MediaGuru.cz interviewed PHD Prague’s Pavel Galík and Petr Miláček on their impressions of their time in Cannes.
What interested you most from the Cannes lectures?
Pavel Galík: The most important development for me was the overall development. Since PHD has allowed me to be on the Cannes Lions Festival several times in succession, I have had a unique opportunity to see the transformation of our industry in time. It came to me that while the themes of the previous years were revolving around marketing buzzwords, technologies and corporate self-esteem, this year Cannes was highly introspective. On the stage, the frank self-reflection of the agencies, which openly admitted that they had become machines – machines that have adapted so much to the rationality of tactical assignment requirements that they are no longer able to produce interesting creative work.
Although it might be odd, it’s great news for me. Never before was the festival so much honesty and willingness to discuss. It gives me the optimism that discussions of this type will gradually reach our local market.
Petr Miláček: I was definitely interested in the performance of Martin Sorrell. He said he was sceptical about the number of media holdings in their current form and is convinced that their consolidation will gradually come to an end. It would also contribute to a recession in the coming years 2019 or 2020. Sorrell was not the only one to comment on the ongoing change in the communications agencies market. Large contractors such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble are looking for a functional link between the best talents across communication groups, and they enforce the establishment of cross-agency agencies with staff from two or three agencies, regardless of the holding they are coming from. However, the question remains how to set up rewards in this new cluster.
What trends in advertising do you think this year’s festival has shown?
Petr Miláček: After all that we have seen, I felt the maximum pressure on creativity, efficiency, saving, and especially growth. And this hunger was seen across all the contributions – whether it is creativity, authenticity, brand purpose, neuroscience, diversity, positive atmosphere, emotions, influencers, data, artificial intelligence, robots, or eSports. The goal is to find your opportunity and to enshrine.
Pavel Galík: As Petr says, there really were a lot of trends here. For me personally, the strongest and most visible trend was the total dissatisfaction of the obsession with digital technology. It was interesting to hear that while the vast majority of our industry meetings are about digital disciplines, personalisation, and data platforms, these incremental innovations tend to lead to very small business growth. Significant gains arise from innovation focusing on human needs, emotions, and solutions to their distress.
The second most interesting theme for me was the subject of culture. A client can build any expertise in-house, but what he cannot do is build another type of culture.
What would you like to use from the ideas you picked at Cannes in your work?
Pavel Galík: I believe the energy that PHD expends working on culture is meaningful and an important part of the future business of the agency.
With clients, I take the desire to move away from the tactical machinery of the digital environment and look for innovations that have the potential to deliver significantly greater efficiency than the original brief.
Petr Miláček: One idea that really attracted me was athletes and general influencers. Nowadays, there is a lot of effort and desire to use celebrity advertisements, often with the only criteria – that the bigger the celebrity, the better. The aim should, however, be to seek out an ambassador, according to the values with which the brand, our company and the celebrity associate. If there is a match, that’s it. If not, people misunderstand very easily and the link does not work.
When looking at the competition part of the festival, what campaign did you really get?
Petr Miláček: I enjoyed the campaign “Dilly Dilly,” from Wieden + Kennedy New York for Bud Light. It started with a teaser and, like the older “Wassup!” campaign; it managed to make the announcement of “Dilly Dilly” bewildering. To a world full of negativity and seriousness the campaign was able to bring fun, a bit of nonsense, stupidity and jokes. The first spot was broadcast when the last season of Game of Thrones culminated. Backed up on social networks, meme creation and user content, “Dilly Dilly” IPA beer was created.
Pavel Galík: The most interesting campaign was paradoxically the most simple one – an apologetic KFC advert. The amount of people willing to communicate on the edge is generally low. What KFC did in crisis communication was so powerful to me. Ask yourself, would you be willing to suggest the concept of an apologetic FCK logo in the KFC colours and logo in the newspaper ad? I think the campaign was successful with consumers, especially because many companies have not been able to make fun of themselves for a long time. KFC absolutely bulldozed through this barrier.