Welcome To The New Empathy, The Latest Buzzword At Cannes

SHARE
THIS



Ogilvy PR’s group manager of consumer, Richard Brett, is on the ground in Cannes and giving us the lowdown of the festival. Turns out the latest buzzword is ’empathy’, and it’s what many brands need to be doing.

I’m two days in at Cannes: and there’s one word I’ve heard more than ever so far. Not authenticity. Not purpose. No, not even engagement.

It’s empathy.

Of the fifteen or so talks I’ve been to so far, it’s appeared as a central theme in about a third.

Why? Empathy is the new way to gain engagement. And of course engagement is one of things we are all trying to achieve in the confusion that is today’s media landscape.

Empathy has come to the fore because of the new digital world. Thanks to social media, we are now all the creators of our own stories and we publish them relentlessly. It is the stories of our lives that we are telling, and of our friends, and even of strangers, that are pulling at our emotions. These are the stories that are creating empathy, and are the stories that are working best.

Madonna Badger, chief creative officer/founder, Badger and Winters, talked about the founding principle of her agency: empathy. She believes that empathy is the key to make an effective connection between a brand and a consumer, and has developed the Listening Lab – an empathy based creative process. In one of the most emotive talks I’ve ever been to (Badger lost her parents and her three daughters in a house fire in 2011), she talked about how her purpose has come out of tragedy. Her legacy to her daughters is an incredible campaign womennotobjects.com, which aims to rid the industry of objectifying images of women (and men). As part of the campaign, they have created four simple filters to check if an image is objectifying and one of them is empathy – what if it were you? How would you feel portrayed like that? Or your mother, son, or daughter?

Brian Chesky, co-founder of AirBNB talked about the growth of his business from the “worst idea that ever worked”. No-one believed that people would ever let a stranger stay in their house, but thanks to the technology of the platform, and the feedback loop at its heart, Chesky was able to bring to life the idea behind the business – that people are basically good. The success of AirBNB and Uber proves it. People will trust each other and do right by each other, when they know each other’s stories. When they have empathy.

Empathy is also coming to the fore thanks to new technology, and specifically virtual reality (VR). VR is everywhere at Cannes this year. Talks, presentations, and installations: I am bombarded with new ideas around VR and 360 video and the immersive, empathetic new worlds that are being created using this new technology.

Cannes is awash with talk about how VR is a major new creative platform. It will be as disruptive as the arrival of photography, of radio, of cinema, of television. What is striking is the sheer amount of new ideas being generated by this new medium. Check out DreamsofDali, NotesOnBlindness, Nomads and BeyondTheFrame, all of which allow us to experience a whole new world, putting us into someone else’s story and feel their feelings, their mind and their emotions. This is a new level of empathy. Toms created a hugely engaging piece of VR content called Charity:water capturing what it was like to be a girl having to walk 30km every day to get water. We were shown how The Guardian placed you in Solitary Confinement. This is real empathy.

A new generation of cameras will let you film moments in your life forever in VR, so that in the future you will be able to put on your VR goggles and step back in time to happy family dinners, chats with your mother or even show your now adult son what it was like to chat with him as a three year old.

Welcome to the new human empathy, driven by the platforms and machines we have created.

The Aussie Young Lion Winners are also blogging for us, so make sure you check out their posts too if you’re not swanning it up in the French Riviera.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

AI – To Join It Or To Beat It
  • Media
  • Opinion

AI – To Join It Or To Beat It

I'm afraid we can't let you read this piece Dave! That's a joke about A Space Odyssey 2001, young B&T readers.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
AnalogFolk Opens In Shanghai
  • Advertising

AnalogFolk Opens In Shanghai

AnalogFolk has opened in Shanghai and, as B&T's trusty Funk & Wagnalls atlas tell us, is somewhere near Wollongong.

Social TV – Will You Be At The Party?
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Opinion

Social TV – Will You Be At The Party?

Can't keep-up with the goings-on in the Aussie TV industry? Well, hit the couch, pull on the trakkie daks & peruse this.

Opinion

by Rochelle Burbury

Rochelle Burbury
JWT Melbourne Hooks John West’s Creative
  • Advertising

JWT Melbourne Hooks John West’s Creative

You'd only need snog a B&T staffer to know of our affection for the John West oysters in aspic & smoked mackerel ranges.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Sydney-Based Tech Marketing Firm, Law Of The Jungle, Scoops Top International Gong
  • Marketing

Sydney-Based Tech Marketing Firm, Law Of The Jungle, Scoops Top International Gong

Sydney-based online cloud solution for marketing compliance, Law of the Jungle, has beaten the world’s best firms to win a prestigious RegTech Markets 2017 Spotlight Award. RegTech Markets, a global community for regulatory technology, inaugurated these awards to “shine a light on the world’s best and brightest RegTech companies”.  A panel of 30 industry experts […]

Is This The Bleakest Christmas Ad Ever?
  • Campaigns

Is This The Bleakest Christmas Ad Ever?

Tired of pretty people pulling bon-bons in your Christmas campaigns? Well, here's one to slash the wrists to instead.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Truth About Native Advertising!
  • Opinion

The Truth About Native Advertising!

Do you stammer about the office, railing against native advertising's great untruths? Read this and stop scaring people.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Are We Only Just Starting To Use VR To Train Staff?
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Why Are We Only Just Starting To Use VR To Train Staff?

In this opinion piece, PHD’s news business and marketing manager, Chloe Hooper (pictured below), argues why all agencies should be embracing VR to change the way they operate internally. Virtual reality (VR) is something most of us have had exposure to, but how many of us are really exploiting its potential to grow our people […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PRIA Announces Winners Of 41st National Golden Target Awards
  • Marketing

PRIA Announces Winners Of 41st National Golden Target Awards

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) last night announced the winners of the 41st National Golden Target Awards at a glittering ceremony hosted by Aussie actor and TV host Shane Jacobson at the Sydney Opera House. A sold-out crowd of more than 160 PR and communication professionals from around the country came together to […]

Personalisation At Scale: Targeting Audiences With People-based Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Personalisation At Scale: Targeting Audiences With People-based Marketing

In this opinion piece, Indy Khabra (pictured below), national managing director at Amnet ANZ, explains power of the the people-based marketing equation, and also reminds marketers that they cannot afford to take data for granted. We are all talking about it. We all want it. We are all trying to get it. It’s that one-to-one […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine