I started the day with Samsung (#client), who will be accepting the honor of Cannes Lions 2016 Creative Marketer of the Year later this week. From outside Le Palais where they’re offering crowds a Tahitian surfing experience with their Galaxy S7/Gear VR, to the Samsung Lounge where delegates use the same technology to ride a virtual rollercoaster, Samsung is putting their innovation and creativity on full display.
I then attended a range of sessions covering everything from sports to sex. First up was a sneak peek at the IOC’s 2016 Olympic Games #olympicpeace campaign launching on June 23 followed by a session called ‘Sex The Final Frontier: When Foresight Meets Foreplay’ featuring Cindy Gallup, Founder & CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, and journalist and film maker, Mobeen Azhar.
1) A session called ‘Creativity and Innovation Through the Eyes of Confucius,’ hosted by Rene Chen of Shanghai based design firm, jones knowles ritchie. She unpacked the differences between the way Chinese and Westerner’s approach innovation and spoke about creativity in two forms – Innovator Style and Adaptor Style. Familiar expressions that sum up Innovator Style include, “we need to change the game” or “disrupt the category.” Adaptor Style is when the goal is to refine, improve and add incremental value. Western thinking leans more towards Innovator Style and while China sometimes suffers from the reputation of “imitation.” Chen explained this as purely Adaptive. She used the examples of AliPay (an adaptation of PayPal which has 300 million users) and WeChat (the innovative merging of every platform from Facebook to Instagram to WhatsApp). My takeaway: in our business of selling ideas especially in North America, we seem to lean towards starting from scratch and not borrowing enough and building from others. Perhaps it’s our intensely competitive culture but there is a reason one of our biggest CPG clients evaluates us keenly on our ability to “search and reapply.”
2) Purpose is the one thing that everyone is searching for, from Justin Beiber to some of the world’s biggest brands, so the topic of ‘How Purpose Gets Your Mojo Back’ appealed. This session was hosted by the Australian performance clothing manufacturer brand, SKINS, who encouraged brands to be “purposeful pioneers.” Since 2009, this brand has been bold in carrying out their purpose of fueling the true spirit of competition by celebrating great acts of sportsmanship and condemning acts of cheating. These guys are bold. They started with exposing the culture of doping in cycling and evolved this to include controversy in track and field and soccer – from launching the #choosetherighttrack campaign featuring disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson (who took the stage to talk about his experience) to becoming the first official “Non-sponsor of FIFA”. SKINS take on how to be purposeful? It’s simple: 1) consider what agenda to tackle and then set it, don’t reflect it, and 2) be all about actions, not words. This is especially relevant today with so many brands engaging in the conversation or cause du jour, a factor we at DeVries believe contributes to the marketing crisis we call Brandbiguity. It’s when fluffy, distracting chatter gets in the way of really standing for something, and note: consumers know the difference.