Claire Davidson on the Cannes Lions Festival seminars: Day 7 and the final day with an android TV personality, a backpacker + more

Claire Davidson_CannesPic5.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 7 of the Festival.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
We've reached the final day of a very, very successful week at the Cannes Lions 2015.  It has been non stop 24/7, with a wealth of knowledge and expertise shared with and by us all.  It hasn't been without controversy, particularly yesterday with the Lucky Iron Fish campaign and Product Design Grand Prix award, but then again Cannes wouldn't be Cannes without some form of controversy.  There is so much passion within our industry that people are going to speak up and voice their opinion, particularly when ideas, morals and ethics come into play.
Today I caught "Protein Briefing:  Disruption In Age". This was brought to us by William Rowe, Founder and CEO of Protein, James Anderson, Founder of Thinkspace & Space Lounges, and Dominique Afacan and Helen Cathcart, Co-founders of Bolder.

Protein is a company that assists brands to understand and connect with their influential audiences.  It documents and researches emerging trends as well as innovations.  It provides inspiration, ideas and insight in 16 markets around the world.

Today we are defined by our values, our beliefs and our aspirations, not by our age.  It's just as common for an over 60 person about to retire to become a start up entrepreneur, as for our children to do the same from their university dorm rooms.  Older generations are being redefined, just as for millennia the concept of adulthood has shifted.

The audience today is not defined by age, but rather by their attitudes and behaviours.  Audiences will define what people buy next.  Protein helps you to strategise and connect with these people through their Audience Network.  They help you to understand services and connect services.  They have an Audience Agency and an Audience Network.  They are an Audience Business.

Claire_Cannes7_L1000773.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000739.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000727.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000512.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000762.jpgClaire_Cannes7_CH8_4186.jpgClaire and Robot.jpgProtein produces an Age Report every quarter.  Recently they surveyed 2100 people aged between 8 and 80 years.  It soon became clear that things aren't what they used to be.  The economic crash has driven this, as too has digital democracy, and new icons.  We have shifting attitudes to politics and economies.  Teenagers are now seen as a valuable source.  The elderly are becoming leaders of technological wealth.  There is now no such thing as 'acting your age'.  Phew...  So the way I behaved last night at the Gutter Bar was acceptable then.  That's VERY good to know.  Protein calls these people the New Boomers.  Boomers have an adventurous spirit, and are rewriting the ageing process.  Life expectancy is continuing to rise.  By 2017 almost half of the US population will be 50+, and controlling 70% of disposable income.  Rowe summed up some key points:

1.    Encore Careers - offer retraining to work in other disciplines.
2.    New Faces of Fashion - brands are increasingly showing older role models in their advertising campaigns.
3.    New Loves - a third of over 50 singles have tried online dating.  Hello Tinder.
4.    New Forms of Media - these highlight age positive stories.

There has been a permanent shift in where and how these generations work.  Passion and curiosity are what drives us.  Young and old alike are looking for drastic changes as to how they are perceived and expected to behave.  This opens up a huge opportunity for brands.  Age is no longer linear.  Age is a state of mind.

The androids are coming!!!  Next up for me was a seminar with a robot.  "Matsuko-Roid Disrupts TV and Ad Agencies" was brought to us by Matsuko-Roid, Android and TV Host (!), Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, Professor of Osaka University, Takeshi Mita, CEO of A-Lab Co, Ltd, and Yasuharu Sasaki, Executive Creative Director, Denstu Inc and Dentsu Aegis Network, Director, Digital Creative Centre, Dentsu Inc. 

Sasaki San definitely has the longest title here at Cannes, I'm sure. Matsuko-Roid is a very famous female TV personality in Japan, based on an android of a very popular gay male Japanese celebrity, Matsuko-Deluxe. This is confusing!

We saw today how state-of-the-art android technology created a new, innovatively disruptive TV program and magnified business opportunities for Dentsu - the agency that cooperated on Matsuko-Roid's creation.

Professor Ishiguro told us today, 'TV and advertising are both mediums for human expression. Androids, capable of controlling the degree of human presence, have the potential to become a very powerful tool. They can also communicate information on behalf of humans, so they are also reflections of humanity. As such, when one day androids are able to work in place of humans, new TV programs, new advertisement, and a brand new future may come to life'.

Personal robots will change our lives again, just as personal computers have. Personal robots are cheap, but offer high performance. Professor Ishiguro is understanding humans by building humanlike robots.  He's verifying knowledge through humanoids.  It transfers the operator's presence to a distant place.  Both the operator and interlocutors can adapt to the android and accept it both as its own body and as a human.  My head hurts!

Matsuko-Roid is the world's first TV android entertainment programme hosted by an android personality.  Matsuko-Roid has internal models consisting of desires, intentions and behaviours.  Celebrities are always expensive, busy and demanding.  Making an android solved this problem for Dentsu, and in so doing also kept the values of the celebrity.  They had to create the celebrity's presence.  Matsuko-Roid is changing TV.  The android became the content.  Dentsu has provided TV stations with a new form of content.  The celebrity and android collaborate and work as partners as well.  The result raised the celebrity's popularity.  Dentsu has stepped outside its comfort zone, and invaded other areas, working closely with scientists and artists in other fields.  They are creating new business. 

In Japan Dentsu has 7,000 staff, of which 1,000 are Creatives, and 150 are Creative Directors.  I think I would get lost in the corridors there.  Very very lost.

Next up for me was "Tales From The Edge:  How To Blow Shit Up".  Speaking today was Lee Maicon, Chief Strategy Officer of 360i and Tom Buday, Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing & Consumer Communication, Nestle.  How do you lead in a rapidly changing world?  By blowing up the traditional ways of doing things to remain on the edge of what's next.  That's how.

The fundamentals of creative excellence and brand essence have not changed, even in this period of digital acceleration.  What has changed is the way we need to apply those fundamentals.  We need to assault the senses.  You can find an edge everywhere.  The edge is that space that is in between, and the moment something changes from one side to the other.  Take history making yesterday, with the decision in the United States to rule for same-sex couples' right to marry across the country.  It's moments like these that allow us to take a step back and see what was and what could be.

Claire_Cannes7_L1000745.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000728.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000732.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000780.jpgKeith Reinhard_BackpackerIntern.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000734.jpgClaire_Cannes7_L1000520.jpgBut we can't just blow shit up as we feel like it, any old way.  Timeless fundamentals still apply.  A lot of energy and change come from the edges.  The explosion doesn't have to be dramatic.  Is surviving the digital transformation about revolution or evolution?  There are two sides to this thought process.  Maicon and Buday's view is that neither extreme is accurate.  In fact what is needed is a more nuanced approach.  You need selective demolition.  The dismantlement of a specific structure or equipment does not involve bringing down the entire structure.

So what do we blow up and what do we build?  What fundamentals do we preserve?  Through the I's:

~ We must Inspire - company transformation from the top and from the edges.
~ We must Ignite - communicate with the senses.
~ We must have an Impact - follow the basic rule of marketing to influence minds, and have a positive influence on consumer's lives.
 
Benefit from the old.  Look at how to innovate with the edges we live with every day.  Ignite feeling to believe.  What will you keep and what will you blow away?
 
Last up for me was "Keith Reinhard Meets The Backpacker Intern"Keith Reinhard is Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, and our Backpacker Intern and the CEO of the company is of course Mark Van Der Heijden. Van Der Heijden came out onto the stage in a dapper shiny blue suit, not looking quite like the scruffy backpacker I had depicted him to be.
 
In January 2014 Mark Van Der Heijden was a creative copywriter at LEMZ. One morning he decided to quit his job, and then left his apartment, gave his bed to an orphanage and started his adventures as The Backpacker Intern. Since then he has travelled the world, and put his creative skills to work for agencies, brands and charities. His only payment in return was some food to eat and somewhere to sleep.

Six continents, 25 countries and 30 companies later, his journey has given him a unique perspective on creativity around the world. This experience has enriched his own creative skills, and inspired those he encountered.
 
Language was occasionally a barrier, but this was fixed by deferring to the local copywriters.  He became culturally enriched.  He worked on shoots with Bomos (witch doctors), he had coffee with a grenade on the table in front of him, he taught football to some of the children in the charities he worked with. He had anecdotes from Vietnam which I could relate to after my 2.5 years working and living there. DDB Vietnam took him out for drinks and fed him copious amounts of champagne mixed with vodka. Van Der Heijden said 'I'm not drinking that.  I have to work for your agency tomorrow morning'. The management replied, 'Fuck it, it's Vietnam'!  I can hear Daniel Jones saying this.
 
Van Der Heijden has been to some amazing places and had the opportunity to do wonderful creative work.  He even managed an internship in Antarctica. This was the best and most unique country he has ever been to and one of the best life experiences he has endured.  He's even then travelled to the White House.
 
All of us have a lot of ideas that never see the light of day. Van Der Heijden wants to change this and today he is launching Wanderbrief, which will send creatives to other areas to work. 

Six teams will travel to six continents to bring new perspectives to companies. Van Der Heijden is looking for companies to join in this, and he has already had some good ideas and connections at the Gutter Bar last night. Let's see if those are remembered and if they come to fruition.
 
Van Der Heijden's motto is: 'Think less. Do more'.  Creativity thrives when you break the routine and have new perspectives.

Van Der Heijden's story is truly remarkable, broadening and very uplifting.
 
I'm off to get frocked up for the final awards ceremony and the closing Cannes Lions Gala at the Carlton Beach.  Let's see who takes home the last of the sparkling gold lions tonight.  Good luck to all of the finalists.
 
Thank you Cannes Lions for having me for another year.  2015 has been completely and utterly inspirational.
 
Claire Davidson, Managing Director & Executive Producer - ASIA + MENA @ The Sweet Shop, reporting for Campaign Brief Asia at Cannes Lions 2015.

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