Ballesty, Baxter and Gloster on Cannes: Celebs, clickbait and ‘emojis everywhere’

By Sponsored | 23 June 2016
Paul McIntyre, Editor-at-Large, MCN; Sunita Gloster, CEO AANA; Adam Ballesty, Marketing & Innovation Director, Diageo; Mat Baxter IPG Mediabrands Global Chief Strategy & Creative Officer

This daily panel show in Cannes is produced by MCN and News Corp. To see yesterday's video, go here.

IPG Mediabrands global chief strategy and creative officer Mat Baxter is unapologetic for suggesting Cannes has become obsessed with putting celebrities on stage to “dribble on” about their lives rather than producing a festival that delivers actual marketing insights.

But marketers themselves disagree.

Diageo’s Adam Ballesty said the festival had delivered “a mix of clickbait” to draw in crowds but that some of the bait, such as Will Smith, who considers himself as a marketer, had been worth taking. Ballesty said other famous names, such as Ben Johnson, the sprinter famously exposed as a drugs cheat after taking gold in the 1988 Olympics, offered take-outs for marketers.

Johnson is now working with Australian sports brand Skins.

“His story and his journey back to truth links into the work with Skins on brand purpose,” said Ballesty. “So that had value.”

Baxter, however, said that while film director Oliver Stone had relevance, there remained too many celebrity speakers that “don’t really know much about marketing and branding”.

Baxter pointed out another breed descending on Cannes in hoards: emojis. Brands were attempting to piggyback the success of last year’s Titanium Grand Prix winner for Dominos, the Media Lions juror said. “There’s emojis everywhere.”

Baxter added that creative agencies continued to win the lion’s share of media awards because they were better at story telling – both in terms of their work and presenting it to jurors. But he said that media agencies were gradually catching up.

In terms of the best work on show, AANA chief executive Sunita Gloster picked the John Lewis campaign Monty’s Christmas - which won the grand prix for creative effectiveness - as a must read case study for marketers.

While the ad achieved huge social media shares, Gloster pointed out that it was the business outcomes – an 8 to 1 contribution to profit ratio - that had convinced jurors.

“I think that is what the heart of this festival is all about,” said Gloster, who advised marketers to make the trip to Cannes.

“It is a terrific marketplace that provides a real overview of the things that are in market and that are coming,” said Gloster. “I always leave incredibly inspired about our industry.”

Ballesty, Baxter and Gloster were speaking on a daily panel show in Cannes produced by MCN and News Corp.


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