Most interesting sound bites from Cannes.

Mantra Partners' president and chief brand officer Mike Fromowitz shares what he heard at Cannes 2012

Jun 23, 2012 02:47:00 PM | Article | Mike Fromowitz


Everything that turns brands into social tools that play a relevant role in people’s lives is the way forward. We’re obviously not quite there yet though. “Useful is the new cool” is a pretty old mantra by now, but it still seems surprisingly hard to accomplish. —Hyper Island’s Global Director of Executive Programs Anders Sjostedt

Brands require agencies to work with increasing speed and with ever-tightening budgets. To improve upon speed between partners requires trust and, often, that doesn’t quite exist.
—Hyper Island’s Global Director of Executive Programs Anders Sjostedt

Craft and attention to detail seem to be forgotten.  The truth is, no matter how great a story, if you don’t tell it right, it comes out badly.  How many great books have been made into terrible movies?  On the other hand, The Godfather was an unheralded airport type book which became one of the greatest movies of all time.  Why?  Craft at every level.  Writing, acting, lighting, set design, editing, music, everything.  When every element is put together in the right way, something bigger and better happens.  That’s what our clients need. —David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer, BBDO

There was a lovely synchronicity with a much repeated BBH quote “cynicism is the opposite of creativity”  when Ted spoke passionately about the culture of Droga 5 as an agency and a people he loves working with, and how that affects their recruitment policy. Funny, cool, positive ….most of all positive. Cynicism is not something we want people taking to the party. They serve dinner every night at 8. Because they know people will be working there late through their choice.    — Steve Elrick, Regional Executive Creative Director, BBH Asia Pacific.

Bigger than that was the idea that ad people should perhaps be spending more time thinking about solutions to issues rather than just communicating the problems.  — Steve Elrick, Regional Executive Creative Director, BBH Asia Pacific.


“It’s hard to be a pioneer.”  —The line, spoken by a sleep-deprived jurist during the second morning of judging.

Questions (came up) relating to how relevant a concept was to the brand, how well it engaged the target, the originality of a project and its impact on a brand’s goals. “Am I judging the quality of the production, the entertainment value or the ad experience?” one juror asked. The jury chair’s answer: “Judge the idea.”   — Ensemble’s Scott Donaton

This is the year when brand storytelling came into its own. More marketers than ever realize that as the 30-second spot loses its power, content and experiences become more important communications tools.  — Ensemble’s Scott Donaton

(Benetton’s controversial “Unhate” campaign, which won the Press Grand Prix) cuts through all cultures, nationalities, faith even. It has heart impact and gut impact and promotes a global debate. It’s part of our role as communicators to also talk about social responsibility. Brands are coming to us asking for this type of communications. Consumers also want to do good as they spend.   —Jury president Tham Khai Meng, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy & Mather

The ad industry has always been challenged by disruptive external forces but has remained surprisingly reluctant to reinvent itself. Brand marketers have changed though, and are increasingly looking for solutions to better connect with their consumers, better control their costs and the ROI of their activities, and to accelerate the speed at which they bring the right ideas to market to cope with the pressure of an increasingly complex and kinetic competitive environment.     —Francois Petavy, CEO of eYeka, a Co-Creation Community

The current and foreseeable economic conditions make the cost of failure more onerous, be it the failure to launch a new product or a communication campaign that resonates with consumers. The current way of working is too slow for brand marketers. We think that co-creation with the right type of consumers can accelerate the speed to develop the right creative ideas, enabling brands and agencies to then move in the right direction when developing products and campaigns. Creating products and marketing them with consumers – instead of for them – makes economic sense as it reduces the cost of failure, the amount of resources involved, and is more likely to result in products or campaigns that actually work.  —Francois Petavy, CEO at eYeka, a Co-Creation Community

Younger generations (Generation Y and the upcoming Generation Z) are changing standard consumption habits. They are born digital, with a digital brain. They are creating a new language via technology, and if you don´t speak the same language, you are out. They are in search of new experiences, and they want to take action. They are not as passive as the previous generations —Guido Rosales, Director of Latin America Advertising Strategy for the Coca-Cola

(Innovation Lab) is a process where we push our key partners (creative agencies, production houses and digital agencies) to bring us new ways of building consumer experiences. The idea here is to develop unconventional ideas that can amplify our brand storytelling in a compelling and unique way, often outside the confines of a creative brief. It’s a trial and error process. We can fail, we know, but at the end we are learning  and evolving our way of doing marketing.  —Guido Rosales, Director of Latin America Advertising Strategy for the Coca-Cola

Based on the advertising I’ve seen, there’s one target audience that marketers are losing out on. Boomers (45-65) are reported to spend a staggering US$ 2.3 trillion in annual household expenditures in the USA alone. That’s twice the amount spent on goods and services by 18- to 39-year-olds. These Boomers enjoy the highest incomes of any age group, and were born during a fortunate crack in history to cash in on the real estate and stock booms. Yet despite their’ trillion-dollar spending power, Madison Avenue still views 18- to 39-year-olds as the prime demographic to target, paying an average of 25 to 50 percent more to target younger adults,  This is in spite of the fact that Boomers are 71 percent as likely as their younger counterparts to be willing to try new products and services.”    —Alex Bradley, Creative Director, Groundswell Media Labs, USA

Now, the enormity of this Boomer market segment is evolving to become the most lucrative marketing opportunity. They’re adopting technology with enthusiasm (think about the number of parents or grandparents who regularly send e-mails or upload photos to Facebook and other sites). They have also shown a willingness to try new brands and products. Yet it’s estimated that less than 5% of advertising dollars are currently targeted towards this group.  Hopefully we will see some creative work targeted to this group next year.  —Alex Bradley, Creative Director, Groundswell Media Labs, USA

Everyone keeps saying that this is the year of mobile (I believe this has been the case since 2007), but, who knows, maybe it finally is?  —Creative, Lars Bastholm of Cheil USA

Mike Fromowitz
OCTAINE / Cannes