Paul Yole has been reporting for Campaign Brief from Cannes since 2007. An industry veteran of over 40 years (latterly at The Brand Agency), this year Paul is joined by his daughter Emma, who is just entering the industry. Each day they will be giving their very different perspectives on the best sessions of the week. You can also follow Emma’s Cannes Instagram story @emmacyole.
Paul: Is it only Monday? I’m not sure I can take the pace.
One consequence of packing so many sessions into 5 days is that you miss some you would really like to see. But it also means you can be selective and give a wide birth to any talk that threatens an abusive use of acronyms.
Emma: Today was jam-packed full of talks, which was a great test of strength for my jet lag, but there is only one I want to talk about: Matt Eastwood.
I recently gave up my potential career as a professional violinist to move into advertising. After studying to Master’s level and playing with orchestras around the world, a lot of people don’t understand why I wanted to make such a change, and I’ve always struggled to articulate why myself.
However, Matt’s words this morning helped me feel confident that I’ve made the right decision: “advertising is the business of leading culture. We get to decide where we want to go, and we can point the world in the direction we want”.
Paul: Matt is one of Australia’s finest. He was brought up in Perth around the corner from where we now live, you know.
Emma: In half an hour, Matt proved to me that advertising has the power to do a whole heap of good in this increasingly terrifying planet. Take a look at the work his network has done such as #buybacktheblock and Noon Assembly for the evidence.
More importantly, though, he emphasised that the reason we have to start encouraging brands to stand for something is MILLENNIALS.
Millennials are changing everything; they’re changing our intent in the industry. Nine out of ten millennials would switch brands to those supporting a cause, and 77% don’t think advertising is worth noticing. We have to adjust what we are doing in advertising to remain relevant to society.
Matt said that the way for agencies to change is to start hiring more people from diverse backgrounds – not just those who have attended top ad schools.
I’d like to take this chance to let Matt know, if he is reading, that I am looking for a job and he can feel free to contact me anytime if his team needs more strings to its bow!
Paul: That reminds me of a similar train of thought from Richard Brim, CCO at Cannes Agency of the Year, adam&eveDDB.
Richard took us through the genesis of some of the campaigns from his agency, pointing at that you need to employ a really diverse set of people and create the environment in which nobody is afraid to say something stupid.
Because that is often where the best ideas come from.
Quoting from Dave Trott, he told us that work like John Lewis, Marmite, FIFA18 and Harvey Nichols all share the same basis. They are not part of the 89% of work nobody ever notices.
Emma: The rest of the day included talks about Sesame Street, the power of Twitter, and tidying up, and I still have one to come tonight on creative women featuring the remarkable Gabriela Lungu. I am definitely looking forward to a nice glass (or a few) of rosé at the Campaign Brief drinks after a very long but invigorating day.
Paul: Nick Law, Global CCO at Publicis Groupe, gave a no-holds barred talk about how agencies need to change.
Thankfully, Nick uses normal words that real people use. Best quote – “We can’t imagine the future by looking at spreadsheets.”
Next best quote, “People running businesses have no idea what it takes to make a great product.” Actually, that was Steve Jobs. But it underlines Law’s central argument: that in our industry it is time for creatives to take a leadership role.
To do that, artists need to partner with soldiers, they need to understand the platforms they are working with and help others understand the creative craft.
Agencies, Law argues, need to bring media back into the fold. We need a whole suite of revenue streams, but we may need to shrink a bit and then rebuild.
From my perspective, I think this all amounts to what the agency role has always been: helping our clients’ businesses by applying our creative problem solving skills.
Plus ca change, as they say in France.
Emma: We bumped into The Brand Agency ECD, Marcus Tresoriero today. He seemed pretty chuffed that his agency’s Hungry Puffs project is doing so well here, including a Silver Lion in tonight’s Design Lions. So, we took a photo.
Paul: Some other snippets from Monday.
Quote from somebody at VMLY&R, “Everything we’ve done that’s been successful has been uncomfortable at first.” I missed the person’s name because I was trying to make sure I got all those agency letters in the right order.
Better still, from that great thinker Sarah Carter, co-author of How Not To Plan, who says every planner should have a Post-It note on their desk with a message about consumer attitudes to brands and strategy, “They really don’t give a SHIT!”
And yet we keep on thinking they do.