Billed as “The Jet (Lag) Set: Maintaining Digital Creative Equilibrium Around The World”, Matt Creamer, Senior Editor at Advertising Age,has just led a veritable panel of creativati in the Debussy Theatre here in Cannes.
If there’s one trend going on down here on Le Croisette it’s that everybody is talking about digital. As Marc Bresseel said on Monday 8 years ago, people wondered what Microsoft was doing in Cannes. This wasn’t the place for software and servers, but a place for creative thought and application.
Today, thankfully things have changed dramatically and Tom Eslinger, Worldwide Digital Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi, Dirk Eschenbacher, Creative Director APC at Tribal DDB and Rei Inamoto, Global Creative Director of AKQA gave some incisive and thought provoking answers to Matt’s probing.
Asked about trends in the creative community, Rei said that yes, advertisers are embracing digital because of it’s measurability and accountability, but also that companies are seeing online as a great way to build brands.
On the question of cross-border campaigns, the panel agreed that you can’t simply “copy and paste” a campaign approach from say Japan to Germany because there are huge cultural differences. Tailoring the campaign and making it locally relevant is super-important. Rei was keen to point out however that digital does provide a great way for people to connect across boundaries. If you share the same passion, it’s more easy than ever before to share those passions and create connections.
Asked about viral marketing, the panel squirmed a little a the label. Firstly it’s an adjective and not a verb (?) and Rei hammered a very good point home by saying, “Going viral should not be the end goal. It should be the consequence of a good idea!”
When asked what to be wary of, we heard a story of a 17 year old who’s been selling chairs to businesses online with no advertising whatsoever. He’s built up a $50m empire without spending a penny on marketing so creatives have to be ready to reinvent themselves sometimes to create a need.
Dirk from DDB said that when they’re hiring it has to be “digital, digital, digital” talent and experience that look for. Rei felt young talent was not really the issue but it was the mid to senior management in company’s that could be stifling growth through fear of these youngsters coming in and not being traditional about digital. Told us 30 to 40 year olds to be aware and embrace new talent.
Finally Tom from Saatchi’s delighted the crowd by saying they’re hiring, but that it’s not walk in the park as they make folks write 100 day plans!
It was a great session. It was the first time I’d heard these guys speak and it sent all the right signals that digital is as firmly ensconced at this festival as the handprints outside the Palais!