Claire Davidson on the Cannes Lions Festival seminars: Day 3 brings an early date with Pharrell Williams and being unliked by Facebook

ClaireDavidson_Cannes.jpgClaire Davidson is back in Cannes taking in the seminars and reporting for Campaign Brief Asia. Here's her round up of the speaker sessions on Day 2 of the Festival.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
We were ALL at the Palais Des Festivals very early this morning to see Pharrell.

Bob Pittmann, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia bought us "Creating Constellations:  Unleashing Creativity Through Collaboration" with Pharrell Williams, Artist and Ryan Seacrest, Radio Personality, Television Host and Producer.

The discussion today focused on the critical role that collaboration plays between creativity and business. Williams is a star collaborator in the entertainment, media and fashion businesses, incorporating his art as he looks to redefine culture and commerce.
Williams continues to reinvent.  He continues to push boundaries.  He's able to remain diverse by having so many irons in the fire and being able to multi-task.  He doesn't wait for the stars to be aligned.

Pharrell_1.jpgPharrell_2.jpgPharrell_3.jpgHow does Williams determine who he wants to collaborate with?  It's based on what he feels he can bring to the table.  He goes into any project wanting to learn something from the collaboration.  It's also about energy for Williams.  That's often what writes the song for him.

It excites Williams creatively to do things that are different.  A big challenge for him is to have people's full trust in his work.  He implores us to try something new.  Just try it.  Everything that you think about from your past is defined in some part by a sound.  That's your vision into the future.  Music is ubiquitous at the moment.  It's important that it's not just sound though.  It's important to hear, but you need to feel it as well.  Write intention into it.  Pride yourself on your individuality because that's your identity.  Don't get lost in the camouflage.  Stay curious.  A curious mind is a young mind.  Keep that fire burning.  Do what interests you and look for what doesn't already exist in that area.  Be ambitious.

Our attention span today is 9 seconds. A few years ago it was 11 seconds. To give that a little bit of perspective, the attention span of a gold fish is 8 seconds.  The connected audience of today is very savvy.  What keeps our attention, and will keep people interested, is the second dimension - the kinesthetic value.  When you communicate something that you care about, people will respect you and stick around.  The main ingredient in everything you do must be pure intention.  Go deep.  Dig deep.  Don't stick to the surface.

I next headed over to the Hacker Square on the Beach where Facebook are camped out for the week. I went to catch Instagram's "Behind The Lens" series, with photographer Chris Connolly. However, Facebook kicked me out. Yes indeed. Kicked out for writing. They aren't letting anyone write about their workshops, so I was asked to leave. Thanks for nothing Facebook. Don't expect me to give you any likes any time soon. #Facebooksuckstoday

I then trotted off to see "Innovation:  When New Just Isn't Enough" with Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman and Jamie Oliver, Chef, Restauranteur, Entrepreneur and Global Philanthropist.

There's never been a better time for Innovation.  But it's not simple.  There is great concern about the pace of innovation.  Sixty six percent of all people think it's moving too fast.  They are nervous about it.  They are anxious about security and privacy.  They think it's about corporate greed.  There is a link to over consumption.  People want space and they don't have it.  We are being pinged all the time.  Eighty seven percent of people have stated that they will stop buying innovative products and services.

We're doing it wrong.  We are doing it backwards.  Innovation can't be bought.  Marketing isn't listening.  People don't like it when people talk at them.  We're being pushed on obsolescence.  Brands need to reassure first, and then inspire.  This is the opposite of what they are doing at the present.  It also needs to be done peer to peer.  We need to communicate with one another.  Marketers must enable the peer voice.  This is the top job of brands.  They need to change inspiration to aspiration.  Start movements.  Start with informing, then have some purpose and a character.  We need to earn the right to innovate.

Jamie Oliver is one such person who created a journey and a movement with the Jamie Oliver brand.  The Naked Chef was on our TV screens 17 years ago.  The world has changed a lot since then.  No longer is cooking just for girls.  Oliver tells us cooking can now get you girls.  The rating system didn't feed back then.  Currently with the power of digital everything is a conversation.  This has allowed Oliver to build amazing food content across all of the platforms where the Jamie Oliver brand is shown.

Oliver is seen on TV in 60 territories across 200 broadcasters, and has over 2 million subscribers to his own food tube channel.  On Instagram he has 2.5 million followers, on Twitter 4.3 million followers and on Facebook 3.6 million followers, with over 10 million visits to his own website.  On top of that he's sold 35 million books in 36 languages.  His mantra is to build a happier and healthier world through food.  He embraces his audience and talks to them.  Essentially he is their friend.

For all of his success Oliver feels that 40% of his career has been mistakes, which essentially is what we call R&D (research and development).  The way of communicating is constantly changing, which we know.  We're all trying to keep up with that.  The power is changing.  The commissioners of content are no longer the larger television networks for Oliver.  There is a big difference between what the broadcasters want and what the public wants.  Oliver has taken on all of this and applied it to his own communication platforms.

Oliver doesn't believe in creating a three month campaign. He believes in creating a movement.  He's ferocious in his beliefs on good nutrition, particularly with children.  It's all about education, and remaining relentless.  Education takes time.  He also tells us to be honest.  The biggest industry in the world is the food industry, so we should be taking stock.

Claire_FD28572.jpgClaire_FD28597.jpgHow has the road to global success changed?  Well it's about not being afraid of challenge, change or disruption.  Are you hearing all of this clients who put everything through market research...?  This was the topic today at "Play to Win: Disruptive Tactics, Reinventing The Field Of Play" brought to us by Nina dos Santos, News Anchor, Correspondent of CNN with Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network and Sir David Brailsford, Team Principle of Team Sky.

Winning means lots of things to us in advertising.  It can be about winning sales.  It can be about winning a pitch.  It can be about winning a shiny gold Cannes Lions.

Brailsford divides his career success as a cycling coach into three principals:

~  strategy, goal setting and processes

~  the human mind and how humans work

~  the continuation of improvement

He starts at the end, looking at what it takes to win.  And then he pulls it apart, breaking down every single aspect and element.  Bulmann agrees to have long term plans and build a culture.  With all of the fragmented communications platforms and technology in front of us, we need to destruct and dissect them, and then put everything in together seamlessly.  Whilst doing this add value.  Innovate.  Bring solutions.  Allow your audience to collaborate.  Empower people. Create engagement.  Be intrinsically committed to your goal.  Be progressive.  This will keep your motivation high.  Understand people's worlds and what they like to do.  The journey to great success will have failure in it.  Use that though to learn from.  Planning should be your best friend.

Change can be daunting.  But really it's a fantastic opportunity.  See the power and positives in that.  Be proactive.  If you want to be the best in the world take charge of that.  Take control of your destiny.  Collaborate but also work individually.  The best ideas come from the places we least expect.  Don't ever limit your terms of execution.  The challenge isn't the knowledge.  It's how we execute it.  Go after the impossible.

Despite my outrage against Facebook earlier today I went to see "Expanding The Mobile Canvas" brought to us by Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer of Facebook after lunch. This time I wasn't kicked out.

Ten years ago Facebook didn't exist.  Remember that?  Remember when you didn't share your thoughts or your experiences or your photos or your videos with your 100 or 1000 or 10,000 closest friends each day?

Our own creative ability is enabled by the tools and technologies to which we have access.  Facebook is currently looking at a new phase for us all - Immersion.  Over time people and brands have used more immersive mediums to share.  Facebook started with simple wall posts. We then moved onto photos.  After that was videos, where we currently are now.  Soon though, we will be moving into VR / AR.  With this we will seamlessly transition into 3D.  We'll interact with something, pick things up, turn them around, looking at them fully in a piece of software.   This will become another space that will allow us to share and tell our stories.  We looked at My Idol and Bubbli as case studies.

Cox then went into the factors to assess when developing your products.  He discussed researching and intimately knowing your territories when developing software from them.  They must know the Indian market for the Indian people.  Likewise, they must know the Chinese market for the Chinese market.  They must develop for them.  Pay attention to regions.  Phones are getting faster, but networks are improving only slowly and that's not likely to change any time soon.  So pay attention to networks too.

It's time to get a little bit of sunshine.  I'm going to head off to Google Beach to catch some of the agencies battle it out in the beach volleyball competition.  I had been chosen as one of only a hundred Cannes delegates to go on an Instawalk with Facebook and Instagram this afternoon, but given that I'm now protesting all things Facebook, I'll be going on my own private little Googawalk instead.

Claire Davidson, Managing Director & Executive Producer - ASIA + MENA @ The Sweet Shop, reporting for Campaign Brief Asia at Cannes Lions 2015.

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