#OMDCannes – Critical Issues in Media

Cannes Festival of Creativity is a busy place – everywhere you look there’s a branded tent, beach house, seminar to attend or immersive experience to take part in. Think Glastonbury… but for the advertising industry!

Under one of the Palais rooms live the Cannes Young Lions Academies. Each day the different academies spend most of their time listening to a range of different speakers relevant to their chosen specialities, with the aim of absorbing as much knowledge as possible to bring back to their business. I attended the Media Academy and in one session listened to Mike Barrett, President of Heat (the relatively newly formed creative digital consultant agency within Deloitte) talk about some current critical issues in media and I wanted to share a couple of key take-outs.

  1. Nobody is paying attention

A bold statement for someone working in the industry I know, but also something (if we’re honest) we can all agree on and admit so – we’re all “too busy.” He backed this up with some data: ad recall is down 13% since 2015 but media spend is up 17%. This essentially means our ads are less effective but more expensive than ever. Of course, there are other metrics to consider besides just ad recall (as challenged by one of the students in my class), but his argument here was that if no one remembers your ad then it doesn’t really matter about anything else (a fair point). Today’s landscape has left us inundated with ads and the effect that it’s having is quite severe – the more we see the more we forget.

The solution? Make sure we create enough impact to cut through the clutter. He finished the point leaving us with the statement that “technology levels out the competition and creativity disrupts it.”  

  1. Truth is the most important metric

It was explained that this should be applied to all aspects of the industry – the consumers, the agencies and clients/brands. Consumer trust is almost impossible to regain and with the added threat of new and emerging brands popping up at a rapid pace, it makes it even harder. He called out some examples such as Audi; who took over 10 years to regain their customer base & fully recover from their sudden unintended acceleration issues back in the ’90s.

Mike Barrett then went on to state that it’s our job as advertisers to keep trust at the forefront of our work. By this, he meant really taking the time to think about and assess the platform’s we’re investing in. We have a responsibility for our clients and brands to make sure we trust where we’re putting their money so that their brand trust is held, kind of like a knock-on effect.

I thought this was a particularly crucial point, especially given the number of issues with brand safety. We talked a bit about Sleeping Giants, a French company on a mission to end bigotry in the industry. If you have a minute go and check it out on @slpng_giants_fr (oh and they also won a Gold Lion that evening at the awards ceremony for their work!)

Whilst the above points might not seem particularly ground-breaking, it was an interesting discussion and some great insights on how to manage some of the major issues in the media industry that we’re currently facing.


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