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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!

cannes

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.

pharrell

Detroit in One Word: Indomitable.

Amid the global participants at Cannes, the Lowe Campbell Ewald: Detroit – Reboot City seminar opened with an observation that a lot of reporters tour Detroit, take a few photos of the run-down, empty buildings, write their headline that ‘Detroit is dead’ and then leave.

What they fail to understand is the mecca of creativity, art, grit and inspiration that encompasses the city. It’s the type of creative energy that drove Lowe Campbell Ewald to return to downtown Detroit from the suburbs earlier this year after asking themselves what they could do to change their culture. Lowe Campbell Ewald’s Chief Creative Officer, one of the seminar’s speakers, felt the creative ‘can do’ spirit of downtown would offer an inspiring recharge to the agency’s more than 500 employees. And so far it has done just that.

Since making the decision to move its offices, the 103-year-old agency has taken the city’s rejuvenation as a personal crusade – developing campaigns that show local entrepreneurs and creatives in action, and in turn, bringing about a local pride that not many cities in the U.S. can attest to. Lowe Campbell Ewald’s dedication to its city is something familiar to Mark’s colleague Jose Miguel Sokoloff of Lowe SSP3 Colombia, another one of the seminar’s speakers. His campaign helped bring true change to Colombia, helping to demobilize FARC guerrillas in the country.

At the seminar, and by blanketing the streets of Cannes with “Detroit vs. Everybody” t-shirts, the two award-winning creatives brought global attention to Detroit’s local game changers. From entrepreneur Veronika Scott, whose not-for-profit The Empowerment Plan employs former homeless women to make puffy coats that turn into sleeping bags to help the homeless of Detroit battle the brutal winter, to Shinola Detroit, a watch factory with a laser focus on bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.– it’s clear that Lowe Campbell Ewald is onto something good by surrounding themselves with the like-minded sheer determination to rebuild Detroit.

Detroit Reboot session -Cannes

Seminar participant and famed DJ Carl Craig cited drum and bass as a new genre of music that was emerging around the time he was carving his own career in Detroit. Craig spoke about Movement, an electronic dance festival held in Detroit each Memorial Day weekend, and how it had contributed to the culture of the city.

Ghetto Recorders, explained by Craig as a stalwart Detroit recording studio, has also been central to the defining the sound of the city. Artists such as The White Stripes and Electric Six have traveled to Detroit to record within its cement shell – the sound softened only by some carpet found by Ghetto’s Jim Diamond. A little of the wild west, indeed.

The last Detroit local celebrated by the seminar participants was Airea “Dee” Matthews, who appeared on a beautifully shot video reciting “Wisdom,” a Katrina poem. The words were hauntingly relevant to Detroit.

Cannes Lions is a Festival that celebrates creativity and seeks to inspire, but if being in the south of France in June isn’t possible, perhaps a trip to Detroit is just what you need to get your entrepreneurial and creative juices flowing.

Cannes shows up for “surprise” guest Kanye West

The Grand Audi was bustling and filled to capacity on Tuesday following a morning of big-ticket presentations from Google’s Chief Business Officer, Nikesh Arora and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer.

A burst of press followed the last-minute addition of Kanye West to the bill. He was joined on stage by Translation CEO and Founder Steve Stoute, Andreessen Horowitz Co-founder and Partner Ben Horowitz, and moderator Stephanie Ruhle of Bloomberg. The session, Technology, Culture, and Consumer Adoption: Learning to Read the Cultural Landscape, started a little after 1 p.m., with lots of curiosity around how this soup would mix.

kanye-cannes-stoute

The connection between West and Stoute is obvious, but there was definite interest around how high-tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Horowitz would fit into the discussion with two people very comfortable being center stage. The answer? Beautifully well.

West, Stoute and Horowitz were a formidable trio of experts on the intersection of music, advertising and technology.

Apple was central to the discussion, which ranged from the late Steve Jobs (and West’s own comparison of himself to Jobs) and the iPod era, to Apple’s recent acquisition of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s Beats. Stoute, West and Horowitz all agreed that the acquisition was a smart move to help Apple regain some relevance and “coolness.”  Horowitz went as far as defining the $3B deal as 30 days of cash flow and saying that anyone who thought the price was too high was underestimating the potential for Apple.

West added, “I’m not a big fan of Samsung” (Jay-Z is a Samsung endorser) to which Stoute bellowed “There goes the neighborhood!” This was but one of the displays of humorous on-stage banter that made the session so entertaining.

On a human-interest note, here are some comments from West (because let’s be honest, we all want to know what he has to say at a festival like Cannes Lions):

  • Annie Leibovitz pulled out of photographing the West-Kardashian nuptials the day before the wedding; the “kiss” wedding photo circulated to press took four days to craft.
  • West has 10.5M followers on Twitter but only follows one person. His wife.
  • New word—“out-ass,” used in the context of trying to outclass someone by buying a $6K phone.

All-in, it was a rewarding session whether attendees came looking for Stoute-like insights on how to market using culture, Kimye gossip or wise words from Horowitz.

 

Live at Cannes: The Purchase Journey – MEC Unveils Momentum

“What does Momentum tell us about the purchase journey?” Yesterday the DGC team attended a MEC press conference at MEC’s Cabana No. 5, for the global launch of Momentum — a proprietary global study that takes a new approach to understanding and measuring how consumers make purchase decisions today.

MEC’s Global Head of Analytics and Insights, Stephan Bruneau; Stuart Sullivan-Martin, Global Strategy Officer, MEC UK; and Damian Thompson, Head of Consumer Insight, MEC; walked us through what Momentum means for marketers.

The study examined purchase decisions of over 100,000 consumers across 12 categories and 11 markets. Momentum quantifies consumer bias in categories such as, CPG, retail, durable goods and electronics. The research defines the following stages of the decision-making process: Passive, Trigger, Active and Purchase.

More than half of us have a clear idea of what we will buy before we enter the buying process. This is called Passive Stage bias. People with Passive Stage Bias consider fewer brands and are less concerned with price when making their choice. Flat-screen TVs, for example, have the lowest passive stage bias with 25%. This new approach to understanding the purchase journey can help to develop better brand strategies and grow your brand.

MEC built on its client work in understanding the purchase journey and combined it with theories that have emerged over the last five years. Here’s how Stuart Sullivan-Martin, Global Strategy Officer, MEC UK, explains it:

The Momentum study closes gaps in understanding between what shoppers do during the purchase journey, how their perceptions of a brand influence their behavior, and how they use media and brand communication to make choices. Here’s a look at what Charles Courtier, Global CEO MEC, had to say about Momentum and its impact for MEC’s clients:

 Charles Courtier, Global CEO, MEC, discusses MEC’s groundbreaking study, “Momentum,” at the press launch held at MEC’s Cabana No. 5

You Know You’re in Cannes When…

The DGC team is back on the Croisette, and it feels good, yet oddly familiar. Although a year has passed since we were here with McDonald’s and General Motors, and we’ve only been back in Cannes for a few days, there are some things that never quite change here.

You know you’re in Cannes when…

  1. You carbo-load on croissants, (pain aux chocolat and baguettes) and swear you’ll find time to work out and burn it all off. We all know how that one goes.
  2. You’re on “Cannes Time” (where 15 minutes late is actually early because you run into at least five people each time you walk down the Croisette. You’re constantly dehydrated no matter how many carafes d’eaux are on hand. The combination of cappuccino, rosé, salty air and three hours sleep means constant thirst.
  3. You ration clothes for the best parties, seminars, award shows and meetings, only to find out that the important client meeting is cancelled, and an A-list outfit has been wasted.
  4. You blow a fuse in the hotel room while using a hair dryer which means you’ll be sporting a ponytail to control the frizzy mess for the rest of the week. You can’t access email or make phone calls even though all technology needs are on hand: Backup converter? Check. Blackberry and iPhone chargers? Check. Laptop? Check. iPad? Check. International calling plan? Check.  Inevitably you’ll need to call the IT department on a Saturday.
  5. You’re more star struck by  advertising creatives hanging around the Carlton Terrace than celebrities sitting on seminar panels. “Nick Canon? Who’s that? You saw David Droga in the flesh? OMG what was he wearing? Tell me everything.”
  6. You walk by Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier every day on the way to the Palais, but gazing into the Mediterranean is so much sweeter.
  7. Your days end at 2 a.m., and start again at 8 a.m., yet somehow it never feels long enough to accomplish everything.
  8. You pinch yourself and realize how lucky you are to be surrounded by the smartest and most creative minds in marketing and media, in one of the most beautiful places in the world and get to call it work while sipping on a glass of rosé.

2013 Is Big Year for PR at Cannes

Our reporters on the ground in Cannes, DGC’s Samantha DiGennaro, Erin Donahue and Megan McIlroy, attended the PR Lions last night, and 2013 is the year that PR agencies walked away with more Gold and Silver awards than ever.  Ketchum, Ogilvy PR, Weber Shandwick, Edelman and Havas PR all took home Lions, and PR Week has the full list of winners.

Even though PR firms made good headway this year compared to years past, the PR Grand Prix went to Melbourne ad agency McCann for their “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign for Metro Trains, in addition to picking up the Direct Grand Prix.

What made it so good? JWT CCO Matt McDonald tells Adweek why he wishes he made it.

PR Lions Jury President, Ketchum CEO David Gallagher said of the campaign, “It wasn’t that long ago when most of our content was centered around a press release and we were pretty happy when a press release was distributed and received and maybe even used by journalists to engage and amplify a message to the public. Those days are behind us. What we need now is content like this, based on real human insight that understands safety isn’t a fun message, that the way to reach children in particular needs to be fun, engaging and imminently sharable, and it needs to bring about real change.

Wise words for our industry. Check out the campaign video (sitting at a cool 49 million views on Youtube):

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