So here we are in Cannes for the Lions 2015 and another star studded WPPStream. Every year at Cannes the challenge is the same – brands vie for visibility and attention on the baking sands and bustling thoroughfare of the Croisette. And it ain’t easy. The fringe is where it is at – after all who wants to come to the French Riviera and spend the day sitting in raked seating in a dark auditorium! The awards and the keynotes are accompanied by a glorious freeform cocktail of all manner of experiences outside in the sun and in the warm evening air.
On the WPP Stream Island, we opened with creator of Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, in conversation with Sir Martin Sorrell – they discussed the giants of advertising and the changing landscape for these giants. He believes that ads don’t shape culture, they reflect it, and with this in mind we have ample resource for more creative events at Cannes. With this crowd of participants we can surely create some memorable and meaningful experiences to reflect their work. As Matthew also noted, TV ads can be irritating, especially if they just increase their volume in a effort to grab our attention, but really good, creative work will always sing out over the noise and get a standing ovation.
Fringe events at Cannes are where the big money is spent and where this international and savvy crowd really want to head. The competition for their attention is hot and brands are required to carve space out of a limited and costly destination. Big budget beachfront venues for Microsoft and Google change and grow each year and the need for enjoyable and convivial spaces is never ending.
For most of the people who come here each year and get stuck in to the mayhem, the real value is found in the conversations and the connections they make. The personal experiences make the trip and the time away from the office worth something. These encounters spark learning and the sharing of creative inspiration.
So perhaps we can box clever, think about curating innovative and inspiring personal experiences that leave people talking about your brand, rather than fighting for square footage and building bigger spaces?
Sarah Baldock is CEO and founder of be-good and will be blogging live from Cannes Lions this week.