Cannes Lions: It's A Cash Cow - But We're Okay With That

As is the case every year around this time, everyone starts pointing fingers at Cannes Lions organizers accusing the organization of increasing the number of categories and subcategories just to up award entry fees. This year, there have been 47,500 entries bringing in 28 million Euros. Lions Festivals CEO Phillip Thomas defends the take, saying: "We're a business, not a charity." But then more softly, adds, “People sometimes criticize us for just wanting to make more money. But all we do is react to the changes in the industry.” For the most part, he's right. Award categories simply mirror what's happening in the ad world. And as we all know, it's become an incredibly complex landscape with new forms of advertising popping up every day. Cannes Lions may seem like a cash machine, but as long as the complexity grows and agencies keep ponying up fees, Cannes Lions organizers will be there to take your money.

So what happened in Cannes yesterday? Well, Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora told attendees search has only reached 5% of its potential. And he sees standardization of mobile platforms as a major key in fueling the growth of search. 
    Kanye West waxed eloquent: "Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, was my biggest influence. Just seeing the way he fought to make things easier for people. After he passed, I made it my life's mission to do what he did inside of that company. I dream to help raise the palette and raise the taste level of a generation and also be involved with the production and distribution and advertising of that thing everyone's begging for." What are they begging for? A world in which brands help people achieve things rather than just yell at them.
     In her presentation at Cannes Lions, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer touted Yahoo's success with native advertising, saying: "Native experiences beat their traditional display counterparts in almost every metric." And she mentioned Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr as a big player in that area, adding: "When we acquired Tumblr a year ago, we saw what you probably saw: an unmatched platform for creators and curators. We also saw something else: A great platform for brands." Which our man in Cannes, Joe Mandese, properly categorized as a "giant product pitch." 
    And in terms of winners at last night's Outdoor, Mobile and Media Lions awards, FCB Brasil took home the Mobile Grand Prix for its amazing Nivea "Protection Ad," which consisted of a magazine ad with a removable bracelet and corresponding mobile app to track kids on the beach. Starcom MediaVest took home Media Network of the Year. McCann Lima and Havas Lima won a Grand Prix for Coke's Happy ID campaign. OgilvyOne London won a Gold Media Lion for its British Airways Magic of Flying. Cyranos McCann World Group Europe won a Gold Mobile Lions for its Teatre Neu Pay-Per-Laugh work. HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler was honored with Media Person of the Year. And Whybin TBWA won the Outdoor Grand Prix for its bedazzled ANZ Bank GAYTMs.

Uh oh. A former Arnold Worldwide intern, Mollie Ableman, has sued the agency, filing for punitive damages in New York State Court Monday claiming the agency broke state labor laws when it refused to pay a group of interns that were asked to do the work of regular employees. Ableman was an intern for the agency in 2008 and claims she received no pay or class credit for her time spent at the agency. Why she waited six years to file the suit is unclear.
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  • Mad Men Opening Credit Bench Turned Into Actual Bench

    From now until the end of summer, those passing by the Time-Life building, home to the "Mad Men" fictional SC&P agency, will have the chance to sit on a bench crafted to look just like the bench in the opening credits of "Mad Men."

    The 12-foot bench was designed by Pentagram and consists of just two pieces -- a half-inch thick rolled steel plate seat and a 10-foot cast-concrete base. 

    So if you've got a hankering to sidle up to Don Draper (or whomever that silhouette turns out to be) then now's your chance.

  • That Agency That Just Launched A New Web Site Has Now Done Something Newsworthy

    The Brandon Agency -- which, ahem, just launched a new Web site, has just done something a bit more newsworthy. On Friday, March 20, the agency closed its Charleston office so that employees could take the day to volunteer for Operation Home, a non-profit that helps people remain in their homes by increasing home safety and accessibility.

    The agency’s staff spent the day in Hollywood, S.C., with Operation Home building a wheelchair ramp to enable an area resident to get in and out of their home safely. The result was a 29-foot wheelchair ramp to provide easy access for the homeowner.

    Of the effort, The Brandon Agency VP Media Director Shelby Greene said: “As a business organization, The Brandon Agency believes that we have a responsibility to serve others and give back in our surrounding communities. It’s wonderful to be a part of an agency that sees the importance of serving those in need and encourages us to take the time to do just that as a team. We believe Operation Home serves a valuable purpose and we are thrilled to jump on board with them.”

    Yes, that's much, much better that touting the launch of a new Web site.
  • This Ad Agency Now Makes Its Client's Hamburgers

    In the continuing shift away from the actual duties of, you know, creating advertising, 72andSunny has created a new spicy burger for Carl's Jr. The agency came up with the burger concept, named it and designed the packaging -- but they also developed the burger's ingredients. 

    Of the involvement, 72andSunny CCO Glenn Cole said: “We don’t look at our job as being an ad agency or marketing agency. We see our job as being an accelerator of business.”

    An accelerator of business. Well, it's good to know that an agency now thinks that creating advertising to help sell a product is now so boring that they would rather create the product as well. Of course, there's nothing really wrong with that. After all, advertising people are creative. So why not help develop creative food?
  • 11 Pieces of Career Advice From Mad Men's Peggy Olson

    In an LA Times Entertainment piece, you can find 11 pieces of career advice for women that are based on the Peggy Olson character from Mad Men. And we all know Peggy, who rose from obscurity to full on executive fame over the course of the series, has learned a lot and has much to share.

    Advice ranges from not relying on your femininity to get ahead to demanding appropriate work space to taking power when it comes your way to maintaining a professional relationship even when there is a lot of personal baggage to never fall in love with your married boss.

    Peggy's been through a lot. She's grown professionally and personally. And she's become wise with advice to share. We'll see her a few more times as Mad Men makes its final run this Spring.

  • Yannick Bollore Is Perfectly Happy Havas Isn't Huge

    In the advertising holding company world, which is run exclusively by men, and in the regular world which, some would argue, is still run by men, there is and always has been a fixation with size. And size in the sense that bigger is always better. That line of thinking runs rampant from the boardroom to the bedroom. 

    But not everyone thinks bigger is better and while "being huge" is good if you're in a porn flick, that's not always the case in business. Havas CEO Yannick Bollore has no desire to be the biggest holding company. In fact, he thinks Havas is perfectly sized. He says, "Havas has the ideal scale. We are the fittest group in the industry today and our size is the key to our current success." 

    And on his competitor's fixation with swelling to ever larger girth, Bollore adds, "It'll just make us slower. I do not want to be the biggest. This obsession is nonsense, and for what?" 

    What's that saying? "It's not the size that matter. It's how you use it."

    So take that Sorrell and Levy. Bigger is not always better. Especially when you're trying to hook up with...um...a smaller brand.
  • Mad Men's Jon Hamm Just Completed 30 Days of Alcohol Rehab

    Well -- this is sad, but it has a happy ending. Mad Men star Jon Hamm recently completed 30-day stint at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for alcohol addiction. One could joke about that mirroring his Mad Men character, Don Draper, but I'll leave that one alone.

    In a statement made by Hamm's publicist, Annett Wolf, Hamm has strong support from his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Westfeldt. Hamm checked into Silver Hill at the end of February.

    Hamm will make his final appearances as Don Draper as the remaining episodes of the last season of Mad Men kick off April 5.
  • Like A Car Dealer Screaming 'Come On Down!' This Agency Has Announced 'Limited Time Discounts'

    If there were anything an ad agency could do to further remove itself from trusted business partner and thrust itself ever deeper into insignificant vendor hell, it would be to actually put out a press release touting the fact that it's offering "a limited time promotion on all media packages."

    The release adds: "SEO SEM, infographics, animations, responsive websites, copywriting and PPC management are also included in this sales event."

    And in a supremely dumbed-down explanation of marketing that treats its audience like uninformed children, the release continues: "Advertising can be incredibly complex. Fortunately agency’s consultants can help streamline and simplify marketing efforts. A single campaign has many components, all of which must work together successfully for the plan to succeed."

    So if you need to be schooled on advertising or need "up to a 10% discount" on your next campaign, give a shout out to Eye to Ad Media  (http://www.eyetoad.com/) whose URL, oddly, spells "eye toad" -- bringing up an entirely different image than that of a professional ad agency.
  • AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Says Agencies Are All Talk And Little Action

    Speaking at the AAAA's Transformation Conference in Austin, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong isn't 100 percent happy with agencies delivering on all their hype about new methods of advertising. He gives them an A- for the talk and a Bi for execution. This, really, should be no surprise to anyone. At all. Agencies are masters in pontificating about the latest shiny new object, but when it comes to doing actual work -- well, not so much.

    In another observation of the obvious, Armstrong thinks agencies do a poor job marketing themselves, saying: "From a talent perspective, from a client perspective, from a media perspective, the ongoing discussion about ad agencies and what comes up in those marketplaces in general...very little of it talks about the value proposition. There's a lot of value getting driven here that will get you better talent, get you better clients."

    But despite his misgivings on agency value proposition, Armstrong still thinks marketers need agencies. He added: "The biggest misnomer that people seem to have in the agency business is this whole notion of whether or not you need an agency. The clients don't have the headcount to operationalize a lot of the stuff we just talked about in general. They'll hire their people, they'll get there, but right now they don't."

    Good news for agencies, perhaps.
  • Ooo! Ooo! Agency Launches New Web Site That Is 'Closely Aligned With Company's Vision' !!

    BREAKING! The Brandon Agency, an ad agency based in Myrtle Beach that provides "award-winning marketing communications programs and campaigns proven to drive client success has...wait for it...launched a new Web site (http://www.thebrandonagency.com/)! It's completely redesigned! And they are really proud of it. So let's all be proud right along with them.

    Of the new site and the agency's focus, The Brandon Agency CEO Scott Brandon gushed: “Here at The Brandon Agency, big thinking is king. Our new site showcases how we specialize in developing and executing ideas that are good for our clients’ business; big ideas that will produce growth for them, while at the same time providing accountability and measurement.”

    The whole new site/non-news element aside, the site does look quite good. It's clean, straightforward and uncluttered. None of that "we are so f*cking creative, we don't care if our site gives you a seizure of makes you feel like an incompetent idiot" nonsense. Nope, just clear and concise information.

    But wait, there's more! Brandon adds: “This is the first phase or our site redesign. We will be launching Phase 2 later in the year which includes a more in-depth look into our agency’s people and capabilities.”
  • Maurice Levy to Get Hip With David Guetta During Cannes Lions

    At this year's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy will take the stage with David Guetta, world-renowned French DJ Producer, for the Groupe's seminar which will explore innovation, creativity and the "zeitgeist of our industry today."

    The seminar is called "Making the Brand: Authenticity and Influence through Celebrity Endorsements" and will take place in the Grand Auditorium on Thursday, June 25 at 4:00 p.m. CET, at the Palais des Festivals.

    Guetta, as you may know, is a musician and marketer who has done his share of celebrity endorsements. From partnerships with brands like MUMM, Renault and most recently, TAG Heuer, to co-designing a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, and co-founding a specialized agency for celebrity marketing, My Love Affair, Guetta also just released a new album titled "Listen" with international artists including Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Sia, and others.

    Together with Levy, the two will discuss how celebrity endorsements have evolved from a simple play for buzz to a transformational creative role in marketing, advertising, and branding. Guetta will also give the audience an inside look at just how pivotal social media is in building relationships between artists and their audiences.

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