Be fearless, be meaningful, but above all be authentic
Authenticity is a real thing, agreed the CMOs at yesterday’s Wake Up With The Economist debate.
Discussing the overarching trends of the 65th Cannes Lions, Bank of America’s Meredith Verdone, said: “One thing I’ll be taking out of this week is the need to build an authentic connection with audiences and how brands can maintain that in an increasingly dispersed world.”
Vivendi’s Lucien Boyer said authenticity was bred into the bone the French media giant. “For us, if it’s not fully authentic, it doesn’t exist,” he said. “If we didn’t stay true to content in a genuine way, people wouldn’t play our games or listen to our music or watch our movies. We don’t invent artists — we find them.”
Like Vivendi, Burger King’s Axel Schwan said authenticity was part of the fast-food restaurant chain’s brand positioning. “Authenticity is a nice word and looks good on power point, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t execute it well,” Schwan said, quoting Sir John Hegarty’s famous advice that “advertising is 80% idea and 80% execution”. “At Burger King,” he added, “we’ve learned you have to be crazy about execution.”
Creativity is, of course, the white noise of the Cannes Lions. But this year, the panel agreed, the work and ideas in contention have been notably bolder and braver, as brands and advertisers strive to cut through the clutter.
Applauding the amount of “fearless, meaningful, innovative” work he has seen this week, Boyer said: “We all need to keep our eyes open because the future is taking shape in front of us. All the platforms that are now everywhere — we need to think carefully how to use their powers and not get lost in fragmentation.”