I was lucky enough to interview a total of 16 advertising industry luminaries in Cannes for our Future Proof podcast. Each interview was provocative (and occasionally expletive) but, collectively, they represent a compelling viewpoint on the big issues facing marketing today.
Most of the interviews were recorded in our mini-studio in the Kantar apartment (a hive of activity in itself), one on the stage at Google Beach, and five also filmed on a sun-drenched terrace at the Palais des Festivals, in association with Cannes Lions. And what a spectrum of guests! I interviewed an influencer, an influencer agency, an AI expert, a couple of creative chiefs, a bevy of social media bosses, two heads of global brands, ad networks, a leading marketing journalist – the list goes on…
There was an amazing range of views… but what did I learn? Among other things:
- To do purpose properly, clients understand that it needs investment in the long term and needs to be more than skin deep – it’s not just about marketing, but inspiring positive change. Listen to P&G’s Hesham Tohamy on this and Sophie Galvani from Unilever.
- Social media giants (we spoke to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest), technology companies and ad networks are being innovative in order to improve the online advertising experience (for brands and consumers). Watch out for episodes featuring Xandr and Teads, about creating advertising that people actually… like.
- The creative world isn’t going to be taken over by AI, but some of the more mundane tasks might be – our guests from Wunderman and Adobe had interesting examples on this!
- Influencers are changing the nature of brands’ interaction with consumers – and are moving from the PR domain to the heartland of marketing. Are they basically magazines?
- CMOs may each have different dreams, but they are united by their passion and creative abilities. Nadine Dietz from Adweek possibly knows this better than anyone.
- We need to recognise the importance of breaks, and even boredom, to inspire creative thinking and to recapture the joy of work (as Twitter’s Bruce Daisley explains.
- Gender is still a highly emotive topic, and we need to acknowledge the passionate views (such as those from Cindy Gallop) at the lack of female representation in advertising. Again, it goes far beyond the marketing itself – what needs to change about the structure of the industry?
- There are loads of very smart people in our wider network who are happy to share their thinking and ideas. Lucky us!
Oh, and one last thing, I learned to ditch my carefully-prepared questions and go with the flow, and to ignore expletives, passing seagulls, yachts and helicopters.