Paris To Cannes: Lessons From An Aussie Adlander On Exchange

Paris To Cannes: Lessons From An Aussie Adlander On Exchange

Sophie Murphy (lead image) is partnerships manager at Initiative Melbourne but recently spent time working at INI Paris as part of Initiative’s ‘Emily in Paris’ exchange program. Here, Murphy talks about her experiences in Paris’ adland and shares some lovely travel pics too…

We can all agree TV shows can glorify real life.  Emily in Paris is a case in point: it certainly promotes the world of marketing, but a recent trip to Paris made me think what can we learn from the show?

When I was selected as one of the lucky four participants in Initiative’s ‘Emily in Paris’ exchange program – which provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of working in an overseas market, I knew instantly I wanted to head to France. When you think of inspiration from advertising and media in France, everyone defaults to Cannes. But after spending a week in Paris, I soon learnt that the marketing culture and landscape has as much, if not more, to teach us.

My time in Paris consisted of shadowing the head of brand content and partnerships and his team at Initiative France and immersing myself in the ways of working in a European market. Unlike Emily makes it out to be, with her spur of the moment, award winning client brandideation all within a 30-minute Netflix episode, the media approach in France is quitedifferent to the way it’s portrayed in the show. The French aren’t sitting at lunch drinking under the Tour de Eiffel when they suddenly think to launch Champere, the spray of Paris. Neither can they receive a prototype of a designer product like the Pierre Cadault x Rimowa Luggage Collection, the day after ideation.

It’s fair to say that the ways of working are more similar to Australia than they are different. Each campaign is underpinned with meticulous layers of strategic thinking, planning and execution to bring any media to life. However, something that particularly sparked my interest was the consistent content first, media second methodology the French use to tackle their client problems. In what we know is a ridiculously cluttered market, there is a key focus on finding a brand’s voice by first owning its media and then amplifying it through traditional paid channels.

A favourite experience of mine was touring with Webedia, a global media-tech company who specialise in content production and distribution, to see the ways of working behind the scenes. Partnering with big name influencers, the content collaborations produced wereseamless and fuelled my imagination for digital executions.

After noticing around 90 per cent of the outdoor activity in France was static, meeting with JCD in the founding country was another highlight. Assets leverage the individuality of the market to enhance the attractiveness of the city rather than hinder it, with notable picks being tower poles that line renowned streets like the ChampsÉlysées, and take-overs of heritage listed buildings to fund restoration lets media sing on some of the biggest platforms around. The Parisian approach is evergreen: they master the value from design to distribution and use the common dominator of media to make each campaign sing.

The size of the market lends favour to this approach because they have the power to build from the ground up and reap the benefits of economies of scale in a way that’s not possible down under. An approx. travel time of nine hours from Melbourne to Sydney is a similar distance that gets you from Paris to Spain. And with a population triple the size of our entire market in just France, the bargaining power is second to none. Keeping that in mind, they can not only ignite people through culture, but they can also easily connect communities across countries pushing brands from strength to strength and making their voice more powerful than ever.

So, when we think about Emily’s carefree and spontaneous ideation, I think there is a lesson in her style that we may all be missing. To everyday media folk, some of her bold ideas came across as a somewhat ridiculous and even comical solution…and I concur most of her ideas are just that. However, I think this was in fact her strongest weapon. When we continue to sit still in our day to day and rest on our laurels, we will never push boundaries and change the work that we produce. Whilst the team at Initiative Australia is certainly in no danger of slowing down, stepping into another market has reignited my enthusiasm to think bigger than ever before.

When you step out of your ordinary, you get a wonderful opportunity to expand your horizons. And whilst it isn’t everyday you get to fly across the world to experience a new market, there is a leaf we can all take from Emily’s book; keep pushing when you get comfortable and the big, bold ideas will flow.




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Initiative Melbourne Sophie Murphy

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