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Cannes Lions 2024: Day 2 Wrap-Up

Day 2 at Cannes Lions has come and gone and Karen Howe, Cannes Canada Advisory Board Member and Canadian Young Lions Mentor, and Marcin Zerek, Head of Trade Marketing at The Globe and Mail, are here to bring you some highlights from the day. Follow our daily recaps, Q&A’s with industry execs, and festival breakdowns at Globe Media Group’s Cannes Lions hub

In this edition: 

  • Creativity and its limits
  • Olympic torchbearers on the Croisette
  • How to rebrand ‘brand’
Creativity is Not Enough with Mark Ritson 
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Founder of Mini MBA, and Marketing Consultant, Mark Ritson, lead Tuesday Afternoon’s session, “Creative is not Enough”. The talk is an expired take that undervalues the importance of creativity in advertising. In the session, Mark Ritson equates the celebration of creative excellence to “smelling our own farts”. He thinks purpose-driven marketing is a “hilariously stupid,” “massively indulgent wank”. 

So this is our new oracle? The crowd was in slack-jawed thrall of Ritson’s f-bomb riddled tirade. I was not. 
Yes, of course strategy, pricing, and positioning matter. Tactics too. But if creative didn’t pack power, we’d all be throwing a bunch of PowerPoint slides in the air, waiting for a cascade of sales.

Seriously? Creative doesn’t matter? 
Brands with great creative master our hearts and our wallets. Study after study (McKinsey!) has shown that award-winning creative builds the bottom line more than the work that looks like worn wallpaper. Littering a sentence with curse words does not make this any less true.

Sorry folks, but I think the Marketing Emperor has no clothes – or perhaps I should say, no “F$%@!#g” clothes. 

Other excitement 
I’ve always described Cannes Lions as the “Olympics of creativity”. So imagine my thrill when the other Olympics blew into town. The torchbearers (one of whom was Halle Berry) of the 2024 Olympics ran the Croisette enroute to Paris and were met with the most diverse combination of cheering ad execs, chefs, and locals. It was an unforgettable experience.

– Karen Howe, Cannes Canada Advisory Board Member and Young Lions Mentor

Creative Impact Unpacked: How Do We Rebrand ‘Brand’?

Marketing frequently struggles to align with the C-suite, largely due to a language barrier that obstructs effective communication and strategic coordination. The jargon we as brand marketers use can be out of step with the rest of the business. A standout session today, featuring Karen Crum (EY) and Laura Jones (Instacart), explored the barriers to selling in brand-building investments and provided strategies to bridge this gap.

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To enhance the alignment and impact of marketing within the C-suite, it is crucial to:

Align language and objectives: 

  • Ensure a shared understanding of brand value and marketing goals across the organization.

Combine data and creativity

  • Balance the “math” (data-driven insights) with the “magic” (creative innovation) to build compelling business cases.

Build robust business cases

  • Laura Jones provided a great framework for developing strong business cases to help justify marketing investments and demonstrate potential ROI using: Competitive analysis, Industry case studies, Proprietary data, Financial modeling.

Leverage precedent vs. persuasion

  • When selling in brand building investment: Karen Crum stressed the importance of leveraging precedent (what has worked in the past, or for others) to foster confidence, as it is factually driven. In contrast, when someone feels like they are being persuaded, this involves belief-driven risk, highlighting the potential but uncertain future gains of brand investment. Using precedent in your pitch is the way to go.
– Marcin Zerek, Head of Trade Marketing, The Globe and Mail

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