B&T’s columnists from Cannes – R/GA’s Kate Allan and Dane Van Veen (winners of News Corp 2016 Australian Young Lions) – are back with their take on day two of the annual Adland love-fest. This time it’s lessons on marketing to women, why Brian Eno’s a pain in the arse, and vegetables. Or as the French say legumes.
It’s day two (actually, it’s the morning of day three, but we didn’t have time to write this yesterday) and we’re coming in hot a little dusty from the dining room at Club Maintenon. It was a day full of drama, action and on-stage theatrics from a music legend.
Act 1: Watching R/GA Geniuses in Action
We kick-started our day with a presentation by Focus Motion, a startup from the R/GA Accelerator program. They’ve developed a new algorithm for wearable technology that tracks human movement down to the smallest detail – recognising the difference between a bicep curl and a lateral raise, and accurately tracking reps, form and timing. But what’s really cool about this technology is its utility outside the gym – in workplaces, doctor’s offices and apparently even the bedroom.
Interlude: Crepe break
We forgot to take a photo, but imagine delicious cheesy crepes, cooked to perfection, topped with olives, eggplant and a fried egg. Here’s an artistic representation:
Act 2: From Dermal Fillers to Feminism
We took a wrong turn and stumbled into the dark underbelly of advertising – an in-depth analysis of how to make women feel shit about themselves in order to sell cosmetic surgery. We high-tailed it out of there and straight into an inspiring presentation by Kim Getty on gender bias in marketing that brought feminism back to the festival.
Kim spoke about the responsibility of advertisers to catch up with modern culture and tell women’s stories in a way that reflects how actual human women live. You know, with careers and speaking roles.
While only 33 per cent of people in the US watched Star Wars last year, 76 per cent saw a TV ad for a property website. With that kind of audience, marketers have real power to reset gender bias. So next time you’re writing a script, considering changing the protagonist’s name from Jack to Julie. You might find yourself telling a story that hasn’t been told before.
Act 3: Brian Eno is the Best and Worst Client Ever
The Ship Project is a collaboration between experimental music legend Brian Eno and Dentsu Lab Tokyo to find out if machine intelligence can produce creativity in a way that humans could never achieve. According to Mr Eno, technology is just the name we give to things that don’t work properly yet. The grand piano is an amazingly complex piece of tech, but we don’t see it that way any more. He’s interested in what the next great piece of music technology will be and wants to be the first to find out. The Ship Project hacks the conventional uses of artificial intelligence, which aren’t always pretty, and uses it to instead create a piece of ever-changing art that reveals universal human truths.
Then the fun really started. It turns out that Mr Eno requested massive changes to the prototype three hours before the presentation that required the team from Dentsu to redevelop the whole thing. We had the pleasure of watching the creative team shift uncomfortably through technological glitches and onstage client feedback. And the cherry on top of the clafoutis – the whole project is due to launch in a week.
Now it was our turn to squirm. We showed up for the global R/GA welcome dinner knowing no one, and found ourselves seated directly opposite advertising legend Bob Greenberg. As the founding father of R/GA, he made sure we were well-fed and ate all our vegetables.
Fade out on way too many glasses of rosé.