Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham Talks Big Ideas & Bravery With Cannes In Cairns Content Director Pippa Chambers

Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham Talks Big Ideas & Bravery With Cannes In Cairns Content Director Pippa Chambers

Pulling together the agenda for Australia’s biggest and best media, marketing and advertising festival is no mean feat. Fortunately, The Misfits Media has tied down experienced adland insider and journalist Pippa Chambers to direct this year’s content.

To lift the lid on the content, the inimitable and irrepressible Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham managed to grab a few moments in between phone calls, meetings and emails to chat with Chambers about how the show is shaping up.

Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham: Pippa, it’s great to have you on board as the Content Director for Cannes in Cairns, how are you going to ensure the content is even better in 2024?

Pippa Chambers: Listening, listening and listening! To ensure content is even better this year — which is some job — it’s about listening to the industry. This includes past attendees, speakers and the team to address any gaps and exploit niches.

On top of soaking up views and having a great advisory board on hand guiding the content, the nearly 100 detailed session submissions via the Topics in Tropics form have also given a good insight into what the people feel should be discussed and why. Sadly, we had to draw the line somewhere due to session capacity — otherwise, almost everyone would have had a slot!

Overall, it’s this steady and crafted process of listening and reflecting that’s got us into great shape already and there are plenty more to be announced.

GG: How did you balance the Topics in the Tropics sessions with your overall Cannes in Cairns content goals?

PC: It’s a complex and competitive world out there for businesses and consumers which is why more than ever we need big ideas, bravery and innovation to succeed. Cannes in Cairns is all about unearthing the best ideas, seeing and hearing how bravery is shaping leaders and businesses and inspiring innovations and innovators.

Covering the fields of advertising, media, marketing, communications, tech and all the creative fields in between is bloody hard.

GG: What makes an outstanding session, for any event, but Cannes in Cairns in particular?

PC: While a cracking session title (with a splash of humour) is a surefire way to get off to a good start, it’s about living up to that session promise. That requires subject distinctiveness and depth, matched with speakers that have the authority, authenticity, personality, confidence and candour to discuss that topic.

We want attendees to come away feeling impressed, excited, inspired and armed with real applicable and actionable knowledge. So if a session does that, they’ve nailed it!

GG: On the wall in the Misfits Media office, we have a wishlist of incredible local, regional and global speakers. How are you tracking on the list?

PC: When I first saw that hit list I was taken aback by the ambition around these speakers. It gave me such a good insight into the drive and determination of the Misfits and inspired me to reach for the stars (literally — all of them please)

But, as one gem is ticked off, another five are added! It’s like the Hollywood Walk of Fame at times!

GG: The Advisory Board you have assembled is incredible. How did you select them and why is there such a strong APAC, rather than simply Antipodean, contingent?

PC: The Advisory Board is a mix of people who I admire, respect and trust. From leadership styles to views around business and creativity and producing outright show-stopping work, it’s a highly revered bunch.

Speaking to the likes of Tony Harradine, CEO, Omnicom Media Group, Asia Pacific, gave such an incredible insight into the different markets and where and how ad dollars are moving.

I also loved hearing from Kainaz Karmakar, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India, and Nabuhiro Arai, senior creative director, TBWA\Hakuhodo, to get their views on creativity, find out what appeals to them and why and what clients are looking for in their markets. Having interviewed Kim Pick, group executive creative director, VMLY&R New Zealand, in the past, I knew she’d have some unique insights and content tips from New Zealand – and she did!

The pages of notes from the board members are priceless!

GG: This year will see the launch of the Asia Pacific Cairns Crocodiles Awards, what are your thoughts on the new regional Awards show?

PC: More needs to be done to give creativity the recognition it deserves around driving business success and the Crocodiles Awards is excellent fuel to help with this mission.

The jury that has been assembled is chock-full of the sharpest minds in marketing from around the Asia Pacific region. So, entries will be judged and evaluated by the most important people in the business. In fact, it’s the only awards show judged purely by CMO-level marketers.

Just like Cannes in Cairns, the Crocodiles Awards will give people something they didn’t know they needed — and now they can’t possibly imagine life without it.

GG: What can we expect from the second wave of Cannes in Cairns speakers?

PC: There are some cracking and varied keynotes coming, including stacks more brands, agency stalwarts and newcomers, a hearty topic from the industry’s debate club, a Media Federation of Australia (MFA) panel, Marketing Academy scholars and more!

I’m particularly excited about the new stream in Hemingway’s Brewery. It’s not only a beautiful venue, but we have a chunk of sessions featuring there specifically because of the cool, quirky and collaborative vibe of the iconic brewery.

GG: Can you spill the beans yet on any headline speakers that will surprise and delight?

PC: There are a couple in the wings that will certainly surprise, while also setting a new benchmark when it comes to the keynote stage.

GG: Who would be your dream speaker for Cannes in Cairns?

PC: I have a fair few dream speakers still on my hitlist which I’ll keep close to my chest as if they don’t come off this year there’s always next!

Two are UK-founded brands, two are Australian companies across services and tech and the others are CMOs from across the US. Chris Hemsworth wouldn’t go amiss, either!




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