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When Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Worldwide tells you to “settle down” it’s recommended you cater to his wishes. Hot on the heels of a passionate speech from Bog Geldof, Sir Martin had no problem getting several hundred people to focus on the highly anticipated Cannes Debate just now.
When you have the chief marketing officers of Kraft, P&G, J&J and McDonalds in the room, it’s a good plan to sit up and listen to their insight, after all, they have some of the biggest advertising ideas and spends on the planet.
This year there has been a lot talk about digital at Cannes, and all the panel members spoke of their double-digit, or nearly double-digit spend on online with Mary Dillon from McDonalds saying that it was by far their fastest growing channel. Marc Pritchard from P&G said the recession had meant the reset button had been hit. They look for value through a mix of media and rate negotiations. Their approach is about impact and creativity, sending message to consumers on how brands are valuable – and not just price driven. At this time there is clearly an inflection point. He said Cannes this week and been all about integration and that it was important that messages work from the store all the way back up the channels.
There was a really important message from the panel around the integration piece. In this economy, digital is helping advertisers create engaging and enjoyable marketing solutions and the “better together” mantra was mentioned as a crucial component in executing on communication plans.
Research and analytics were touted as being really crucial – creativity needs to be borne from data. There’s lots of knowledge and too little insight. It’s the data that translates insight into the big ideas! Mary Beth West from Kraft said it’s important to serve up the data in an elegant way to make sense of it.
I think the quote of the session came from Mary when asked about Steve Ballmer’s forecast from his seminar on Wednesday that, in ten years time, all advertising will be digital, she said she felt there was “too much about the channel and not the creativity.”
There has been a lot of talk about the channel this week, but if it’s data and insight we’re after to make us better as marketers and seek out more value, it’s the technology enabling the creativity that’s going to bring us that holy grail.
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That would have been a great debate, but was it focused all about the technology? It seems that although some of these large companies have some very creative projects but often seem to get them sunk with graphic/video heavy websites. The other point is as more companies pour money into digitial strategies, existing projects also have to be expanded to keep pace, so potentially ROI can decrease.
Should these clients be looking towards light & user friendly open sourced technology solutions?