Cannes Day Three: Celebrity Opinions

Day Three has been all about The Fancy People. Hump day has given the Festival that little extra kick today, providing delegates with a little extra glitter and glamour to impress. This is no local advertising festival after all, it’s global and it’s important that we all remember that!

Last night, The Killers played a set at one of the weeks most sought-after parties by Spotify, with Chvrches lined up for tonight. Not to mention an appearance by Kylie Minogue and Idris Alba on the decks at the NewsCorp party tonight.  There’s been Terry Savage, Johnny Marr, Akon, Naomi Campbell, Shaquille O’Neal, Ramy Youseff, Will.i.Am, Queen Latifah, Paloma Faith and numerous  others either on stage or around the grounds, providing plenty of excitement for delegates.

So what?

Other than giving us all something to talk about, and feeling that flush of fabulousness that comes from standing a little closer to their sun, in fact it’s a good opportunity to listen to people at the top of their game. After all, these are all people who are complete overachievers in their chosen field.  They are ambitious, driven and truly committed to making it to the top of their trees, things us mere mortals can get tired just thinking about!  And because they have succeeded where others have not, they can deliver us some fantastic insights from their experiences.

Two stand-out talks today came from extremely different celebrity types. The first Shaquille O’Neal & Conan O’Brien. Both experts with long careers in entertainment, Conan has been doing his show for 25 years!  Much of this conversation focused on speed and authenticity.

With communication technology only increasing in pace (we’ve already discussed “velocity” and “digital exhaust” this week), both stars took time to discuss how they organise their teams to be able to take advantage of the speed of culture (something I’ll go into tomorrow in more detail).  Being able to jump on trending topics and Trump tweets is imperative to keeping their content compelling in a cluttered market.  For instance, when President Trump made derogatory comments about Haiti, O’Brien was on the ground with his team within three days, filming content that became part of a bigger story. They now look at their work as a way to have a conversation with viewers, often enabling fans through Twitter to dictate content filmed later that day.

They also discussed “authenticity” for some time, revisiting the topic repeatedly throughout the interview. Authenticity in the context of holding themselves to account for their own brand values.  Is it funny? Will their comedy hold more meaning that just offering a laugh? Is it inspiring? And how can they make their brands grow, because for them growth comes from taking risks, not through protection.  If we apply this risk aggressive mindset to other brands, we can see that Burger King and it’s “Hackvertising” approach is a great example of a brand that takes risks even if it means potential failing.  Calculated risks to be sure…..

A different kind of celebrity then took the stage in the form of Scott Galloway, the NYU Professor known for his big statements about the Big 4 tech companies – Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Galloway is considered a Rockstar of the Marketing world, refusing to buy into buzz words and media hype.  In his opinion, Google is our modern day God, an entity so ingrained in our daily lives that it knows the real us – the warts and all us, more so than even our therapists and family.   With Mark Zuckerberg determining the algorithm that determines what so many of us see, feel and do, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t the most powerful man in the world right now.  With recent events showing how Facebook has been weaponised and the public apathy to it’s power, Galloway committed to beginning a movement to take them down, one friend at a time.

And you thought the celebrities were here just to make things shiny… they seem to be here to shake things up!

Signing off until tomorrow.



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