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A view from the beach: Chief Creatives and Shakers & Stirrers

Round up from the Chief Creatives and Shakers & Stirrers sessions with discussions on the influences and challenges facing the creative industry.

created on Wednesday 21 Jun 2017

Chief Creatives on the Beach

Leading chief creative officers Bruno Bertelli (Publicis), Laura Baumbach (Mr President) and Chris Garbutt (TBWA) joined Campaign India’s Managing Editor Prasad Sangameshwaran at the Cannes Lions Beach this lunchtime to discuss the challenges they face as leaders, along with the biggest issues facing the industry as a whole   

A wide-ranging discussion saw the panel touch on everything from Trump to Toyota. And for those of you who missed out on the seafront session, we’ve rounded up the key takeaways. 

The best work is borne from strategy 

According to Publicis chief Bertelli, “We need to make sure we don’t forget the strategy behind [the creativity]. If the why isn’t clear – why exactly a brand is offering something to a consumer – something will be missing.” 

Culture is key 

“The biggest challenge is grabbing people’s attention,” said Bertelli.

“We’re up against culture” added Garbutt. “It’s so important to be more creative than ever to cut through all of that stuff. TBWA monitors culture daily; we try and connect our brands to culture in a way that’s relevant to people’s lives.” 

chief creatives

Timing really is everything 

According to Bertelli, “The best agencies today are the fastest one. You have to be relevant for the topical moment.” He cited the post-Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split campaign from Norwegian Airlines as an example of this. 

Encourage diversity but define key, consistent values 

Baumbach feels that “Sharing values with a client is very important.” When asked if agencies need to be non-judgmental and keep their personal politics at home, she advised, “Part of what we need do is to choose who we work with very carefully – in that way we can be passionate alongside our clients.” 

“There need to be different points of view in a team”, said TBWA’s Garbutt. “It’s great to gave radically different concepts within your department, but at the heart of the business there needs to be some kind of central core.” 

Work globally but with local insight 

Baumbach says, “We do a lot work globally in terms of insight to gage the mood.” Which is importance since, as Bertelli pointed out, “A little bit of misunderstanding can cause enormous damage to a brand.” 

He also made the interesting point that “Millennials travel a lot more than the previous generation, and they love to see the same brand everywhere. It’s important to keep consistent, but locally relevant.” 

Honesty is here to stay 

Today, points out Bertelli, “anybody can check that what a brand is claiming is true.” Chris agrees on the point of authenticity. “You’ll get found out in a second. You have to essentially proof your point of view.”

Baumbach added that there’s no point in just joining a cause for the sake of it: “There’s still so much stereotyping going on. It’s not authentic and the audience sees straight through it.”

Shakers & Stirrers

As the mainstage action in the Palais des Festivals wound down, media leaders Rich Battista (CEO and president of Time Inc.) and Peter Naylor (SVP of advertising and sales at Hulu) sat down with FORTUNE’s Adam Lashinsky to discuss challenging industry norms and new content models for the evening ‘Shakers and Stirrers’ session. 

Kicking things off, Battista shared how for Time Inc. – the media behemoth behind titles such as People, TIME and Sports Illustrated – “video is one of the most exciting parts of the company.”

“We’re going to do 50,000 videos this year across all our sites,” he said. In addition, they are working “aggressively” with Twitter, Snap and Facebook and TV networks to maximise their reach. 

When questioned as to why he stays in the print magazine business at all – an industry currently facing unprecedented challenges – Battista was upbeat: “We still have a massive audience. We have 30 million monthly subscribers and they’re a very loyal and engaged group,” he explained. “So much of our content emanates from our print products.”

“Originals are critical: brand-defining shows that really solidify in the hearts and minds of viewers what that brand is about. All of our originals are all about making it vital to be a subscriber.”
Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertising and sales at Hulu

Hulu is currently enjoying a moment in the spotlight, with Hulu original ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ released recently to considerable critical acclaim. But, Naylor, explained, Hulu has actually been around for ten years, starting out as a joint venture between NBC and Fox in response to the rise of YouTube. 

At that time, it was positioned as “TV on your computer”. Interestingly however, today, “75% of the viewing happens in a living room environment,” he said. 

So how do you position yourself against Netflix and Amazon, Lashinsky wondered? “Originals are critical: brand-defining shows that really solidify in the hearts and minds of viewers what that brand is about. All of our originals are all about making it vital to be a subscriber.” 

So what does the future look like for video consumption: 10 years from now, will we still have broadcast TV? According to both, it will be facing significant challenges. “Traditional broadcasters will look at diversifying and becoming multi-platform”, while platforms such as Twitter will have made great strides, particularly when it comes to sport. “No doubt they’ll buy the rights to big sports events.” 

Hulu’s Naylor, it seems, is open to the changes: “In this new world, we have the chance to be a disruptor.”