A Cannes ‘Contagious Briefing’: The Contenders and the Brand Lessons from Paul Kemp-Robertson

Cannes-Lion-Award-2013-586x439The best advertising isn’t always advertising.

Paul Kemp-Robertson’s ‘Contagious Briefing’ of his Cannes Contenders, held by the ICA last night in Toronto, brought to life this and other key points that demonstrate the changing way advertisers are working with clients.  It’s not about “making people want things” but instead about “making things people want.”

He showcased several strong ads that are Cannes contenders.  Each are changing brand perception and even going so far as to change marketing behaviours.  Delta’s new campaign strategy revolves around service design, rather than marketing.  From in flight wifi networks and Delta airline apps that allow passengers to have a virtual ‘glass-bottom’ view of where their plane is to added-value elements such as destination-specific travel guides, Delta is changing the way they (who have a notorious bad customer service reputation) serve customers.

Anomaly’s Budweiser ‘Red Light’ is a product that fans didn’t even know they wanted until they saw it.  Now it’s in man-caves and collections across the country.  Reiterate: Make things people want.

The Paralympics’ revolutionary campaign surrounding the London 2012 Olympics flipped perception on disabled athletes, taking the games to new heights and leveling the playing fields for all sports.

Kemp-Robertson’s other insights are worth highlighting as marketing direction shifts and marketers continue to look for ways to engage and inspire consumers.

If the data exists, use it
Airlines track their baggage, resulting in mounds of data.  Kemp-Robertson suggests getting a designer to make it look sexy so that passengers can interact with their own bags, a #1 complaint from passengers who have luggage woes.

Shift towards participatory media
There is more value in experience than in products.  Kemp-Robertson points out how bands make money nowadays – through experiences like concerts vs. selling records in a store.

Watch out for the perfect storm
Consumers expect transparency, and with such a wide array of information available, trust can fly out the window if there isn’t a cautionary plan.

Know your consumers, they expect you to
“Don’t treat me like a stranger, you know me and what I just bought,” is the mentality of most consumers, Kemp-Robertson says, when they begin the purchase cycle [be it an airplane ticket, a hotel room, or even an iPhone].

Feel their tug
A testicle analogy followed this last point, leading to expected giggles, but the point is real: feel the pull on consumers.  Know that they are being stretched right, left and centre by advertisers and brand messages.  But what are their real struggles? What could improve their experience? Be empathetic and the answer will come.

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