I was sad to leave Cannes today, because each year for a few days in my hectic life schedule I get to sit and listen and marvel at the amazing innovation that is shaping our advertising, media and communications.
This year was no exception. I was exposed to many campaigns that honoured integration and took real consumer insights and applied them in inspiring ways. www.thegreatschlep.com showed how a simple consumer insight could influence a presidential race, a brilliant campaign for the the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef will change tourism communication forever, Gillette's Campaign for men showed there are no holds barred online in demonstrating (pretty tastefully I have to say) how men should trim their pubic hair. And the campaign for Distracted Drivers/Road Safety got everyone talking.
I sat through fascinating insights on how 20 million consumers around the world interact with Xbox games each month and even Unilever use Microsoft's Free Interactive Games to sell margarine. The Sagami Original campaign for the world's thinnest condom was a beautifully crafted and thought out story that won a Grand Prix in PR. The work on the Deadliest Catch was riveting with very smart media integration and I just have to see that show!!!
We were told that men go online for fantasy and women for reality - sound familiar?
I learned about Microsoft Surface, Bing, the Long Nose, The Natal Project, the Eyeblaster Project to end traditional advertising, Skimmer, MagCloud and a whole lot of other really fascinating stuff - so much so that I was told I was becoming a technology slave one night at dinner by a techie (talk about calling the kettle black) who was watching me Tweet away. Slave or not, I cannot emphasis enough to communicators, marketers, advertisers and media specialists to get closer to the technical innovations that are changing our world. Find ways to bring the understanding into your business - collaborate with others, particularly technology partners, create campaigns that engage and most important become part of the conversation.
I started Tweeting from the time I arrived in Cannes and just this involvement and engagement shifted my absorption of information and clarity of thought and interaction with others. I warn you though; it is addictive (that’s the technology monk in me speaking).
My highlight was Twitter and the young and unassuming Biz Stone. Forget the $ 500 million. How incredible it must be to have been part of creating something that is changing the world so fundamentally. I say this, because for the past few days CNN has been a Twitter with the coverage of the riots in Iran and Twitter has been a key feeder to this. Twitter is becoming the news agency of the world and people are finding a voice that would otherwise be censored. All it takes is a mobile device and you can find your voice. Where major news corporations cannot be present or report the repressive tactics of governments, Twitter will make their voices heard. It's unstoppable and profound and I count myself lucky to live in this age where the individual can participate in this global conversation.