Social media is the buzzword
Monday, June 21, 2021 2:50 PM

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The Cannes experience promises to be fabulous. With over 50 seminars that will have over 130 speakers going up on stage in the large Debussy auditorium, 20-odd workshops for the eager learners, 10 Master Classes, over 8,000 delegates from 90 countries, over 20,000 entries in 12 broad categories, four award evenings, two galas, the much awaited India party, the multinational network parties and so on, including the ubiquitous and overrated ‘gutter bar'- the coming week is going to be fantastic!

The weather has been great so far with a nip in the mornings, bright clear skies and the inviting, azure Mediterranean. Not to mention the busy and fashionable Croisette, the centre of tourist activity, and the inviting aromas from numerous restaurants and cafes!

I am glad that I got in a day earlier on Saturday and spent the afternoon in the lovely artists' village in the hills, Saint Paul De Vance, with a quiet evening in the meandering Rue du Suquet in Cannes. All this before the festival began in right earnest on Sunday with its long queues of delegates awaiting registration.

And what a Sunday it turned out to be! You had to pick from eight seminars and three workshops and if you squeezed some time between those, you could sit through the screenings of all entries in the Films, Film Craft, Integrated and Titanium categories!


The Day 1 seminars were good, a couple truly outstanding. My favourites were the Mainwaring Creative & InterCulture, Tribal DDB, Directory (quarterly magazine on direct marketing) and ABEDESIGN (Brazilian Association of Design Companies). WGSN (fashion and style forecaster) too was a good eye-opener. However, if I have to pick up two words that were heard well over 500 times during the day, they were ‘social media'. Session after session saw numerous examples of how the ‘new order' is upon us. The democratisation of ideas, passing on control to consumers, the changing requirements of the marketer and the necessity for not only agencies but also for individual practitioners to morph and ‘retool' themselves to suit this ‘new order' were the popular themes on Sunday.

What was exciting was that most of the presentations were filled with real-world examples and did not preach. In fact, the design seminar had a lot of Indian examples presented by Luciano Deos from Brazil. Good to see the Discovery piece on the coconut picker from Kerala, the dabbawallas, Tata Nano, Swatch water filter and the battery-operated refrigerator so far from home.

Simon Mainwaring was my pick as the best presenter of the day. I would recommend his presentation on ‘The How of Social Media' to one and all. Tribal DDB's case study on Monopoly is a sure winner. Fascinating!

After ‘social media' the buzz word that dominated the sessions was “purpose”. The Pepsi refresh initiative, Puma in Africa, GE (NYSE:GE) and the ECG story in India were some of the highlights. Truly, the future of profit will depend on the purpose. Lessons for all of us in the business of profit.

Additionally, the advertisers are on the stage in droves and this forebodes well for Cannes. A little bright piece of news is that ITC has sent in 10 delegates led by the very likeable Hemant Malik.

I cannot remember another packed Sunday like this. It only builds the excitement for the days to follow. I look forward to seeing Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, Bob McDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) (P&G), Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever (NYSE:UL) ; Marc Pritchard, CMO of P & G; Martin Sorrell, Maurice Levy, David Drogba, Tony Granger, Joseph Tripodi, CMO of Coca Cola and many more on stage.

(The writer is Managing Director and CEO, Mudra group.)



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