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Jeremy Bost

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Cannes Lions 2011: It's Not Your Brand Anymore

Posted: 06/26/11 04:55 PM ET

Looking back over the week at the Cannes Festival, it's difficult to know what to say that can wrap it up in a neat and satisfying package. There has been so much new information presented that my notes barely scratch the surface of everything I've seen. You really could literally write a book.

However, if I had to nail down one theme from this year's Festival it would be the following message to all companies:

"Stop being so precious with your brand, it's not yours anymore."

Wieden+Kennedy have lived on the stage this week picking up awards for Old Spice. However, while the original TV ads were fun, it was the later YouTube-only "Responses" element that lifted the campaign from good to great. As well as creating amusing content, the brand created individualized content and made its new community a part of the experience.

It's not enough anymore to write some copy and buy some spots. David Ogilvy's iconic "The Man in the Hathaway Shirt" is considered one of the best ads that ever ran. Today though, would the same ad really do anything?

We've been told at Cannes that interruption messaging is faltering, possibly on the way out altogether and brands will have to shift from message-pushing to content integration and creation. In a digital world where consumers can download an entire lifetime of content and never see an ad, brands need to give something if they're to compete for attention. To do this they need to move from being precious to being prolific, always feeding their audience and allowing the audience to talk back and shape the brand for themselves.

Skittles gets it, with over 18 million followers on Facebook they've made the most of online by "always being on," drip feeding fun to their community and rewarding those who talk back.

Media consumption has fundamentally changed in the last five years but advertising for the most part has not. Brands want so desperately for marketing to be a science that they hold so tightly to pseudo metrics like TARPs and CTRs that inertia has set in.

Speaking at Cannes the great creative mind, Sir John Hegarty brought up his favorite quote for clients reticent about trying something new: "We are in danger of valuing most highly those things we can measure most accurately, which means we are often precisely wrong rather than approximately right."

It's a brand new world for advertising.

 

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