We have a brand that’s dying, how can we fix this? – A story from Cannes Lions

I don’t even know why, maybe pure chance, but our Cannes Lions seemed to be dominated by Hip Hop legends, one was being involved in an interview with Young Guru, JAYZ’s producer, and also being in a closed interview with what can only be described as the godfather of Hip Hop Russell Simmons the founder of DEF JAM.


I started this blog with these two things because there was a common theme on what those two mega-stars were saying, and that was music to our ears (pardon the pun), because they both focused on bringing stories to life through surfacing real struggles from real people and experiences, sounds simple, but even to this day, most creative is made up – scoped, designed and delivered with the hope that clients and their audiences love it.


Listening to both BuzzFeed and VICE on how they have grown their businesses through experiments and moving online publishing into whole new areas that have never been done before was a huge inspiration, (thanks Y&R for those sessions) many of the topics were about moving the needle by creating your own destiny and creating products, so you can tell the story, control the story and amplify the story. They showed that sometimes being a mega-publisher, and viral content generator is sometimes not enough, sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone and take business risks.


Another highlight was the sheer amount of topics about AI, of which in almost all cases people were talking about technology that was not real Artificial Intelligence (think Watson) but more machine learning, automation or content intelligence.

And who could of missed the Publicis announcement that they will halt their Cannes activity next year in favour of developing their AI platform, not sure how their staff feel about that, I guess Publicis clients will enter the awards without them, and leave the Publicis competitors to woo their clients CMOs at the 2018 Cannes which will be in its 65th year.

There was also lots of chatter about the relevancy of Cannes Lions, and WPP saying that ‘the jury’s out’ on whether they will invest next year, the truth is, this chatter happens every year, maybe its all part of the negotiating road-show. The ever changing creative industries need Cannes Lions as much as Cannes Lions need the Creative industries. The fact that technology companies are dominating the festival seems to create controversy, however what marketing is not digital in todays world? The new creative magic is how you use technology creatively, and this is a theme that is not going away.

We have a brand that is dying, how can we fix this? Well this was a question put to Russell Simmons, and his answer was around, rather that pushing content to them, create a mechanism for them to engage with you, its more about listing and curating, rather than guessing what your customers would like to see or do.

This affirmed our global struggle with educating brands about the consistent power of UGC, and how it can not only fix dying brands but also move them above their competition and deliver authentic real experiences across any marketing asset they have or hope to have in the future.


Maybe in Cannes Lions 2030 the winners will be every day people, with every day stories, captured with technology that’s all around us, and that the brands and agencies will simply be the vehicle that made this happen– as its been clear for years now, that communities control brands destiny’s, not CMOs.


– Owe and our favourite activations! they were with Y&R’, Wunderman, Ketchum, ICCO, VML and ADWEEK. Wunderman produced an awesome Omni-channel TINTthat rendered across Web and OOH, Y&R curated live news from Cannes as it happened, ICCOs amazing Cabana was as busy as ever.

Next up, New Orleans