Mumbai: As the world’s most prestigious annual advertising awards show kicks off in Cannes, the picturesque beaches, restaurants, cafés and boutiques on waterfront avenue La Croisette are buzzing with visitors. The sprawling awards venue, the Palais des Festivals, has opened, with some 12,000 visitors from advertising and allied industries expected to descend on the French beachside playground this year. And the globe’s demigods in advertising, marketing and media are steadily converging at the creative altar of Cannes Lions 2008, the 55th International Advertising Festival, 15-21 June.
It’s time for tears and triumph, agency galas and musical extravaganzas. Legendary American singer Tony Bennett should be the headline act at Grey New York’s second annual music seminar this Wednesday. Everyone’s also waiting for the media moghul, Rupert Murdoch, who will be speaking at Cannes.
Nick Piggot, head of creative technology, GCap Media Plc., says digital radio has the potential to be built into any gadget (Photo by: Anushree Chandran / Mint)
Expect some soul-stirring advertising too at Cannes 2008: over 28,000 ads from 85 countries and across 10 sections will be showcased and judged in the week ahead, a 10.2% increase in entries from last year. And winning companies/agencies will receive the highly coveted Lion trophy, honouring the most creative work in film, press, outdoor, direct, media, cyber, radio, promo and design, while the festival’s most sought-after Titanium and Integrated Lions will honour breakthrough and integrated ideas. The India delegation is hoping for its pride of Lions, especially for the one that’s eluded the country till date, a Film Lion, and a Titanium.
The next big thing
Brain food will form part of the Cannes 2008 banquet. Technology/digital is the big theme playing at Cannes Lions 2008 with various sessions dedicated to converging technologies and how advertisers can grapple with them. For the new-age advertiser, it does seem that anything’s possible on digital radio, whether it is opportunities where advertisers can take over a radio station for an entire weekend or a bonafide radio station (Verizon HD radio station owned by Verizon Wireless).
An opening day seminar on Digital Radio: Turning Creatives into DJ’s’ saw Steve James, head of advertising and marketing, Commercial Radio Australia; Ralph van Dijk, co-founder, creative Director, Eardrum UK and Australia; Nick Piggot, head of creative technology at GCap Media Plc., talking about innovative branding opportunities for advertisers on digital radio.
Digital radio stations are able to broadcast several “streams” simultaneously (it offers a multimedia experience whether online, streaming, or even podcasts) and will be the vehicle for the new age advertiser. James of Commercial Radio Australia said, “As per a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global media and entertainment market will be $2.6 trillion by 2011, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.4%. For radio in isolation, it will be 6.5% CAGR by 2011 and a good part of it will come from digital radio.” He added that as content would become accessible across multiple platforms, there would be a lot of “bells and whistles” for digital radio.
Piggot said that digitization should be used to update radio-enabled gadgets because the young are attracted by funky gizmos. He then showcased dream gadgets of the future which will club similar radio stations for users, beam images that go along with an audio broadcast and will lead digital and online radio to converge. “Digital radio can be built into anything (any gadget). What’s needed is the consumer demand. They need to ask if its digital-enabled and for that, there must be awareness and interest generated,” he said. There is no doubt in Piggot’s mind that in time analog will be outdated.
“In terms of spectrum, analog is not reliable in the quality of coverage that you get. When everything else is going digital (digital television, Internet distribution), it becomes increasingly hard to incorporate analog technology in new-age digital devices.”
Van Dijk of Eardrum said digital radio offers innovative options for advertisers. Branded entertainment is a lot cheaper on this medium. For example, a live radio show such as Nescafe Red Mug comes at a far more reasonable value. He said the medium, extremely flexible, can offer on- demand podcasts, pod-vertorials and sponsorships as opportunities for advertisers.
“There are examples of advertisers who have done innovative things with digital radio. Mastercard and Orange do ads within Podcasts, John Lewis extended its shoppers’ guide via digital radio, Bose created advertorials (programming) for digital radio. Ford Galaxy had stars come in and narrate fairy tales on a radio station,” he said.
Piggot added that in the UK, 10% of radio revenues can be attributed to digital stations. The US and Denmark could be the markets that will pick up next on digital radio, he added.
Piggot said a third of the UK households have radio sets. “We sell around 7 million radios. The trick is to put the right radios (digitally enabled) in the right shops and enable people to buy them,” he said.
CATCHING THE FESTIVAL BUZZ
As a sign perhaps that the future is all about digital, Craig Davis, film and press juries president and creative boss at JWT Worldwide, has created a viral ad on YouTube that offers advice—and entertainment— to Lions first-timers and fellow jurors. “Great ideas can come from anywhere, but can also be overwhelming,” Davis said in the 84-second commercial. His tips: Trust your instincts and judge with your heart. An ad that inspires envy is worth a Bronze, jealousy equals Silver and humility is Gold, he says. And as sign-off: Big ideas can make anyone feel small.
Festival CEO Philip Thomas announced new developments for the Cannes 2008 edition. A new awards category, Design, will bring the number of categories to 10. The workshop programme will include among other possibilities, media workshops. The 2008 festival has also developed the new Content Showcase, on Level 01 of the Palais close to the press and exhibition areas. And yes, young creatives can meet and learn at the new Young Lions Zone.
Nokia, an official sponsor of Cannes Lions, has created its own film competition for ad professionals under the age of 29, says a MediaPost article. For the Young Lions Film Competition, Nokia will provide each team in the film segment an Nseries handset to shoot its entry. The handset maker will collect the footage to produce regular video blogs highlighting teams in action at nseries.com/cannes, says the post.
Art and heart, both are celebrated in Cannes 2008. Each year, Fireflies riders travel 1,000km across the Alps from Geneva to Cannes raising money for Leuka, a charity established to support a research and treatment unit for leukaemia. This year’s ride—the 8th annual Fireflies Bicycle Ride for Leuka—was flagged off on 10 June and reaches the festival on 18 June. Like all things Cannes, its ambitions are grand: to raise about £260,000.
Festival buzz compiled by Marion Arathoon