A first-person report from the 2012 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, filed by Konrad Spilva, managing director of Visual Jazz Isobar, Australia.
So after 12 years in the industry, I find myself in the land of white linen suits, yachts, parties, egos, awards, champagne, loafers, seminars, cheese, and more yachts. That's right folks, I'm at Cannes Lions and my Cannes virginity has been well and truly taken.
However, along with all the back-patting and posturing that goes on at these advertising events—and make no mistake, Cannes is the biggest, baddest and most over the top of them all—there surely isn't another gathering of amazingly talented people and inspirational work like this anywhere else in the world.
It's about day 4 for me (I think I arrived on Sunday) and whilst my liver is pickled, my eyes are getting blurrier, and my tan is getting deeper by the day, here are the main things I've taken away from this year's festival so far.
Don't make shit for shit
PARTY is one of the best agencies in the world right now and after Morihiro Horano's presentation, now I know why. Blending technical engineering with beautiful creative, they challenged every agency in the room to stop making shit ads for shit products, but instead create new outcomes for businesses so they don't need advertising to paper over the cracks. Amen.
9 year-olds are creative geniuses
The fact that a 9-year-old kid made a cardboard arcade in his dad's garage probably isn't that amazing, but that the story has inspired a global creative moment for youth, created a fund to help underprivileged kids and turned Caine's (that's the kids name) Arcade into a million-dollar business, is pure genius. I'm no longer going to shun the 15-year-old work experience kids again.
I don't want a data driven home
I love Mashable and it's one of the only blogs I read religiously. They painted the completely connected consumer of the future, where data is curated everywhere and available at your fingertips. But I'm not ready for the kitchen bench surface to tell me to choose healthy granola for breakfast because I had a kebab at 3 am the night before, or a wardrobe that knows the weather and suggests an outfit for me to wear, or a car that's connected to my friends on Facebook. Data is amazing and there's so much of it we can use. The implications for brands, however, will be amazing.
Content has already killed the tv ad
Having never worked in an ATL agency, I could have told you this a long time ago, but every big agency and media company is finally singing the same tune. Brands themselves will become media companies and content agencies, and I think that's a great thing for our industry.
Haters gonna hate
Sure Paul Adams (Facebook's global head of brand design) had a bit of a wobble at the start of his presentation, but all I've heard the last few days from brands and agencies is that Facebook has no idea how to monetize their platform and that they're not a serious platform when it comes to advertising. But I think the fact that they're practically pleading with creatives to treat Facebook differently from the rest of the web is quite exhilarating for an agency. As a platform with a billion people connected around the world, we can now tell a brand story without the annoying constraints of all those advertising specifications.
Stand for something
The big theme of this year for me is authenticity: The idea that a brand can no longer exist to provide customers a product or service they need, but must stand for something greater to resonate with today's consumers and earn their money.
There's still two days to go and I need to wrap this up and get to the Aegis Media Beach House, to have yet another cocktail before the next session starts. So that's me signing off from the Cannes Lions for now, thanks for listening.