Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Cannes Advertising Festival

A little bit over a week ago I spent a few days at the 54th International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France. Almost ten thousand marketers celebrated their industry, shared some of the more interesting creative marketing work, and showed significant endurance in partying through the warm nights at the French Riviera.

There were only a few interesting panel discussions or presentations that attempted to deal with the more serious landscape changing forces that we are currently witnessing. I was fairly surprised to see almost an utter lack of dealing with some of the core challenges of today’s marketing industry, such as:
  • What will be the successful business model of leading marketing firms in the next 5 years? The current business model of either a commission or man hour fee based structure will not survive.
  • How can marketing firms compete with the Google of the worlds without developing truly proprietary systems and solutions with clear scale? Most marketers still don’t seem to understand that Google is not an Online marketing firm but a data driven marketer that will more and more facilitate and automate the connection of consumer’s intentions and purchase transaction, independent of media.
  • How can the marketing industry transform itself from a star driven culture to “Collective Intelligence” driven organizations? There are always some agency heroes who are prominently positioned at panels and parties but I doubt that they will bring the necessary innovations to our industry.

I did not see any discussions focused on these critical topics. Nevertheless there were some interesting opportunities for observations that can only occur in Cannes:

  • Some of the creative work, especially the ones presented in the famous Saatchi & Saatchi Director’s cut was truly outstanding, as well as some of the communication that were awarded with Lions and Grand Prix.
  • Microsoft had a huge presence at Cannes. Its attempt to transition from a software company to a marketing organization has to be taken seriously.
  • The Cannes’ festival enables the meeting of marketers from all around the globe without any national prejudices. It’s one of the rare events where one can get the feeling that there is something called a global marketing community. The festival could just do a better job in continuing to virtually build this global marketing community beyond the physical one week celebration in Cannes.

I might go back to Cannes next year, maybe just to promote the idea of a “Data Lion” for the most creative work of utilizing data for outstanding marketing. This could be interesting.


Blogger Le_Plan said...

Thanks for the information Michael. Pretty interesting to know all these.


8:14 AM  
Blogger Suzanne Obermire said...

I love your idea of a "Data Lion". And, I have some clients who may like to compete (with our help, of course) :)

As a direct marketer, I have a tough time believing that data geeks have a place in Cannes. Isn't it true that we're not creative enough (not!)? Too old-school? Not cutting edge? Do you feel those perceptions exist?

In any event, I'm buying my ticket now. See you in Cannes!

10:20 AM  
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