Claire Davidson takes in the seminars at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity: Day 6

Claire.jpgClaire Davidson (left) is in Cannes this year and is reporting exclusively for Campaign Brief Asia. Here's her round up of the speaker sessions on Day 6.

We're on the home stretch here at the Cannes Lions.

There are many happy smiling agency folk walking around with their shiny busts of metal, and there are still quite a few gongs left yet to give out. Everyone is looking at the next two days with a healthy mix of passion, frenzy and trepidation. The competition is as fierce as the World Cup. Well... almost!

I went along today to see the seminar 'The Real Awakening of China:  Consumption Economy and Digital Revolution' with Maurice Levy, Chairman & CEO, Publicis Group and Sy Lau, President of the Online Media Group of Tencent, SEVP Tencent Holdings.

China's rise to become the world's largest economy is no longer an if, but a when.  We have all heard of the powerhouse companies in China - the likes of Alibaba, Weibo and Tencent - but the rest of the world doesn't have an awful lot of information about them in this digital landscape. Tencent is the 4th largest internet company globally.  It has a market capitalization of US$139 billion. That's impressive. Tencent falls only behind Google, Facebook and Amazon. They have 73% of China's mobile penetration. The company comprises WeChat, QQ, Tencent video and Tencent news, amongst others.
Cannes_L1080817.jpgOn average, the GDP in China has been keeping at a steady 8-9% during recent years.  However in the digital realm it has been growing at 15%, which is remarkable for an emerging market. The other countries at the forefront are South Korea and England. In today's world the digital economy plays a large and fundamental role, and the Chinese government has also been very supportive of this advancement.  The value of the internet doesn't just give value to the internet industry, but spreads its love across various industries.

Seng Yee Lau_Getty Images.jpgMaurice Levy_Getty Images.jpgChina has 1.363 billion people. They thus have more smart phone and internet users than any other country around the globe. Their single child policy generation has grown up digital, but their parents and grandparents have kept up with this. With the low cost of manufacturing coupled with a high volume of technicians, they have bridged the digital divide. People in rural areas are just as digital savvy. 

Mobile has become indispensible. There is sophistication behind its infrastructure. The internet, and now mobile internet, has transformed consumer behavior in China today, and given the consumer reason. Mobile has brought about a new wave of emancipation in China's consumers - it's now a different mindset that is empowered by a mobile handset. These Chinese companies have gone in at full force and embraced this rapid speed of attitude and behavior.  eCommerce in China is one of the most sophisticated systems in the world. They have taken advantage of the open platform, getting both structural value and economic value.

It's about win win win win - the clients, the agencies, the publishers (the tech companies with the data) and the consumers.  I like the sound of that!

Cannes_L1080826.jpgCannes_L1080822.jpgI then trundled over to see 'What's Great, What's Not, What's Next? (And if You're Not Prepared to Ask A Question, Don't Come).'  Rightee-o!  This was a discussion with Sir John Hegarty, Founder + Creative, BBH and David Droga, Founder + Creative Chairman of Droga 5.

The two true rock stars of advertising had arrived to talk to us.

Hegarty started by telling us that sitting on a bean bag does not make you creative. Ha ha ha, OK. When Hegarty came into advertising, he and his peers were desperate to create work that would become part of the cultural landscape. That's what drove them. This still resonates with Hegarty today. Create work that inspires. That's fundamental. Have an honesty in your creativity. Have people follow your idea.
He went on to explain to us that he's now seeing more and more global campaigns. Global advertising does not work. It needs to touch people, connect to people and be a part of their culture. Global is not the right way. It has a decline in impact and a decline in creativity. 

Clients feel that it's more cost effective to make one piece of work, but it's not touching people. You need to engage in a conversation with individual people.

The power of ideas to change the way people think and feel is the gift we have been given. This should be our focus. Move people with outstanding ideas. Collaboration is a wonderful and dangerous world. Consensus is what's dangerous.

When Hegarty was asked about big data he replied Jesus. Honestly... He says the idea that big data is going to solve all of the client's questions to their brand is absolute bullshit. There are no facts for the future.

Droga went on to tell us to focus on work that is motional and work that connects. Although he wants to embrace every canvas and every platform and all of their layers, the underlying essence is to follow the idea. Hit the emotional core. Keep it real. It's only fucking great if something happens with it.

We are good if our peers think we are great. But we are great when the world thinks we are good. Have a conversation. There isn't an industry that can't be affected by what agencies and their creatives do. Be tenacious. Be simple. Be motivated.
Create to have an emotional connection. Ensure you know your market and who you are talking to. Look at the context in what something will be consumed. Be pure in your idea. 

Droga is interested in user-generated communities, and not user-generated content. We work in the industry of time - we want people to give us their time. We want to steal them away, and make sure they're not giving someone else that time.

Be driven to live up to your reputation. Don't be driven to live off your reputation. Sage advice for the largest of Advertising Egos...

Hegarty left us with the words to be true to each other. Talk the truth to each other.

Unless it's 4am at an agency party in Cannes. Then, I find, we all tend to bend the truth a little.

Claire Davidson, Executive Producer ASIA & MENA @ The Sweet Shop, reporting for Campaign Brief Asia at Cannes Lions 2014.



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