IAG Australia’s strategic marketer and creative has arrived for his first Cannes experience. Here, he offers his first Day wrap…
So, I’ve successfully made it half way across the globe with my dignity intact, even after 28 hours in cattle class, to spend a week submersed in creative mecca, The Cannes Lions Festival.
Not just to look but also learn, as I’m here to attend the Young Lions Academy. We sound like a bunch of scouts but actually the academy I’m in comprises of a bunch of under 30’s marketers, with big brand and creative aspirations, not yet too raged by the machine, wanting to learn from some of the industry MVP’s.
Additionally, I’m also here to drink my body weight in Rose’ – dream big, right?
As a first timer at Cannes, I don’t know what to expect. The chaotic non-stop agenda I have leaves me feeling honestly quite overwhelmed… with lunches. However, there is plenty to do besides feast on French food while I’m here.
Today is my first official day at the Festival and I’m ready to hit the cobble stoned streets around the Palais and soak it all up.
First up, our course director, Jim Stengel, ex P&G CMO and brand purpose godfather, gives us the low down on how to win at Cannes, not lions but surviving on limited sleep and maximum BAC levels. Top guy.
He understands the room dynamic pretty well, considering most of us went out the night before.
So first up, was a session on business chemistry run by the Deloitte CMO Program.
Turns out I’m a “Guardian”, not of the galaxy but of organisation and output. Sad but accurately true.
Then, what I ear marked as the highlight of my week, if not year, a classroom session with Fernando Machado, on how to develop work that stands out and creates value for the brand as well as the business.
I’ve been fortunate to listen to Fernando talk about creativity once before, in a FaceTime master class between himself and my current CMO. He was amazing then, he was fucking great now.
The hour we had with him was two videos and two hundred questions from the class.
His story of going from mechanical engineer to marketer, probably sets him up to be one of, if not the best, CMO’s in the world. He is gifted numerally but also a creative genius, which is a killer combo. And accounts for all the lions he’s won to date.
He spoke about passion and knowing your shit. And if you aren’t obsessed with your craft then to get a knew one. I did question my own existence briefly, then checked myself and realise I was in Cannes for work for a week and was very happy with my career choices to date.
As a group we had a detailed discussion across a few questions on culture, which Fernando gave a few examples of how he makes it great. One which he advocates for is open lines of communication and empowerment with his team of over 100 marketeers across the globe. Which is run on WhatsApp. I know what my team is like and that content feed would be 99% meme based. Perhaps fast food marketers are more focused.
We then got down to brass tax and the usual numbers game. He made one simple statement that really resonated with me. He said “Sales in your duty but building the brand is your legacy”
The perfect mix of short and long term sales, I wont get all Peter Field on you but he’s bang on.
However, we did run a little over time with Fernando, so it ended rather abruptly before we had to run to the other side of the festival to hear Target talk about the equitable experience through the lens of the brand to benefit all.
The core example they shared, is a brand they have called Kat and Jack, an adaptive apparel brand, where all abilities to belong. Where they have made a few small changes to kids clothing, so all kids can belong. A pretty incredible example of how small changes can make a big impact.
This is what the referred to as an example of soul at scale, something Target looks to guide them in the path for growth and to impact the world positively for future generations.
Purpose reared its head again today. I assume this will be a key theme across the next week. Let’s see if I’m right, or if the Rose’ is impacting my predictions as well as my ability to find my apartment at night around here.