This year’s Cannes Festival of Creativity was an action packed agenda, full of star-studded celebrity sessions! And I didn’t attend a single one of them. I did not see Kim Kardashian. Nor did I hear from Jamie Oliver or Marilyn Manson. Or David Guetta. Or Calvin Harris. Or Will.I.am. Or even Pharrell (whom I admire above all of them).
Because, I think some of the real “rock stars’” at Cannes were hanging out with me, being my mentors at the new Lions Masters of Creativity Academy. Keith Reinhard (octogenarian godfather of advertising and real life Don Draper) led us through a series of intense, intimate workshops from nine “Masters” of different disciplines – including data, media, innovation, effectiveness, growth, and Content.
Some were better than others. And some were surprisingly less so – whether they were suffering from too may rosés or just complacency was hard to tell but even so hearing about their breakthrough work was still eye-opening to a degree.
Here’s just some of what we talked about during my week with the Masters:
The truth is… so much advertising is bulls#!t
We know this. But so many don’t do anything to stop. Global Creative Head of Leo Burnett and winner of over 75 Cannes Lions, Mark Tutssel, said the best ideas are ones that come from a single core truth. Truth, not insight. And, done correctly, it’s actually all rather simple. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. Because it is hard. Really hard. But a fearless creative idea removes the fear for clients to buy if it is grounded in truth.
It’s time to get emotional
AOL Digital Prophet, David Shing (or “Shingy”, who actually looks like a real leather-clad rock star) reinforced that 75% of decisions are made emotionally, yet most creative work is still based on rational content. Forget the product features, focus on values and beliefs. With data driving so many decisions and technology taking over our lives, brands need to become human.
Creativity at the speed of culture
Being relevant and sparking people’s imagination is all about being in the right place, at the right time. Most marketing campaigns take six months or more to plan and execute into market, but nobody knows what will be trending tomorrow, let alone six months from now. To be culturally effective means to be agile. The solution everyone was talking about this year was “programmatic data”, but it’s still not as agile as it needs to be. It makes me realize how lucky we are at Jack, where we can truly optimize the brand experience in real time to get the results we need.
It just so happened that nearly all of the Grand Prix and Innovation winners of this year’s festival were proof to all of the above. Relevant, emotionally driven ideas grounded in truth. So at face value, it feels like I saw so little this week. But I’m leaving Cannes exhausted and feeling like I got to see a side to Cannes that not many people do — going home with a lot of clarity and deep understanding of what we all need to do to be breakthrough.
So you can keep your rock stars. Because I’ve got my own.
Want more insights from the Cannes Lions Festival? Read our white paper Cannes guide to buzzwords: 8 newbies on what’s real and what matters to brand experience to learn about the marketing trends you can’t afford to miss.