My final day at Cannes started in the Lions Innovation area. This area is dedicated more to tech and data. The atmosphere was markedly different than in the other areas of the Festival. More collaborative, people sharing ideas and business concepts. There was a real energy in the area.
The first talk I went to was from Audi CMO Luca de Meo. For me, who is a fan of data and how it can help unlock insights and great creative, I found his talk hugely interesting.
Luca spoke about electric cars and how the people who wanted it, couldn’t afford it and the people who could afford didn’t want it. Without the data to tell them this they could create and launch a product in the wrong way.
He spoke a lot about people as well. And the types of people he’s putting together to work on the brand. In his words, in the future creative people won’t just play with words. They’ll play with numbers.
Audi AG are currently building what they call a content factory. A place where they create, curate and distribute stories of innovation or experience around the Audi brand. If our purchase decisions are driven by emotion, then sharing the DNA of the Audi brand with people who have the same interest, is a really important objective.
Finally, and in true Audi style they revealed their Mission to the Moon Project. Its their entry into the Google Lunar X Prize. Naturally it will have all wheel quattro technology.
Next up was a hugely entertaining talk by Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein of Goodby Silverstein & Partners. They are anarchic and hilarious individuals and it was amazing to see that their work for brands like Budweiser, Electric Arts & Sega were a direct representation of their personalities. One of the most engaging talks all week.
Next on the main stage was Maurice Levy of Publicis and David Guetta. Maurice talked a lot of endorsements and David spoke about co-branding. It struck me that on the surface they were talking about the same thing but in reality there is a huge difference. To me, in traditional endorsement there’s often very little passion for the actual product. Co-branding, in the words of David Guetta, was partnering with a brand that will help him do what he can’t do alone. In the case of his partnership with Mumm they made the music video and he helped them sell Champagne. So both brands won. In Atomic Sport we talk a lot about brand/athlete fit and this has crystallised to me that an Athlete merely holding the product to the camera is not good enough anymore. There has to be a shared purpose.
Finally Heineken took the stage. A really honest and open presentation. They spoke a lot about making mistakes and how they learn from them.
They have a ten step ladder to work out the power of their campaigns. They went into some detail on them but for me, Number Four stood out for me and that was ‘Cliche’. Cliche to Heineken isn’t being corny, it’s conforming to the norms of the category. What they were fighting against was being generic and forgettable.
What was powerful about this talk is that it is very clear that they do believe in setting a creative framework for everything they do. This is smart because it sets the ground rules to do challenging work from their partners. They completely believe in the power of creativity and innovation.
A great talk and then they bought everyone in the audience a beer. No better to win hearts and minds!