Cannes Lions: Marketing trends and what we learned from Kanye West


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We collected some of the top marketing trends across brand experience, digital, social & mobile marketing and more from this year's Cannes Festival of Creativity.

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Cannes Lions: Marketing trends and what we learned from Kanye West

  1. 1. 1 Cannes Lions 2014 What We Saw, What We Liked and What We Learned from Kanye West By Tomas Larsson and Abbie Walker
  2. 2. 1The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a yearly celebration of the most spectacularly creative ideas to come out of our industry. Just a few short weeks after Hollywood swoops in to snag their Palms d’Or, we descend on the town to hunt for shiny metal lions– and rosé. Every year, trends emerge when looking at the entries, shortlists and winners–and this year was no exception. For us, three things stood out… 1..2..3
  3. 3. 2 Nice is the new black Doing great work for a good cause isn’t a new thing; it’s the oldest trick in the book. What was interesting this year was the refreshingly diverse tone, and more importantly that “feel good” work is no longer just for charity. Nice is in, in a big way. Here are our favorite examples at this year’s Cannes Lions: • The Hair Fest —Brilliantly simple • Fuck the Poor—Sobering and candid • Sweetie—Ingenious and innovative • Pedigree Adopt Campaign—Tear-jerking • ANZ’s GAYTM—Fabulous 1
  4. 4. 3 Big Data has been all the rage for a few years, with so much excited chatter that it’s been destined for the dreaded buzzword zone. What we find truly interesting about Big Data isn’t the data itself, but the meaningful parsing of it and the magically simple expressions that can come out of it. This came through in two pieces of work we particularly admire: • British Airways, Magic of Flying—Accessible and simple • Honda, Sound of Honda Visceral and powerful Big data is really simple 2
  5. 5. 4 Long have we debated the golden ratio in the equation of “value to the consumer” versus “too much private information”. As the digitally native generation grows up, consumers are less and less paranoid about sharing their personal data. What is your personal data worth? Less and less, it appears—and brands stand to take advantage. This was evident in a couple of stand-out examples this year: • Molson Canadian, Passport Beer Fridge • Coke, Happy ID Privacy value exchange 3
  6. 6. 5 Yeezus, it’s a bridge What’s really profound about the Cannes Lions is that of all the stellar work on display, the most brilliant ones win across multiple categories—which is to say, great ideas transcend media. But this phenomenon means that the most unique and fresh ideas become part of culture, the moment, the zeitgeist. And if you want to come back next year as a Grand Prix winner as opposed to a Bandol-swilling spectator, you’d best be making trends— not following them. How to get there? Follow a true cultural innovator. Love him, hate him, but whatever you do, let him finish: Kanye West. Indeed some of the best lessons of Cannes came from a terrific panel organized by Translation with agency founder Steve Stout, visionary tech investor Ben Horowitz and the great Kanye. Billed Technology, Culture and Consumer Adoption: Learning to Read the Cultural Landscape, the real message was simpler than that. The stark stage became a forum for Yeezus himself to impart his gospel to a packed crowd hanging on his every word. In the moment, it was hilarious and cringe- worthy, but in reality and upon reflection it was profound. Here, dissected, are the golden nuggets of what we learned from Kanye… at Cannes-ye. How to get there? Follow a true cultural innovator. Love him, hate him, but whatever you do, let him finish: Kanye West.
  7. 7. 6Kanye’s commitment to working with the best illustrates an unwavering focus to be the best and to produce the best work. He wants to be the best, so he’ll only be with the best. Too often we compromise, marking it up as pragmatism, but ultimately it leads to just-okay work. If you align yourself with the best, you open yourself up to being challenged by new and brilliant perspectives, which in turn help you grow. You are the product of your environment. The greatest work is always for other people. Understanding a greater purpose in everything we do spurs innovation and progress. This is one of the biggest failures of the marketing world. Stop being a sycophant to the lowest common denominator, and start partnering with the brand to make the world better for the people we serve. I only work with the number one. We don’t make things for ourselves. We make things for other people.
  8. 8. 7 Ultimately, with knocks comes great understanding, and incredible skill. You learn the most from mistakes, so we should all try and make a few, now and then. As marketers, it makes us more human, and more authentic. Just know that if you want to be a boxer, you are going to get your face bashed in constantly, but you may end up being a Mayweather or an Ali. Understanding that sometimes your creative output isn’t going to be understood by everyone is the greatest gift you can be given. Kanye has obviously thrived in the space of backlash, upset and accusations of poor taste. Brands and marketers can do that, too. Honey Maid learned this with their wholesome families campaign. You have to swim in the backlash
  9. 9. 8 More often than not, when an idea has never been considered before, it might on the face of it seem like a bad idea, despite its genius. Lots of the things that have changed our world—Twitter and Facebook, to name two examples—were initially dismissed as terrible ideas by outside observers. It seemed merely a cheeky way to end the session—but really, like so many Kanye golden nuggets, this really captures the marketing opportunity of our age. We are sitting on the cusp of another golden age of culture, and one that brands can play a huge role in creating. To play that role, however, they’ll have to support the very best content creators. Funding or encouraging mediocrity is suicide. If people are saying you are wrong, then it’s a good sign that you are a genius. Empower the best content creators or f*ck you.
  10. 10. 9 So what to make of all of this? It’s really quite simple: be a creator. Brands, challenge your agencies to create new things. Agencies, challenge your clients to think bigger. He may not let on, but Kanye West is just one man. Imagine what this kind of swagger, bravery, risk and imagination could mean for a global brand. At Jack Morton, we believe we could change the world. Tomas Larsson and Abbie Walker respectively lead the creative and strategy teams at Jack Morton’s New York office. Cannes-ye’s golden nuggets—Takeaways for brands and agencies So what to make of all of this? It’s really quite simple: be a creator.
  11. 11. Talk to Jack Contact Melinda Lindland SVP, New Business and Group Account Director Read our blog at Follow us on twitter @jackmorton Visit us online at About Jack Morton We’re a global brand experience agency. We generate breakthrough ideas, connecting brands and people through experiences that transform business. Our portfolio of award-winning work spans 75 years across event marketing, sponsorship marketing, promotion and activation, experience strategy, employee engagement, digital, social, and mobile. Ranked at the top of our field, Jack Morton is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG). More information is available at: or @jackmorton © Jack Morton Worldwide 2014 Want a debrief on Cannes? Interested in hearing our standing–room only talk from Cannes? Contact us…