Tag: OMD Oasis

Download Complete: Cannes Lions 2017

Regardless of where you stand on the relevance and value of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, there is still much to take away from this year’s event. Since its inception in 1954, the festival continues to evolve throughout the years adding a number of new categories from creative effectiveness to PR and Film Craft. OMD EMEA’s head of strategy, Mark Murray-Jones has expertly sifted through the huge amount of content on offer, from the brands and work to AI and data, to give you the lowdown on what mattered most.


Mark’s seven key Cannes Lions takeaways:

1. The anatomy of a successful client is changing – so must agencies.
2. The virtual reality hype is over – there are opportunities abound.
3. AI is infinitely more transformative than any other technology since the birth of the internet – it’s becoming the plumbing.
4. Think augmented rather than artificial intelligence.
5. The success of data is predicted on diverse skills and capabilities working collectively.
6. Collaborate or die – there’s never been a better time.
7. As for the work – technology is the great enabler, not just a filter.

It is easy to forget that the main reason for Cannes Lions is the work, with over 40,000 submissions and 400 judges selecting the winners. Having been a part of the media jury, OMD EMEA’s president Nikki Mendonça shared her insight on what it takes to win. Perhaps not surprising was that a key criterion for the media jury this year was seeing how the marketing drove tangible business results.


The OMD Oasis also returned for its fifth year. We hosted 22 sessions over five days, curating an experience for our clients, friends and partners to hear about new techniques, tools and ideas. With topics ranging from diversity and inclusion to innovation and growth, our theme throughout the week was to uncover how we make stories matter. Part of this was uncovering how people interact with emerging technologies and to this end, OMD EMEA’s strategy and product development director Jean-Paul Edwards discussed the results of our new research titled ‘Retail Revolution’ with Carlos Watson, which delves deeper into the impact of AI.


These are just some of our highlights from Cannes, explore more at #OMDOasis and on our YouTube channel.

Have a question or want to know more? Email us at [email protected]

OMD Worldwide Named Media Network Of The Year At Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity has named OMD Worldwide Media Network of the Year after winning one Gold, five Silver and five Bronze lions and earning 14 shortlists in the Media Lions category. Innovation and creativity are at the centre of what we stand for. We are extremely proud of the creative and innovative work we are producing around the world in partnership with our clients.

Below our worldwide CEO, Mainardo de Nardis, and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity CEO, Philip Thomas, talk about the reignited ‘Media Network of the Year’ accolade and what the currency of a Cannes Lion means to the industry.



11 Media Lions were awarded for work across a broad spectrum of client categories – including, automotive, food & beverage, non-profit, retail and technology including:

  • An Excellence in Media Planning GOLD LION awarded to MANNING GOTTLIEB OMD for “NO ONE SHOULD HAVE NO ONE” (AGE UK)
  • A Use of Real-Time Data SILVER LION awarded to OMD SINGAPORE for “Restaurant Capacity Based Advertising for McDelivery” (MCDONALD’S)
  • Data Driven Targeting SILVER LION awarded to MANNING GOTTLIEB OMD for “No One Should Have No One” (Age UK)
  • Cars & Automotive Products & Services SILVER LION awarded to OMD Dubai for “Camelpower Automotive” (NISSAN)
  • Media & Publications SILVER LION awarded to OMD UK for “Channel 4 Paralympics” (PARALYMPICS CHANNEL 4)
  • Use of Integrated Media SILVER LION awarded to OMD UK for “Channel 4 Paralympics” (PARALYMPICS |CHANNEL 4)     
  • Use of Brand or Product Integration into a Program or Platform BRONZE LION awarded to OMD USA for “Serena Match Point” (GATORADE /PEPSICO
  • Use of TV   BRONZE LION awarded to OMD DOMINICANA |for “Equalitv International Women’s Day” (LA SIRENA)
  • Use of Brand or Product Integration into a Program or Platform BRONZE LION awarded to OMD USA for “Super Bowl Drones Half Time Show” (INTEL)
  • Use of Other Screens BRONZE LION awarded to MANNING GOTTLIEB OMD for “Spring Waitrose” (WAITROSE)
  • Use of Brand or Product Integration into a Program or Platform BRONZE LION awarded to MANNING GOTTLIEB OMD for “Buster the Boxer” (JOHN LEWIS)

Huge congratulations to our clients, partners and talent!

For more information, visit PR Newswire.

OMD Oasis at CES 2017: I want my own TV – the rise of addressability

What are the three scariest words to a marketeer? Well, according to David Pogue, Tech Critic at Yahoo Finance, at the OMD Oasis at CES last week they are “skip this ad”. The four members of the panel delved deeper into why consumers want to skip ads and their conclusion? It’s all down to relevance (or lack of it).

Bastien Schupp, Vice President Global Marketing Communications at Groupe Renault, explored the notion of relevance further by equating it to the car industry. He explained that, at any one time, 96% of people are not in the market for a vehicle and yet around 90% of communication is attributed to them. He talked about how we need more balance in focusing on the 4% who are actually ‘in the market’ to buy a car by marketing to individuals rather than marketing to the masses. His stark warning?

“More efficient targeting is about relevance. And if we don’t become more relevant we are doomed.” 

Bastien also added that it goes far beyond targeting, it’s also about relevant content too. Simply put? “You can’t just put your TV commercial on digital platforms”. He pointed out that achieving this shift was “a long process” and to ensure this happens “agencies need to transform rapidly”.

Paul Kelly, Chief Partnerships Officer at Awesomeness TV, elaborated further on the topic of relevance. He made a clear distinction between ‘individual relevance’ (something that satisfies the need state at that particular moment in time) and also ‘cultural relevance’ which he said was “an inconvenient truth… purchase decisions are often made on emotion rather than fact”. Kelly insisted that by continuing to chase increasing accountability through all forms of addressable media “we are possibly missing out on cultural relevance”. He cited an example from Honda who had decided to target younger age groups even though they are obviously not in the market for a Honda. The reasoning behind that move? Because if Honda don’t speak to those younger consumers then by the time they get into the market Honda won’t be in their consideration set. He added, “a lot of big brands are missing out on that right now”.

Nikki Mendonça, President at OMD EMEA, interjected and stated that brands need to become more disruptive. She believes that since the economic crisis many clients had become “risk averse” but she had detected more recently that some clients were becoming “more willing to take risks”. In terms of addressable media, she added that “we are only at the beginning” and the main challenges to adoption would be the acceleration of technology, how we use the data and data protection laws. But she made it clear that both advertisers and agencies need to get on board because “no-one is going to stop the addressability train”.


What followed was a lively debate on the future of live content via the likes of Periscope, Meerkat or Facebook Live. Bastien Schupp believes it’s potential is “hugely overrated”. He conceded that it may offer an interesting opportunity at live sporting events (such as unique viewing at half time during a football match) but for the automotive industry he was much more sceptical: “we could broadcast from a Motor Show but frankly unless we had a flying car then no-one would watch”.

David Pogue disagreed. His assertion was that the power of live video was its authenticity. He offered a personal perspective of taking the unboxing of technology (something we have all witnessed on YouTube) and taking it to a live platform. For example, he had reviewed the Apple Airpots in a 15-minute unveiling last month. Despite the fact that he didn’t think anyone would watch he was astonished that “58,000 people watched me open a box!”. In the following days, the views jumped up into the hundreds of thousands. He went on to say that although it wasn’t necessarily the best quality broadcast the fact that “you can’t edit it and you can’t script it” is one of the main reasons why consumers love it so much.

Paul Kelly had a foot in each camp. He acknowledged that there were limited applications for ‘live’ right now but still felt that we would pivot towards it when we had figured out how best to use it. And that is a challenge for clients, agencies and vendors alike to determine how best to use the platform. What is also true is that the technology will continue to evolve and as such previously undreamed-of applications will inevitably surface. But the key driver of the platform will, as ever, be the consumer themselves. As Kelly put it so succinctly “it depends solely on what the audience wants to see”.

CES 2017: Eureka Park ignites the senses for storytelling

Walking through Eureka Park at CES is like stepping through the collective mind of invention. The Park specialises in startups, providing them with a unique platform to launch a new product, service, or idea. It offers an exhilarating glimpse into the future, and as a visitor you know you may be witnessing the birth of what could be one of the most important innovations of the future. But the skill is in sensing and sorting the brilliant from the baffling, no mean feat when new products and ideas are at their most awkward, confusing, yet hopeful stage of development.

As the OMD Ignition Factory (OMD USA’s Innovation unit) guided us on our curated tour through the halls filled with holograms, robots, hearables  (yes, that’s right, the latest word coined to describe smart headphones), and the connected home, I wondered how I could distill the most pertinent and meaningful points for our clients. What was the story that I was going to share with them so as to create useful insights and implications for their businesses? And then it dawned on me; storytelling through the senses. Eureka!

SIGHT: See it, Scan it, Stream it

One of the exhibitors that stopped us in our tracks was bellus3D, the high-resolution 3D face scanner. In just 20 seconds, your mobile phone can create a 3D image of your face which you can then share virtually with the world. The application for gaming is obvious; you can have the real you as your avatar. But you can also extend this capability into broader digital storytelling by giving people the opportunity to place themselves within content and be part of a brand’s narrative. Now that’s an interesting direction for the personalization of content strategy.

For the beauty industry, there’s the opportunity to use your 3D image within virtual make-up applications. Moreover, with the high-resolution imaging that shows every pore and wrinkle, therapists will now be able to offer virtual skincare guidance. Oh, and did I mention that you can even 3D print your own face? It sounds odd, doesn’t it? But imagine walking into an optician’s and being able to put your next pair of sunglasses on your face, look at yourself head on rather than through a mirror. That’s a practical innovation in my books.

Switching our attention to how we create and view content, hubbl offers hardware based, real-time VR streaming over broadband internet via your phone. At $1,000 a pop for a headset, you can deliver 4K-enabled personal broadcasts with ease and simplicity.  That’s a phenomenal democratisation of content production because all you need is power and good infrastructure. Imagine how it could be used for meetings and smaller productions, giving a different perspective to live shows. It would offer a greater level of reality and intimacy, adding richness and authenticity to a brand’s story.

SOUND: Hear it clearer and sharper than ever before

Harnessing the power of sound is a theme that’s getting louder as we hurtle towards a voice-activated world and brands grapple with their sound strategy. After all, you can tell Alexa to turn down the volume on your smart earbuds or turn on the dishwasher because your hands are full feeding your toddler. Beyond the practical uses of voice activation, there’s also the romance of sound. The impact that music and human voices have upon our desires and emotions is something all of us know and feel.

Waveion loudspeaker claim to have solved the problem of sound distortion. These floor mounted speakers contain technology that removes the need for a membrane and by delivering a pulsating air shaft, the sound is distributed evenly and uniformly, which is key for audiophiles. There are devices like AIVIA, the voice activated, Google assisted, personal home speaker that allow you to stream content to a single media hub. When you consider the investments that people make into their home entertainment systems and the heightened expectation around sound quality, brands should give real consideration to their sonic architecture and determine the voices, music, and sonic triggers that comprise their brand identity.

TOUCH: Feel the connections

An over-arching CES theme this year is that of connection; how to connect everything in a way that delivers utility and comfort, rather than merely novelty. One of the most interesting, entertaining, and dominating entrants were the robots. There’s Buddy, the cute companion robot who can recognise facial expressions and be controlled by your mobile phone so you can check in on your children when you’re at work, stay connected to your elderly parents, or turn off your lights when you’re on a business trip. There’s UBtech’s Lynx, the humanoid robot which can teach your kids football (or soccer), or guide you through a yoga session whilst playing you soothing music throughout, thanks to the integration with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service. The infusion of emotional attributes to tech has made it far more palatable and with price points as low as US$749, you know this is going to be popular.


Smart wearables and, more specifically, sporting garments received a lot of attention for it’s now the garment itself that is the computer. From Sensoria which has worked with Microsoft to create smart golf gloves with sensors that correct your swing consistency, to D-AIR, the wearable airbag system for motorcyclists, we’re seeing data being used to make athletes perform better but also feel safer.

As the Internet of Things continues to connect more devices to each other and churn out more data, how you make people feel at the most fundamental human level remains of critical importance. Storytelling has always been our way of making sense of the world and that need for sense and meaning is essential as we navigate our way through Eureka Park. Remember this and the inventions and innovations across the halls of CES become a joy to explore as you consider how to inject freshness and experimentation into your brand stories and strategies in 2017.

CES 2017: The innovation mandate

We are just one week into 2017 as 200,000 people ascend on Las Vegas for the 50th year of the Consumer Electronics Show. Whilst CES has become the place for marketers to see the latest and greatest, meet with agencies and partners, and just have a good time, the real reason to attend CES is to get your innovation agenda in place for the new year.

Every marketer should adopt an innovation mandate – be it a manifesto, a framework or a roadmap. Innovation is not an accident. The best innovation is intentional. This is the difference between true innovation and ideation. Marketing innovation is separate from creative ideation. The two often get confused as the same. Innovation is the delivery of ideas that causes disruption or accelerates opportunities.

Successful innovation mandates are:

  1. True to a marketers’ organisation and brand
  2. Measurable (good or bad)
  3. Long-term visions with short-to-mid-term flexibility
  4. Supported broadly across the organisation (top down, bottom up)
  5. Safe zones for an organisation to push teams
  6. Not an accident: They are carefully designed and structured

If done right, marketing innovation removes friction, tells a story and allows for emotions to overweigh data. Sometimes you need to fire before you can aim. Innovation mandates will allow you to define the disruption opportunities (think Netflix 1.0–DVD distribution) as well as acceleration opportunities (think Netflix 2.0–content creation).

As you continue to walk the halls of CES or get enamoured by what’s in the trades this week, don’t forget that innovation is intentional. Reaching consumers in new ways and in new places is seldom achieved on just a leap of faith. Spend time analysing your innovation agenda and updating it for the new year, new gadgets, new trends and new opportunities.

At CES 2017, OMD has focused on Immersive Marketing at the OMD Oasis, an invite-only program structured to galvanise our clients, our global leadership and Omnicom friends around innovative conversations and extraordinary ideas. Learn more at ces.omd.com and follow #OMDOasis and @dougs_digs.

OMD Oasis at CES 2017: The art of storytelling in an attention deficit world

At a convention powered by the latest in technological innovation, it was the art of storytelling that captivated the marketing community at OMD Oasis. Claudia Cahill, OMD Content Collective’s President, led a panel comprised of the industry’s leaders in storytelling: Steve Peace (SVP International Media, Sony Pictures), Brad Jakeman (President, PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group), Dawn Ostroff (President, Condé Nast Entertainment), Mike McCue (CEO Flipboard) and Bryn Mooser (Co-Founder & CEO RYOT).

Each panelist offered a distinct and fascinating perspective on the challenges and contradictions inherent in storytelling in a world that demands both short, snackable content as well as complex, immersive stories that fuel our deepest passions.

Whilst all agreed that brand storytelling has become a much more complex challenge because of both consumer expectation and the proliferation of platforms and channels, the solutions varied. Steve explained that at Sony Pictures, “a narrative structure has been created in which the first 3 seconds are comprised of 5 to 10 shots; a visual mnemonic of the very best shots in our film that pulls you into watching the entire trailer’’. And it’s a narrative structure that is powered by reams of data.

At PepsiCo, Brad built a Content Center because “it was the only way to create the type of content needed to keep pace with the need for innovation’’. He explained that technology provides enormous opportunity for the expression of ideas but the content is critical. “The holy grail is how deeply someone has engaged with the content and it’s not about reach’’.
Dawn shared how she started the Next Gen Studio at Condé Nast to create a storytelling capability on every single platform and admitted that making content for a younger, Millennial audience is challenging because “GenZ have grown up on a diet of content snacks’’ and that there remains a gap in longer form content that is made specifically for them. Mike reminded the audience of the importance of having clear and meaningful objectives and that “really high-quality stories should be the goal’’, not short snackable content; “any story, short or long, has the power to move the world forward’’.

Disrupting the content creation process

The opportunity to break the rules and to disrupt the content creation process was debated and Bryn explained that the mobile phone has been the vehicle for the democratization of filmmaking. It made it possible for anyone out there to shoot a film and tell a great story. Moreover, with Facebook and YouTube 360, the way you look at video has fundamentally changed; you’re now able to step inside the story, to experience what the person holding the camera sees and feels, bringing people right up close to events around the world. And that closeness is what fuels peoples’ voices and passions.


The discussion shifted into learnings for the audience and there were five key takeaways:

  • Global vs. Local: Ensure stories are relevant across different geographies
    At PepsiCo, a content slate is developed for brands and countries in advance so that the right content is crafted. Interestingly, 90% of their content is now developed globally and shared across territories.
  • Immersive Storytelling isn’t achieved solely by technologies and tactics like VR and AR
    Narrative structure can be incredibly immersive. Consider content strategy over longer timeframes to build out worlds and/or characters, and give people a peek into that.
  • Be nimble and open to change.
    The technology still has to catch up with the vision of storytellers so be prepared to try new things.
  • Focus
    With so many choices for how and where to tell your story, it’s critical to simplify the complexity and focus on the goal of your story.
  • Be Passionate.
    Storytelling gives meaning to the world so embrace the emotion, chaos, and challenge of it.
 To find out more about the OMD Oasis programming at CES 2017, please visit CES.OMD.COM


What happens in Vegas… A preview of CES 2017

The fiftieth iteration of the geek-fest that is the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off on 5 January under the banner of ‘The Future is Now’. After a few solid, but unspectacular recent events, the initial buzz is that 2017 is going to be a vintage year. Viva Las Vegas!

Since the first CES show way back in 1967, when a mere 17,500 attendees showed up to get a sneak peak of products from around 100 exhibitors, the event has grown exponentially. 2017 will see an estimated 180,000 delegates make the journey to Nevada to walk the 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space and peruse the latest tech on offer from around 3,600 companies.

So, as the CES machine inexorably grinds into action, what are the big rumours already circulating around the main event?


You might be forgiven for thinking that CES is gradually morphing into the ‘Las Vegas Motor Show’ given the amount of metal that was paraded last year. Only six years ago there were no automotive manufacturers attending CES.

This year? There will be at least 10 exhibiting including marques such as Mercedes, Toyota, Hyundai and BMW plus a keynote speech from Renault-Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn. Expect to see the topical themes of electrification, connectivity and autonomy being prevalent again this year but also some newly emerging topics such as ‘future mobility’ which harnesses the power of all three.

Take Honda, for example, which is showcasing the NeuV concept, demonstrating how it can reduce congestion through car sharing, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and new levels of in-car connectivity. Sounds cool. Just a pity that it’s at a decade away from production.


So what about some self-driving tech that will be here a little sooner?

Delphi and Mobileye have announced they will conduct a 6.3-mile self-driving challenge in real world conditions to showcase their snappily entitled Centralised Sensing Localisation and Planning (CSLP) automated driving system which they have described as, “The first turnkey, fully integrated automated driving solution with an industry-leading perception system and computing platform.”


Despite the fact that people keep saying that television is dead, it’s funny that the manufacturers keep churning out masses of new screens. Let’s be honest: TV isn’t dead, it’s just that the content delivery system has changed.

And despite the fact that our smaller smart devices have the edge in terms of mobility and flexibility, there is no substitute for watching a movie or sporting event on a massive high definition television with a boombastic sound system. We are expecting the almost obligatory revelation (in recent years we have seen curved TVs, roll up screens etc) but in the main it will be the usual arms race for bigger or better (cue 8K units and 100″ inch-plus screens aplenty).

From what I can gather, the turf war this year will be all about High Dynamic Range (HDR). So for a change, this isn’t about pixel count. HDR offers higher contrast, vivid colours and brighter images which get the best quality picture from a 4K screen. I haven’t seen it in action yet but apparently the difference in image quality is exceptional.

So, if HDR takes off and becomes an industry standard then the content makers/broadcasters will inevitably have to follow suit. The likes of Netflix, Amazon and the BBC are already investigating or even trialling the technology. The only downside is that it’s yet another annoying acronym to remember when choosing a new TV (4K, HD, HFR, HDMI, HEVC, OLED, POLED, MU-MIMO, SUHD, VP9….the list goes on).


At last year’s CES, we witnessed the launch and evolution of some serious virtual reality kit from the Oculus Rift to the HTC Vive to the Sony Playstation VR. The expectation this year is that there will be a slew of Windows 10-based systems being launched from the likes of Acer, Dell and HP plus the new HTC Vive 2 which is seemingly wireless.

But that won’t be the real focus. Now we have the hardware, we need the killer software. To date, I have seen some ‘interesting’ VR scenarios but nothing that has blown my mind. Now that’s all about to change.


We are rapidly moving away from multi-media and multi-screens to multi-sensory. With the rise of machines, the proliferation of the Internet of Things and the consumers desire for real-life experiences, interactivity has become, err, very last year.

Consequently that means we are moving seamlessly from the Interactive Age to the Immersive Age, a topic which is being covered extensively at the OMD Oasis at CES. And we are not just talking gaming here. People also want immersive content from the movie makers and streaming services but also venturing into new arenas such as comic books and visual novels.


The Mobile World Congress in February has become the main focus for the phone manufacturers to show off their shiny new gear so CES isn’t always the best place to witness anything revolutionary. That said, Chinese firm Huawei introduced its Mate 8 model at last year’s CES and they are expected to maintain that trend with another high profile launch this year. Speculation is also rife that Sony will introduce a new range of Xperia kit at a press conference on 4 January, including a version with a 5.5-inch 4K display.

Given that Apple recently rocked the mobile world by dispensing with the headphone jack and making their phone fully waterproof, it’s anticipated that several others will follow suit.


Last year was heralded as the year the robot at CES. It wasn’t. It was more than a little disappointing to be frank. 71% more floor space at CES was dedicated to robots than the previous year and it was predicted that this would finally launch us into a dystopian world of Robocops and Terminators. It didn’t happen but I fully expect that to change this year.

Drones really did ‘take off’ last year though (see what I did there?). They came in all shapes and sizes from eight-blade monsters with 4k HD cameras to mini drones that fold away and fit into your back pocket. There will inevitably be more of the same this year.

As for wearables, after the OMBra (wearable tech under garments for ladies) last year I genuinely can’t think of any other type of apparel that can be connected. So my (somewhat outlandish) prediction for 2017? We will move from outerwear to innerwear. What do I mean by that? Tech that is inserted under the skin or even in organs and sends messages to an app. Embeddables as they are being called. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many sci-fi movies recently.


And last, but definitely by no means least, the weird and wonderful gadgets which always capture the imagination. Those quirky things you never knew you needed until they were invented. Contenders for this year’s strangest tech? Well what about the Wair? A connected scarf which filters out harmful pollutants and also provides real time air quality updates.

Or what about Orosound ? A headphone system which empowers the user with the skill of ‘selective hearing’. I don’t need that. I have got two daughters and a dog who have mastered the art of selective hearing without the need for any technology.

There you have it then – a whistle stop pre-event round up of CES. So off you go and enjoy your turkey and mince pies but don’t forgot to follow @OMD_EMEA from 2 January for live updates straight from CES.


Originally posted on M&M Global at http://mandmglobal.com/what-happens-in-vegas-a-preview-of-ces-2017/.


Desperately seeking inspiration: the annual pilgrimage to Cannes

After the last award was handed out, the last inspiring words uttered, the last connections made and the final party wound down, the sun finally set on an intense week for the marketing world. As this was my second year running to attend, it got me thinking about how the event has become a great beacon of inspiration for an ever-changing marketing world.  A pilgrimage of sorts for marketers yearning to reignite that love for what they do, get inspired from the world class list of speakers and meet some of the most forward thinkers in our industry.

Heading back home, here’s what stood out for me:

Don’t interrupt, entertain!

In an ad bloackable and skippable world, there is a new expectation for brands to constantly entertain. We have come a long way from pushing messages to people just because they have no choice but to hear what we want to tell them. The power has completely shifted and it’s time for us marketers to focus our efforts in making sure that entertainment is at the core of every brand. Every brand must find its platform and think, act and behave like an entertainment brand, producing work that makes people react. Makes them feel something. And ultimately makes them want to associate with your brand and share with their network.

It’s a quality game, not a quantity game

To us marketers the digital world has given us a whole new array of platforms and tools to better reach our potential business audiences and engage with them in ways we had never seen before. We as an industry have taken this as an invitation to include ourselves into conversations that we were never truly invited to, creating the overused buzzword: “real time marketing” and pushing a quantity game versus a quality game. There are too many brands that are aimlessly wanting to produce more, forgetting the power of an actionable insight that holds their “big idea” campaign together. Every single case that was shortlisted into the Cannes Lions had one thing in common; they were rooted in an insights that transcended platforms and connected the brand to their business potential target seamlessly and in an entertaining manner.

If you can’t beat the big 2, adapt to them

Ever since Facebook and Google began their invasion of the media and marketing world, it started a love/hate relationship with agencies and brands. At the rate that things have been progressing, the big 2 have already started capturing the lion’s share of marketing budgets; which is expected as that’s where people are these days. The forecast is for them to get even stronger and more dominant over the next couple of years as they diversify their offering and analytics. Now this mainly impacts agencies, as both companies offer brands a self-serve system cutting out the middle men, which has put pressure on the big marketing conglomerates’ profitability. To be better prepared for the future the only way to survive is to accept this new status quo and adapt agency offering around what the big 2 are capable of delivering as opposed to fending them off.

AI, the next step change in humanity

It took a little over a decade for us to see how the development of the smartphone changed our lives forever. We are now witnessing the same with artificial intelligence. As the technology develops, we are seeing many companies invest in AI as it becomes smarter, faster and easier for people to use. Whether be it IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana they have all become so powerful that they currently have learning capabilities and are able to perform redundant tasks in seconds that used to take people several hours and days. In the coming 10 years this will highly impact the jobs that people do and how they live their lives running errands, ordering food, playing music and even driving their cars. The next step would be to see how brands interact with AI, when it’s them calling the shots on what products to recommend and purchase.

Partnership, not client/agency relationship

Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer had the stand out talk for me. He came out on stage with nothing more than wanting the industry to get its act together and get back to getting great work done. The client/agency relationship has gone through so much strain and blame over the past couple of years as agencies continued to get their hands around the complexities of the changing landscape. One thing he made clear is that the client/agency relationship must transform into a partnership and that note alone is refreshing to hear from one of the world’s most active advertisers. Agencies must restructure their teams to become an extension of their clients’ marketing functions and aim for the same business objectives.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is the best place for any marketer to fall in love with the industry once again. Especially when the entire focus of the event in recent history is all about getting great work done around powerful insights, leveraging analytics and technology, to drive business growth for brands.

Thomas Friedman On Slowing Down

The day could only be described as a perfect mix of breeze and sunshine. Visitors of the OMD Oasis gathered around under the smooth sunlight to make small talk just moments before noon; the air bubbling with murmurs and the occasional laughter; a representative sample of the atmosphere around the Palais here in Cannes.Presentation2

Nothing could’ve made the moment any better than the pleasure of listening to an insightful and deeply human talk by multiple-Pulitzer Prize winner and The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

Using some of the thoughts in his upcoming book “Thank You For Being Late” as a starting point, Mr. Friedman went on to give a thought-provoking overview of the forces he deems are shaping the world today.

His talk, titled “A Brief Theory Of Everything Transforming Our World”, pinpointed these forces as Market, Mother Nature and Moore’s law.

The rapid changes in these three forces are shaping the world, he said. “Geopolitics, politics, the workplace, ethics and morals” are all being transformed, Friedman added.

What Our Industry Can Do

Although the talk gravitated towards politics more frequently than media, marketing or advertising, it was easy to draw parallels and insights into practices that could very well translate.

“Ideas circulate faster today than ever before, and opinions now change at a quick rate,” Friedman stated. Technology is accelerating faster than we can adapt. The real challenge becomes our ability to change. But humans, says Friedman, cannot adapt as fast as technology is moving.

How does one deal with these forces? According to Friedman, the trick is in slowing down. He quotes “The Eye”, a song by one of his favorite singers, Brandi Carlile, the chorus of which goes “You can dance in a hurricane/But only if you’re standing in the eye.”

Advice For Content Producers

You can’t fight the hurricane, Friedman advised, “You can create an island of serenity in the eye. Don’t fight the changes. Take your energy from it.” In his book, he calls it “pausing”.  It was easy for me to see how the changing landscape of content, for example, could benefit from his advice.

In a world where people are bombarded with so much content and information online, it is our challenge to convince people to grant us their time or attention. We talk about best practices and video durations, but what ends up happening is that we lose the story for the form. We want to finish so quickly that we miss out on delivering substance.

What we ought to do, by Friedman’s advice, is to slow down, make real human connections, and take our time to tell our stories.

Purposeful Marketing

Friedman raised the interesting point that the purpose of successful technology is to reduce complexity. “The only way we can manage this is if we turn Artificial Intelligence into Intelligent Assistance. Allow people to operate at a higher level of complexity,” he explained.

The phone we have in our pockets allows us to do so much more with a single touch, he pointed out. It has reduced the complexity of our tasks by minimizing our efforts. Friedman’s talk made me think about brands that make people’s lives easier versus brands that simply want to sell.  The future is in purposeful marketing.

In a related point, he argues that the ideal governing body today unit isn’t the state. He says it’s far too behind on technology to be able to govern. “It’s not the single family, either. It’s too weak [against technology]. “ It’s at the community level, he said. Communities can respond at a local level, to relevant problems, and using the right technology.

Once again, that relates to our marketing efforts, as we take brands from being a state —from being just another company trying to dictate its values— to being a community. Only when operating at a community level, with real on-ground insights into what moves its consumers, can a brand make meaningful contributions.

Slow Down And Connect

The most touching and personal part of Friedman’s talk came at the end when he responded to a question by elaborating on how he interacts with the world. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my [phone]. But I’m not active on social media platforms. The New York Times tweets my column. But when it comes to learning, I prefer to keep it slow.” He points to the gentleman who asked the question, then points back at himself. “This…this is how I like to learn.”

He’s talking about real, slow, and human interaction, like that taking place on this sunny day at the OMD Oasis. One that is not interrupted by the fast-paced technology that keeps us operating at a much higher speed; a speed at which it would be nearly impossible to make meaning of information, and build real relationships.

For more information about the #OMDOASIS at Cannes Lions, go to cannes.omd.com.

Cannes Lions 2016 – will they roar or whimper?

The annual advertising industry equivalent of the Oscars, the Cannes Lions (now in its 63rd year) takes centre stage this week. So as the Gutter Bar commences chilling copious amounts of Rosé I’ve taken a quick look at the agenda to see what’s on offer…

Recent years have seen the star quotient rocket with the likes of Kim KardashianJared Leto and Iggy Pop making live appearances on the Palais stage. This year, the swarm of superstars has gone stratospheric with Hollywood A-listers such as Gwyneth PaltrowWill Smith and Chris Pine on the agenda this year talking about (amongst other things) content, creativity and branding. Not enough sparkle for you? OK then add to the list Channing TatumSpike Jonze and David Copperfield (be interesting to see whether he walks off the stage or simply disappears in a cloud of smoke).

kim k cannes

Beyond the main auditoria of the Palais, there is plenty of additional activity taking place. Naturally I am somewhat biased but the OMD Oasis (now in it’s third year at Cannes) is the pick of the ‘off Broadway’ style events. Located right on the Croisette, the beachside cabana hosts a myriad of exciting speakers including the aforementioned Ms PaltrowRyan Seacrest, and Anderson Cooper. Added to that, there are a plethora of industry heavyweights such as Brad Jakeman from PepsiCoRoel de Vries from NissanTim Armstrong from AOLRich Raddon from ZEFR and Carolyn Everson from Facebook to name but a few.

Future Partnerships

Elsewhere along the main boulevards and beaches of Cannes, there are a variety of dedicated areas largely dominated by the various agency groups plus the social and tech guys. Unsurprisingly there is a highly noticeable presence from the likes of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Spotify, Twitter and LinkedIn who have all descended on the town determined to make an impression on the estimated 12,000 delegates (and I suspect, attempt to outdo each other). Their legendary parties will be equally spectacular with various rumors circling about which singers and bands are performing. In previous years we’ve witnessed the likes of Elton JohnJohn Legend and Mariah Carey so who they can bring in to top that. Elvis maybe?

But the parties are not the main reason why we are here. It’s to celebrate creativity in its multitude of forms (no honestly, it really is). And if 2015 is anything to go by, then 2016 will have to really roar. Some of the notable campaigns at the Lions last year included the Volvo ‘Live Test’ campaign featuring that epic split between two trucks by Jean-Claude Van Damme, the John Lewis Christmas campaign featuring a very cute penguin called Monty and the rather excellent Apple ‘Shot on an iPhone6’ work.

Cannes-Festival (1)

Over 300 judges from around the globe, including some of our very own OMDers, have descended upon Cannes to deliberate on a record 43,101 entries and the early indications are that there is some spectacular work on view across the three main buckets of Health, Innovation and Entertainment. Adweek have already previewed some of the work and listed their top 25 campaigns which they believe will win big at the festival. Work from the likes of McDonalds, Southern Comfort and Xbox is already being lauded so don’t be surprised to see these campaigns picking up a slew of gongs.

For more information about the OMD Oasis please visit cannes.omd.com

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