Day 4 at Cannes: The importance of brand purpose & best of OMD Global Lions Campaigns

Gavin Gibson is OMD’s Chief Strategy Officer.


Lots of sore heads this morning as OMD delegates from around the world recover from celebrating OMD winning the Global Media Network Lion last night.

Even under these conditions, there was still a full turn out at the OMD Oasis for a panel discussion between three global brand leaders on what they are looking for from agency partners, and the importance of brand purpose to deliver long term business impact.

Aside from media planning/buying excellence (this was a given), the number one thing brand leaders were looking for from their agency partners was empathy. This threw me at first as I was immediately thinking this was about greater empathy around consumer behaviors (influence).

But the reality was they were actually looking for greater empathy (understanding) of the business dynamics / constraints in which the marketers work within every day. Fiona Naughton (Global Senior Director of Brand at PayPal) commented that marketers are constantly battling with internal teams to justify marketing spend aligned to incremental business growth, versus expense.

Greater understanding from agencies on aligning marketing investment to tangible (not irrelevant media metrics) was key.

The panel also commented that current remuneration models between agencies and clients needed to be reviewed, as the reality of an ‘always on’ culture requires solutions to be turned around exponentially faster than ever before. Tailored performance based models were the preferred solution, with agencies rewarded for client business growth. However, this needed to be done in a world of complete media transparency, something which the panel felt was a major concern; with their CEO’s particularly ‘concerned’ with all the negative publicity constantly in market.

Importance of brand purpose

Speed to market has driven the need to adapt quickly based on data patterns; the tension being that these immediate triggers are often retail (offer) based and part of the reason why we are all working to short term metrics.

When the panel was asked if this was going to change, the answer was probably not. If anything, it highlighted the increasing need for brand purpose and a clear brand identity. That way, the sum of all the small parts and short term messaging, would ladder back into the broader brand ambition. “Brands without a clear long term brand purpose are going to struggle in a programmatic world” (Fiona Naughton PayPal Senior Brand Director)

For today’s work showcase, I wanted to highlight a few of the case studies from OMD teams around the world developed, culminating in being recognized at Cannes as the Global Media Network of the Year.

No one should have no one. Using data, a loneliness index was created that enabled resources to be better deployed to helping the isolated older generation in Great Britain.


Channel 4 Paralympics, a campaign which changed public attitude towards disability for the better.


McDonalds Singapore, Capacity Based Delivery. Using data, the team were able to serve relevant messaging based in local areas in Singapore that had the greatest capacity to fulfill the delivery order, improving the end product experience and business ROI.


Lastly for today’s fun case study check out.

The Tostitos party safe bag While a serious undertone, this product would get some serious mileage in Cannes.

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