Zoe Lazarus
Jun 20, 2013

Cannes impressions: P Diddy's big entrance

Zoe Lazarus, partner with Lowe Counsel, reacts to the appearance of expert brand builder Sean ("P Diddy" "Puff Daddy") Combs.

Combs: Not a fan of the industry's work
Combs: Not a fan of the industry's work

How do you make an entrance and be one of the most talked about speakers at Cannes? By being late? Maybe. How about claiming that you don't really like to watch advertising?

That’s how P Diddy did it at his Cannes Lions seminar, in which he went on to talk about his life as a musician and brand builder, as well as about his new project in partnership Revolt TV, a new music platform aiming to be relevant for the social age.

Appearing slightly nervous but nonetheless charismatic, the hip-hop mogul and 'advertising and communication genius' (introduced and assisted by Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of Translation) talked about his wish to create a new platform to represent music in new way relevant for the times.

It’s interesting to hear him talk about this new, and some would say risky, move into media being fuelled as a response to a gap in the market now that that MTV has changed its direction and is no longer about playing music videos. He talked about how much he had been inspired by watching MTV when he was younger and feels that there is a need for a new global platform to represent both established and up-and-coming artists, but that is authentic and presents a genuinely inspiring presentation of music. Like MTV was to him when he was young. He believes that, as an artist, being on a mainstream TV channel marks the point “when you arrive” and he wanted to help to create that for a new generation of artists from around the world.

Zoe Lazarus

When trying to analyse the secrets to his success as a brand builder, Combs talked about the importance of keeping in touch and being a part of emerging culture is vital to the process.

He explained that he manages to keep ahead by virtue of his extreme immaturity and that he is still “actually the guy at the party” plus the fact that he has six children ranging from 6 to 18 who keep him in the loop.

Communicating with young people is all about making sure you give them something in return for their attention, “empower them and listen to them” and generally try to excel at being awesome and not lame, Combs said. Interestingly he used the example of Samsung as a brand that is now firmly “On Apple's tail because they linked with the culture”, referring to the brand's recent collaboration with Jay-Z.

In summing up, Combs humbly appealed to the advertising industry to join him and partner with Revolt to create the perfect blend of art and commerce—and wished himself luck with the project. Trying to create the next MTV will not be and easy task so perhaps he will need it.



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