Given an increasingly large marketing delegation, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction from the creative community at large seemed to bubble under the surface of this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
. But creative folks should beware – it’s the marketers who are looking for solutions, and who are responsible mainly for marshaling the creative power around and in support of their brands.
2012 certainly seemed to be “the year of the CMO” at the Festival. The sharp rise in registered delegates - from 9,000 last year to 11,000 this year - was primarily due to the number of clients attending, including delegates from 92 big-name brands and 550 marketing organizations in total
. They had starring roles in seminars, forums and workshops, as well as made appearances in “fringe” events such as the McCannes Rendezvous “Cocktails & Conversations” session, and The CMO Club Roundtable.
Of course many of the usual culprits were there such as P&G, Unilever and Coke, but there were several new brands on the scene too, and of course many brands doing double duty – not just there to speak or see what’s new, but also there to market to the creative community (Google, Adobe, Getty Images, Facebook and Yahoo! to name a few).
In terms of seminars, many CMOs had starring roles: Visa, Coke, P&G, Unilever and Nike. The Coke seminar with CMO Joe Tripodi (interview)
was “blow away” good in every sense – content, creativity and delivery. Same with the Unilever seminar starring CMO Keith Weed and SVP of Marketing Marc Mathieu. In both cases, major announcements were made. Coke announced the latest iteration of its program “The Beat of London 2012” for the Olympics.
And Unilever launched its global Waterworks™
initiative with Facebook and PSI (Population Services International) as the world’s first open social graph, “using technology to create lasting change”.
There were forums and workshops geared for and starring senior marketers as well. Dana Anderson of Kraft led a particularly good forum on “5 Sneaky Ways to Get Great Work” which was highly entertaining, and which featured work from a range of brands, including the “Angry Pilgrims” creative for Stove Top Stuffing
The workshop led by Brand Learning’s co-founders Mhairi McEwan and Andy Bird was also tailored to the marketing community and for agency folk wanting to better understand the marketing community. Entitled “The Growth Drivers: Challenging the Way Marketers & Agencies Work Together”, it featured Kerris Bright, CMO of Ideal Standard International, Barry Herstein, recent CMO for Snapfish, and Amanda Mackenzie, CMO for Aviva.
from left: M Sachs, M Klein, M Banikarim, J Travis, W Clark
Of the “fringe” events, my panel entitled “Cocktails & Conversations at Cannes”, which was part of the McCann Rendezvous, was especially enlightening in terms of the creative process as seen through the eyes of senior marketers. Joining me were Wendy Clark of Coca-Cola, John Travis of Adobe, Maryam Banikarim of Gannett, and Michelle Klein for Smirnoff at Diageo. And we got into a whole host of issues including ownership of creativity, getting the right balance between data and creativity, experimentation and learning, and internal politics. Arun Sudhaman wrote an excellent re-cap on the session for The Holmes Report
Another “fringe” event, The CMO Club’s CMO Roundtable, was kicked off by CMO Club CEO Pete Krainik and included senior marketers from Yahoo!, Sovereign/Santander Bank, Carlsberg, Ferrero, General Mills, Heineken, Google, Beiersdorf (Nivea), Philips and Unilever. Hosted by EffectiveBrands and MOFILM, the conversation focused how to best leverage global brands, using frameworks, best practice sharing, story-telling and engaging in the conversation.
And marketing delegates were not confined to the upper echelon. 2012 was the second year for the Cannes Creative Academy for Young Marketers
(under 30) for young marketers who want to learn about creativity, with Dean of the Academy, former global marketing officer for P&G Jim Stengel, who also earlier this year launched his book Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies.
So while creatives may not be overly enthusiastic about an increasing number of marketers flocking to the Cannes Lions, they should at least be appreciative that marketers are taking an increasing interest in creativity and how to encourage best-in-class creativity, and that they respect the Cannes Lions enough to support the Festival with truly amazing content, major announcements and thought-provoking conversations.
As Claire Beale, editor of the UK's Campaign magazine, said, "This is a serious, full-on business event that's a thoroughly justifiable way of spending a week out of the office and even a fairly justifiable way of spending several thousands of expense-account pounds [dollars]. It's perhaps not as much fun as it used to be, but then, what is?"
Wendy Clark, Coke
One week from today (Wed 20 June), I'll be moderating a panel of senior marketers called "Cocktails and Conversations" at the Cannes Lions Festival. The panel will include Wendy Clark
, SVP of Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities at Coca-Cola; John Travis, VP of Brand Marketing at Adobe; and Maryam Banikarim
, SVP & CMO of Gannett.
"Cocktails & Conversations" will be part of the "McCann Rendezvous"
series to be hosted at La Cote Terrace at the Carlton Hotel, facing La Croisette. The event will begin around 6.45pm, with our panel running from 7.30-8pm plus Q&A.
Maryam Banikarim, Gannett
We'll be discussing the name of the game in Cannes - creativity - but we'll be putting our own spin on the subject in terms of working practices in marketing versus creativity in the marketing product itself.
I've been thinking about appropriate questions to field around the creative process, creativity in experimentation, origination of creativity (agency partners versus client side), creativity in the innovation process, and more. But I'd be happy to entertain any questions my readers might have - just please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Following our panel, it would be only fitting to have some creative entertainment. Neon Trees
, an American alternative rock band from Provo, Utah, will be performing for the audience.
In addition to the marketing community being so well represented at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year, up 20 percent from last year, there were a number of "firsts" and other impressive stats to once again bring Cannes to the fore of marketing conversations. For starters, it was the first time for the Festival was called the International Festival of Creativity in its 58-year history. Previously, it was the International Festival of Advertising.
Clearly the new name and economic upswing attracted the audience. Overall attendance was up to more than 9,000 delegates including many hopefuls from the 90 countries represented by the 29,000 competition entries, an entry level up 19 percent on 2010.
There were two new categories as well. The festival launched the Creative Effectiveness Lions to reward creativity that showed a measurable and proven impact on a client’s business – creativity that affected consumer behavior, brand equity, sales and, where identifiable, profit. The first Grand Prix winner was Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO London’s Sandwich campaign for PepsiCo’s Walkers Crisps
. It was the epitome of what my book, "The Changing MO of the CMO", is all about!
And the Festival also introduced the Holding Company Of The Year award honoring the holding company obtaining the highest scores for success across the Lions. WPP won.
Country firsts were Grand Prix winners from China
– very exciting for those teams, and indeed entire country delegations.
Festival organizers also launched a Cannes Creative Academy For Young Marketers
, a week-long program aiming to nurture the next generation of marketing industry leaders. Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer for P&G – and now president and CEO of think-tank and consultancy The Jim Stengel Company, was appointed the academy’s dean.
I’m already looking forward to the next Festival which will be two weeks earlier next year – June 3-9, 2012.