The best for the last! The last day of the festival appeared to be chock-a-block with some of the best names in the world of advertising and a handful of celebrities gracing the Cannes stage. Sir Martin Sorrell, Sir John Hearty, Maurice Levy, Deboray Harry and even the footballer Ronaldo.
By 2050, the population of the world will be 9 ½ billion. We are already eating into the capital of the world. 2/3 rd of the world has water stress. In some places in Mumbai, people get water for only two hours at home. These are some of the facts thrown by Keith Weed, chief marketing and communication officer, Unilever while speaking about the environment impact on growth. This was the backdrop for him to introduce the fundamental reinvention of Unilever’s marketing plan.
“We aim to double our business while reducing our environment impact,” he stated to a houseful audience. The principles of their new strategy titled, Crafting Brands for Life, involved putting people first by empathising with them; Building brand love with superior products and compelling ideas; and sustainable living. He also used this opportunity to introduce an initiative by Unilever Charitable Foundation – Waterworks. Aimed at providing clean drinking water to 500 million people by 2020, this project connects Face Book users directly with the NGOs and gives people the chance to contribute to this cause. Those interested can visit –joinwaterworks.com.
Legendary and celebrated admen, Sir John Hegarty, Worldwide Creative Director and Founder BBH and Dan Wieden, Co-founder and Creative Director. Wieden+Kennedy, discussed creativity, lessons learnt and inspirations in a freewheeling chat. They showed us some of their best work - Nike, Google, Old Spice, Guardian, X Box. The P&G ad (The hardest job in the world –Thank you mom) gave me goose bumps. Their mantra for path breaking communication –“It’s about ideas and telling stories in such a powerful way that people are drawn in.” They used these principles even in the Google ad and managed to humanize a technology company. They further advised, “Think of the emotional essence of the issue and not the strategy.”
The Cannes Debate, a regular feature had Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive WPP speak to World Cup winner Ronaldo and Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair, London 2012 Organizing Committee. While Lord Sebastian Coe spoke about the economic and social benefits of hosting the Olympics, Ronaldo discussed Rio Olympics 2014. Speaking in Portuguese (there was an interpreter present) he threw light on the preparation taking place in Rio for the Olympics and the World Cup and the sponsorship opportunities available.
Grey’s –Annual Legends of Music, featured a talk with Deborah Harry, lead singer of the punk rock band –Blondie. My son said that she is famous, so I stayed back to see her but left mid way.
“Haven’t other internet platforms become more trendy than you?” asked Maurice Levy, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Publicis Group as he started his frank chat with Ross Levinsohn, Interim CEO, Yahoo. The response –With 700 million users, Yahoo continues to grow and stay relevant to its customers. “What does Yahoo expect from its communication agencies?” Answer – Help us figure out a way to stay connected to our consumers. After so many sessions, I had started to notice the common theme in all the talks –Talk to your consumers. Tell them stories. Empathize with them. Treat them like real people in a real world!!!
“If I have three choices for an agency, I will select you, you and you” For a client to say this is a dream for every agency. And a client did say it. The last session of the festival titled, “Can your client be your friend?” had two ‘friends,’ –Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer, General Motors and Jeff Goody, Co Founder and Chairman, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners go down memory lane. They reminisced over their twenty year old relationship as client and agency, the work they have done together, the $1.3 billion account that was given without a pitch and such matters. Just goes to show that if the chemistry is right, your client can surely be your friend.
With this I bid adieu to the seminars. Tomorrow would be devoted purely to seeing award winning work. the last of awards and a quick trip to Nice.
Authored By: Vandana Kakar, she is representing Mediavataar @ Cannes.