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Cannes Lions, the most prestigious international creative communications awards festival, kicked off this week showcasing more than 34,000 entries from around the world.

Major brands and agencies battle it out each year in June to win one of the highly-coveted Lion trophies presented at four award ceremonies throughout the week.

The Social@Ogilvy team is on the ground at Cannes, gathering insight into what some of the key messages are during this seven day festival.

Here are four insights from day one highlighting what some of the top minds in the advertising and marketing worlds are thinking about in 2013.

Change the world

Large brands have both the opportunity and the responsibility to bring about positive change in the world. This means they must also have the courage to challenge the status quo.

As Coca-Cola showed us, what unites us is much greater than that which divides us. Since 1955, The Coca-Cola Company has moved as an organization toward social change but they’re not the only ones eager to change the world through marketing.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the 2013 Cannes Chimera Challenge. The Chimera Challenge goes out to the creative community to turn their ideas into global change.

As Ogilvy & Mather’s Graham Fink tweeted, “Everyday we solve clients’ problems. Now let’s solve the world’s.” But global problems are huge, and extreme poverty may be among the most intractable.

As highlighted by the team behind the Chimera Challenge, one in four children under five is malnourished. This year, the challenge is to bring the number of people living in extreme poverty down as close to zero as possible.

“You gotta wade through a lot of sh*t to get to the diamond.” - Jack Black

Jack Black took to the stage on the first day as part of Yahoo’s seminar 'The New World of Online Content – Appealing to the Habits of Today’s Consumer'. He stressed that time is the new currency of the web so we have to spend viewers’ time wisely.

When Jack Black is watching content on a small screen, he says he’s done after 30 seconds. In fact, he opined that “The smaller the screen is, the smaller my attention span is.” Given that, a new layer of mediation is emerging to help people wade through the ocean of content.

 

“The marriage of content and technology is exciting,” said Nick D’Aloisio, Founder of Summly, “In part because of how it enhances our ability to curate and personalize.” And along with that comes the imperative for textual summarization, since many people are consuming content exclusively on phones. Personalization and summarization make content more discoverable, especially on small screens.

Discoverability is already a hot commodity on the web, and that’s only going to intensify. As Jack Black, or any other once-unknown star could tell you, being discovered is the first prerequisite for success.

From shops to showrooms

The newly defined group of digitally savvy women leading the way in how digital devices are being used for digital browsing and digital buying have been classified as 'Digital Divas'.

They’re already transforming the way online shopping takes place in leading edge markets like China, where retailers are remaking the retail store from a point of sale into a point of experience to fulfill their needs.

Digital Divas are online black-belts, buying everything from hair care to hotel rooms using nothing but broadband and Taobao.

The new 80/20 rule

Mindshare and McLaren teamed up to proffer the new 80/20 rule: 80% science and 20% magic. But is science just code for big, faceless data? With 6.5bn bytes of data running though the car, it might seem that way. But not for McLaren.

For them, science is the underpinning that allows the magic to flourish. “Data,” as John Allert of McLaren said, “needs to be agile, organic, and people friendly.” And at the human scale. Agility, McLaren’s Rob Davis reminds us, is key. If you don’t adapt, he maintained, “you’ll fail.” But is failure such a bad thing?

Jennifer Frommer of Universal Music doesn’t think so. She said that at her organization they embrace failure and, “Fail everyday.” To be a top player in advertising you certainly have to be willing to fail, otherwise you’ll never be aggressive enough in signing new business.

By way of analogy, Frommer told the story of one A&R stalwart who camped out in a fast food restaurant outside the apartment of a prospective artist.

Maybe these comparisons to the music industry and F1 racing give the creative folk a new a new 80/20 rule: Try so hard that you might fail 80% of the time; the other 20% just might be win the race.

Heather Taylor

Published 18 June, 2013 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is VP Head of Social Content at Social@Ogilvy and a guest blogger on Econsultancy. You can follow her on TwitterGoogle+ or Pinterest.

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