gustadt, Jingle Punks, Inspiration Stage

We expect a jam-packed week with lots of learnings, applauding the best of the best, networking with clients, prospects and friends, and, hopefully, having a moment in all the fracas to take a sip of rose and toast to everyone’s hard work.

Please check for updates on the DGC Hit Board, Facebook, Twitter and our new Instagram feed!

Until Next Year, Cannes

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is always a frenetic and fun week for DGC and the industry. It’s a unique opportunity to bring together creative minds across the world to celebrate terrific work, focus on challenges, and how to give back to the world.  As we recover from a week of hard work, lack of sleep and amazing views, we wanted to share a few takeaways.

  • Business happens when you least expect it. Always be prepared to talk shop, even when you’re walking from the Carlton to the Palais on the Croisette. You never know who you’ll run into and when the conversation will turn from the quality of the rosé to solving business challenges.
  • Madison Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard are intersecting more now than ever before. Much of the short and long-form content that won Lions was on-par with short films and documentaries typically generated by Hollywood studios.  Branding took a backseat to storytelling – with compelling content and incredible visuals. If you didn’t know you were at the Cannes Lions, you could easily have thought you were at the Cannes Film Festival.  [insert this link http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en.html]
  • Be Clear. Be Honest. Words taken from the session of healthy-cooking advocate Jamie Oliver rang true throughout the week.  Consumers are now more than ever attracted to brand messages that are sincere and honest.
  • Know your audience. It was clear throughout the week which speakers knew their audiences and which were speaking to serve their own agendas.  Facebook executive Chris Cox gave an excellent presentation that spoke to the larger issues of cultural sensitivities in communications.  In one of his many examples, Cox gave advice about brand messages in India–don’t use the word “password,” he said, because while that word is such a part of the day-to-day lives of Westerners, it is entirely meaningless even to English-speaking Indians.  Knowing your audience and what they need from your brand has become increasingly crucial to gaining consumer receptivity.
  • Strike the right balance of work and play.  There’s plenty of work to be done at Cannes – handling the press, networking, going to sessions and identifying new trends, etc.  Yet, time spent with your clients and colleagues – at dinner, at drinks, on a yacht, etc. – is just as important.  Loosen up a bit and take a moment to get to know the people you partner with a bit better.   You’ll find that a few days in the south of France can equal a year’s worth of relationship building in the States.
  • Be a better global citizen. One of the themes that resonated throughout the week was that we need to use technology to be better citizens, a message that also came through in some of the work that won big at Cannes. From the ALS Bucket Challenge and Like A Girl to Twin Souls, it was all about being more compassionate and sympathetic to one another. Monica Lewinksy, Jamie Oliver and DDB’s Amir Kassaei all spoke to how we can use our skill-set to do good.

Au Revoir!

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#CannesLions — Everyone is a Creative Director

How and from whom is creativity generated?  At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, it may seem odd that something this fundamental is actually being asked.

Yet, in an industry where mathematicians, statisticians and engineers now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with art directors, answering that question is not as straightforward as one would think.

For the first time, Cannes Lions today unveiled its Lions Innovation event.  Described as a “festival within a festival,” Lions Innovation is a two-day event where data, technology and creativity intersect.   On its site, Cannes Lions describes itself as the industry’s “mirror” – acknowledging that “data and technology are driving creative solutions in ways never seen before.”   It’s a theme that has permeated much of the week’s programming.

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In fact, during a Microsoft/Fast company panel  yesterday entitled “Creativity That Matters – How Brands and Agencies Drive Impact” Wendy Clark, President, Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, said something that really struck a chord.  Strategists – not artists – are developing the most incredible creative work.   Panel participants, Kathleen Hall of Microsoft and Sophie Kelly of The Barbarian Group, were in full agreement as well.

Driving home the point, Audi’s Luca De Meo told a packed audience during his talk “The Moon.  Land  of Quattro,” that the most creative people play not just with words, but with numbers as well.

Today’s creativity comes from some unlikely places.  From data.  From technology.  From strategy.  In the past, that may have seemed more than a little counterintuitive.  But at the 62nd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, it’s becoming abundantly clear.  Everyone in the industry – whatever their title – is a “Creative Director.”

Six Things We Learned from Pharrell at Cannes

Pharrell is “happy” by nature, not just because he wrote and sang the 2014 Oscar-nominated mega-hit but because, according to himself, he goes after what he wants.  He truly embraces collaboration through creativity and is unafraid of working to get the creative mix of people he knows will win.

American TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest sat down with Pharrell at the Cannes Lions Festival on June 24 to talk about collaboration and creativity.  Pharrell provided some crucial advice about bringing one’s “A” game to creative projects.

Here’s what we learned.

  1. Intention is essential. When Ryan asked Pharrell to give the young creatives in the audience advice, he emphasized “intention,” noting that if you are going to create something, make sure to “write some intention in there.”  What is your intention for a given project? Intention should be the number one ingredient in everything that you do and, if it isn’t, consumers won’t buy into it.
  2. Multitasking is important. Multitasking allows you to diversify projects without “blurring the lines,” Pharrell said. It’s important to have your hand in different things to get the creative juices flowing.  That said, you don’t want any crossover between your projects because it will keep them from being truly fresh and unique.
  3. Have a “second element.” A song isn’t great just because of the way it sounds, but because of the way that it makes you feel.  Just like a movie with all great actors and no plot – you may think that you’re going to like it, but it fails by not providing consumers with the second dimension they need and crave.
  4. Creativity and commerce are related. Many people believe that you can’t have both, or that one relies on the other, but as Pharrell so simply put it, when you really concentrate on your creativity, it translates into commerce.
  5. Bottled delusion would sell millions. Pharrell noted that if you were able to bottle the delusion for greatness that many people have, it would be a wildly successful product.  It’s like the people who genuinely believe they are good singers, but can’t sing a lick – it’s that sense of confidence and delusion that helps people succeed, in addition to providing a fantastic laugh.
  6. Adele is the master of intention.

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Cannes Lions 2015: Surviving a Zombie Attack

This post is written by Sara Ajemian, Senior Account Director, who is on the ground at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Day one of the Cannes Lions festival got underway in earnest on Sunday, June 21, and one of the morning sessions had an apocalyptic flavor as WPP’s MediaCom hosted a presentation titled “How to Survive a Zombie Attack and Harness Cultural Trends to Grow Brands.”

Dave Alpert, executive producer of AMC’s The Walking Dead,” Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, Inc., and Steven Yeun, an actor on the show, were all on hand to discuss the art of their particular type of storytelling and give a small preview of next season.

MediaCom’s global strategy officer Jon Gittings shared how his agency categorizes storylines–hierarchy, individuality, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty, pragmatism and indulgence—and how different countries’ audiences respond to them. Gittings said, for example, that when episodes are indexed against global viewership, North America shows a high preference for individuality and indulgence while Spain, Turkey and Brazil showed a higher preference for storylines that had a strong element of uncertainty.

On day two, our DGC team was on the ground early supporting client-press meetings followed by more programming.

We stopped in to see Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and Citi’s Jennifer Breithaupt, SVP, Global Head of Entertainment Marketing, discuss “Music & Branding Moving at the Speed of Culture.” Billboard reporter Andrew Hampp moderated the session, which focused on the evolution of brand/artist partnerships.

For Metallica, corporate partnerships are all about balance, according to Ulrich, and if a company has credibility in its industry and offers a creative outlet for the brand, it’s a win-win for all involved.

If panelists had one major caution, it was this:  Don’t make the partnership a one-off. Invest the time to figure out how to amplify and give it legs to extend the life cycle. Otherwise, you’ll be yesterday’s news before it’s tomorrow.

We’ll be continuing to share updates from Cannes, so be sure to stay tuned here to the Hit Board, as well as following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Another June, Another Cannes

We’re just a few days away from the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (June 21-27) and the DGC team can’t wait to hit the ground running!
 
Cannes Lions is a spectacular, week-long celebration of the world’s most creative minds and best advertising as well as an opportunity for over 12,000 delegates to network over rosé and intimate dinners. Over the course of the week and against the backdrop of the beautiful French Riviera, talks will be given, awards handed out and meetings taken along the famed Croisette. It’s a chance for the industry to recognize the best creative work of the past year and look forward to where we might be next year.
 
The DGC team will be on the ground supporting clients and sharing the week’s most exciting news, bringing you insights from key industry players, highlighting key trends and observations and sharing live content. This year’s festival has attracted top names to the Palais including, Sarah Koening (Serial), entertainers will.i.am and pharrell and activist Monica Lewinsky.
 
Here are just a few of the sessions we have on our radar:
 
  •  Tuesday, June 23, 3:30PM – 5PM: MediaLink & Adweek “Daily Dose” Programming with Ian Schafer of Deep Focus; Carlton Hotel; Sean Connery Suite 7th Floor
  •  Thursday, June 25,
    • 2PM – 2:45PM: “Ogilvy & Inspire” Tham Khai Meng, Ogilvy & Monica Lewinsky. Grand Audi
    • 2:30PM – 3:15PM: “Watson & The Future of Advertising” Saul Berman, IBM & Jerry Wind, Wharton. Experience Stage – Data Creativity
    • 3:50PM – 4:20PM: “Solving the Marketer’s Latest Identity Crisis” David Jakubowski, Facebook & Julia Heiser, Live Nation NA Concerts. Inspiration Stage
  • Friday, June 26 4:15PM – 5PM: “Do This Or Die” Amir Kassaei, CCO, DDB Worldwide. Debussy
We expect a jam-packed week with lots of learnings.
 
Please check for updates on the DGC Hit Board, Facebook, Twitter and our new Instagram feed!

Cannes 2014. That’s a wrap!

The 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is done and dusted. It was a huge week for our team on the ground taking a huge number of meetings with clients, friends of the agency and potential new partners, zipping up and down the Croisette more times than we can count, tweeting up a storm, taking in the brilliant creative and on-stage content, clinking glasses of rosé, and helping support the wonderful team at McDonald’s for their Cannes Creative Marketer of the Year accolade.

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Unusually grey skies over the Palais on Day 1 of the Festival

As we dig out of a sea of business cards, Cannes swag, content and inboxes bursting at the seams, we penned some takeaways and themes from the week that was Cannes 2014…

What was trending:

The 60th anniversary of the Cannes Lions Festival last year put the advertising industry’s “All Stars” in the spotlight and this year the balance seemed to swing a little bit back towards the indie shops and lesser-known creative folks.

The DeBussy and Grand Audi saw Kanye West, Courtney Love, Bono, Jared Leto, Ralph Fiennes and other celebs graced the stage with some pretty interesting discussions.

Bono’s speech accepting the first-ever Cannes Lionheart humanitarian award for his work with (Red) at the final awards gala was particularly empowering, not to mention humorous as he drew chuckles from the crowd upon introducing himself as “Bono, the CMO of YouTube.” After a powerful preamble from Apple’s SVP of Design, Jonathan Ive,Bono told the crowd it was their brainy heads that were going to figure things out (in reference to a world epidemic of AIDS) and if they kept making the ads, he’d keep making the jingles.

This year also saw an outpouring of tech industry “celebs” taking the stage — from Sheryl Sandberg to Marissa Mayer — who found clever ways to speak to an audience full of advertising buyers and creatives without overtly making a sales pitch. Sandberg emphasized the proliferation of mobile, and also wove in her “Lean In” platform, calling for the ad industry to lead the charge in shifting the ratios of females in leadership positions, as well as to embrace diversity in the advertising and marketing campaigns they are creating for clients.

Mayer emphasized the creative side of the business, pointing to Tumblr as a perfect platform to create inspiring work. It’s wonderful to see powerful female leaders represent their brands at our industry’s biggest and most important conference.

It’s All About The Work

In some cases, the most awarded work of 2014 was all about doing good and making brands matter, in other cases it was about celebrating the sheer pleasure of consumerism. The mix of styles spoke to the heart of good marketing and what it can achieve when done in the right way.

In the first instance, there was CAA’s YouTube film for Chipotle, The Scarecrow, which took a Grand Prix in both PR and Cyber, along with multiple golds in PR, Cyber and Branded Content.

The film that sits behind an app launch and website was a bold move for the QSR, through the flawless direction of Tim Burton and the haunting sounds of Fiona Apple. Taking on “big food,” and the evils of mass food production, the film went beyond a strong piece of content, as the soundtrack was available for download on iTunes, with 60 cents per download benefiting the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. Since launch it has racked up nearly 13 million views on YouTube.

The most awarded campaign of the week was created by adam&eveDDB for the luxury department store chain, Harvey Nichols.

An integrated holiday campaign dubbed “Sorry I Spent It On Myself, the hysterical work invited seasonal shoppers to gift “cheapskate” gifts like paper clips and toothpicks — branded with Harvey Nichols and actually sold in stores — so they could instead give themselves larger indulgences like designer dresses and handbags. A hashtag #SpentItOnMyself helped garner additional attention via social media.

Brands and platforms

Every year, the attendance diversifies and while the big tech companies have been at Cannes for years, we saw even bigger programs, activations and events on the Croisette and beyond from the likes of Microsoft, Facebook and others. We were constantly bumping in to tech players from start-up ad-tech to established Silicon Valley players: Lithium, PubMatic and Klout, to name a few.

From “La Galerie D’Instagram” where attendees could peruse real-life works of art straight from Instagram, as well as be photographed by a professional photographer on a staged set, to Microsoft’s swanky Beach Club, to Yahoo’s free pedi-cabs helping deliver delegates from the Palais to The Martinez and back again, there were many creative executions designed to add value to the overall Cannes experience.

Marketers, for their part, showed up more prominently than ever. McDonald’s, Cannes’ Creative Marketer of the Year, brought a crew of at least 20 delegates, curated a high-level panel featuring the top execs at each of their creative and media agencies, and made a big splash in the Young Lions Zone in the Palais with their McCafe space, where delegates could grab complimentary coffee, iced tea and macaroons throughout the week.

Looking to 2015…

The Festival has oodles of programming and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to experience it all. Other marquee events have found success spinning off some of the content, similar to what TED has done with TEDx to make room for both excellent programming and invaluable networking. Another option could be to extend the conference portion to allow breathing space, or better segment the content so you can dip into the areas that are of most interest to you. On a more logistical level, we’d love to see more cell towers, 4G/improved internet connectivity and bandwidth, charging stations and water vending machines (there’s NEVER enough water!).

Au revoir ‘til next year!

Congrats to Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year – McDonald’s!

The Cannes Lions “Creative Marketer of the Year” recognizes a brand’s long-lasting commitment to creativity. This year, McDonald’s was awarded top honors for consistently producing boundary-pushing creative work with the help of top, award-winning agencies Leo Burnett, TBWA, OMD and DDB.

To talk about how they’ve kept the romance alive for more than four decades, McDonald’s hosted a lively panel discussion. Speakers included: Mark Tutsell, Global Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett; Kate Stephenson, President, Global Account Management Omnicom Media Group; Juan Carlos Ortiz, President Latin America, DDB; and Rob Schwartz, Global Creative President, TBWA.

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USA Today’s Laura Petrecca served as moderator.

Matt Biespiel, Global Director of Brand Strategy at McDonald’s kicked off the panel by noting that the brand’s award-winning work sees greater ROI than non-award-winning work. The panelists then shared their perspectives around how to build a lasting relationship and what has been key to their long-term partnership – letting the agencies in, a global philosophy of storytelling and focus on collaboration.

It was apparent that while these agencies are fierce competitors, they work together just as fiercely to make the brand’s creative work better each year. They also may have ketchup in their veins – we learned that Mark Tutssel and Juan Carlos Ortiz each served on the front lines, flipping burgers at McDonald’s to better understand the brand.

Additionally, McDonald’s had a very visible presence in the Palais where a pop-up McCafé served hot coffee, iced tea and delicious macaroons for delegates looking for a quick bite in between panel sessions and workshops.

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