APN Outdoor Presents Cannes Lens: Creativity In Focus

Aug - 2018

SYDNEY + MELBOURNE: Three key themes emerged from this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, according to APN Outdoor, the festival’s official Australian representative.

APN Outdoor’s General Manager, Marketing, Charlotte Valente, outlined the key themes to more than 300 marketing and advertising executives at the company’s Cannes Lens: Creativity In Focus presentations in Melbourne and Sydney this week (the presentations will be staged in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth next month).

According to Ms Valente, the three themes dominating Cannes were:

  • The importance of finding and communicating what is authentic to a brand and, in many cases, using that authenticity to develop a “higher purpose”.
  • Increasing conversations around inclusion and equality.
  • Finding the elusive balance between data and creativity.

“These themes are shaping how our industry approaches its work and are keeping many marketing, advertising and media professionals awake at night,” Ms Valente said.

“Cannes brought these issues into sharp focus and showcased some brilliant insights into how to tackle these challenges and turn them into highly effective and engaging campaigns.

“APN Outdoor’s association with Cannes is part of our commitment to creating opportunities for brands to have deeper, smarter and more meaningful connections with consumers,” she said.

The Cannes Lens: Creativity In Focus presentations included a panel of leading industry executives discussing some of the most acclaimed work at this year’s festival. The panel was moderated by PwC Chief Creative Officer and Partner, Russel Howcroft.

Mr Howcroft said: “While I couldn’t be in Cannes myself this year, it is fantastic to hear from our panels that there was a shift back to what is really important: the celebration of great, creative ideas. It has been a privilege to be able to sit down with our panel and get a deeper understanding of this year’s award-winning work.”

The panellists at the Cannes Lens: Creativity In Focus presentations were:

  • Melbourne: Adrian Mills, Partner – Brand, Creative and Media, at Deloitte; Anthony Svirskis, CEO of Tribe; Gareth Nicholls, Managing Director of UM Melbourne; and Natalie Davey, the incoming Head of Marketing at Cricket Australia.
  • Sydney: Danny Bass, CEO of IPG Mediabrands; Jay Morgan, Innovations Director at The Monkeys; Karen Ferry, Senior Copywriter at Leo Burnett; and Sue Zerk, Chief Marketing Officer at 20th Century Fox.

Setting the tone for the discussion across both panels was Jay Morgan’s note about ads establishing a higher purpose, commenting that “70% to 80% of campaigns this year are no longer narrative-focused, but instead aim to solve a problem … great campaigns need intrinsic newsworthiness and PR-ability to stay relevant”.

Karen Ferry agreed: “Good ads come down to emotional connection every time. Media and audiences are increasingly fragmented and it’s important to consider how people will be able to reach and connect in this way. Breaking the campaign up and using as many different touch points as possible is the way forward.”

Adrian Mills, however, raised the issue that “we have a challenge in marketing within Australia, if not globally, and that is with tenure – people can buy into an idea in the short-term, but it is rare to see a long-term follow-through”.

Gareth Nicholls continued this theme. “There is a big difference between an ad talking about an issue and actually delivering follow-through and proven action. I wonder whether some campaigns are just high-profile, celebrity-driven conversations rather than an actual agent of change,” he said.

Anthony Svirskis posited that the propensity for follow-through comes in the planning stages of a campaign. “The best marketers at the moment are anticipating where the conversation around a campaign will go and putting measures in place early to engage with that conversation, largely across social media,” he said.

The problem with this approach, Danny Bass argued, is that “we talk about a risk index with clients and with the advent of social media, particularly Facebook and YouTube, clients are becoming less willing to push boundaries as the conversation online is increasingly unpredictable”.

Natalie Davey reinforced that navigating the medium is critical. “We need to get better as marketers and really stop to think about what the best message is for the medium, rather than cram several into one.”

Mills agreed: “There is still very much a case for simplicity. As the old quote goes, when creating a mousetrap you have to remember to leave room for the mouse. The best work is simple and makes you lean in to it, and that’s what outdoor continues to do so well, cementing it as an increasingly important medium – something our friends at APN Outdoor know well.”

Ms Valente said the outdoor category was one of the standouts at Cannes in terms of the volume and quality of the work submitted.

“The Outdoor Lions is the most entered category at Cannes and the only category to award two Grand Prix Lions,” she said.

“It’s also a category that has undergone some considerable changes over the past five years to cater for the rapid innovation in the outdoor medium. For example, an immersive experiences category was introduced to reflect the growth of experiential marketing, including virtual and augmented reality and gamification.

“The changes reflect the growing need for brands to do more than just catch the attention of consumers. It’s about making a connection and creating unique memorable experiences that combine storytelling with the power of outdoor,” Ms Valente said.

“Looking to the future of outdoor we can expect to see an increase in data-driven campaigns allowing greater mass-personalisation of brand messages; a more pronounced link between outdoor and mobile, informing strategies based on actual customer behaviour; and more ambient, immersive work that will create unique experiences for consumers.”

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