The Cannes Debrief: The Empathy Unlock
22 July 2020

View our Cannes Lions Live Debrief here

A small slice of normality was felt when Cannes Lions announced it would be taking its renowned festival online. For five hours a day during the week that would have seen the Croisette filled with industry folk waxing lyrical about the world-class content, we could turn all the lights on in our new home offices, pour a rosé and lose ourselves pretending we were on the French Riviera.

We have pulled out three themes we feel are prudent to focus on, as we look to H2 2020 and beyond, and highlighted the sessions we think you must watch, along with further recommendations (all clickable from the PDF). We also share our point-of-view on the theme; offering you solutions, tangible advice, and ways in which we can offer added value. The second theme we explore is called The Empathy Unlock.



A Human-first approach.

As empathy is becoming core to communications planning, we have witnessed a dynamic shift from brands to consumers at the heart of communications. Nowadays empathy is undertaking a new & deeper turn in meaning. We are currently building a new paradigm – putting humanity first. Human-first marketing, communications and media approaches are what will shape culture, spark movements and change human behaviour. Our industry needs to do better at deepening connections with consumers, understanding them and tailoring opportunities that would enrich their lives.


OMD Must Watch: CMO Spotlight: Asim Naseer, Beiersdorf Chief Marketing Officer of Consumer Brands & Executive Board Member


In this interview as part of the ‘CMO Spotlight’ series, Naseer shares his thoughts on his first eighteen months at FMCG leader, Beiersdorf. On offering advice to incoming CMOs, Naseer highlights the benefits of spending the first two months “stepping in, observing, learning, listening and not talking a lot”. He explains the benefits of being able to visit local markets, pre-COVID-19, and having the opportunity to see the Nivea brand through the lens of the consumer. “I have been to some of these different markets [and] people think it is a brand from there – it’s a local brand, and not a brand that started in Germany”, he explains of the heritage and trust in Nivea.

Naseer goes on to discuss the importance of strategic innovation, with the best insight coming straight from the consumer. “As the former CEO of my previous company A.G. Lafley used to say; “consumers are the boss”. I do believe it, and I think the strongest ideas of the biggest insights, come from the consumers”.

Naseer also praised the speed and agility in which Beiersdorf has pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic, converting plants across the five continents to start making disinfectant.


You can watch the full interview here.




The practice of empathy in all areas of our business is key to unlock growth and improve performance for our clients, but it is also the right thing to do to enrich the lives of all consumers.

As we advance further from one-to-many to one-to-one targeted comms strategies, more than ever we need to be able to see the world through the eyes of the consumers we’re trying to reach. Therefore, the more determined we are to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients, partners and consumers, the more we will question and correct our own choices as empathy is the first step to making Better decisions, faster.

Unearthing the richness & diversity behind each individual, community and story, movement through Omni & OMD Design provides us with richer understanding of the consumers’ unvoiced, unmet & untapped desires and needs. This helps define better strategic opportunities, and thus the comms & media set to fulfil them.




Hakuhoda presents Brain Drool


“Brain Drool” is an exhibition to compete for the “strong impact upon
human instincts”.

(Beyond tribes, beyond cultures) we present the visuals that strike upon the essential human nature. Such visuals are new, strong and needed all the more in times like these when the world is dominated
by the left-brains, digital tech and coronavirus. HakuhodoGroup’s art forces reassures your instincts of the proven power of Hakuhodo marketing and creativity.

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