I am in Cannes, fuelled on rosé and four hours of sleep determined to bring you the latest intel.
The Age of Sonic Branding is Here
Voice is everything. Keyboards will be disappearing, and by 2020 the vast majority of search will be done via AI voice assistants. What an incredible opportunity for sonic branding. But here’s to hoping that they improve the quality of comprehension by then. I can’t tell you how many times my Siri has gone off on a wild goose chase.
The Death of Masculinity
Masculinity is under siege. Fewer men are earning degrees or starting businesses. Male suicide is at all-time high. Boys are struggling to understand their role, and what it means to be a man. It is a time of cultural transformation, and brands like Axe are stepping up to the plate by tackling “toxic” masculinity and helping to redefine it.
Superwoman and Bad Ass Kick Ass
Lilly Singh, Bozama “Bad Ass” Saint John (formerly of Uber) and Steph McMahon led an incredible session that underscored the need to build spaces for yourself, when there is no path to follow. Singh sang the virtues of the web’s upload button vs. Hollywood’s gatekeepers and their racial tokenism. BTW, if you don’t know Torontonian Lilly you should. Look her up. Right now.
Democracy Under Fire
BBC’s debate today again shone a light on our collective wringing of the hands over the American political landscape. As well as our worries about AI and what it means to future employment. Oddly enough the audience’s voting during the debate showed that we think things are tickety-boo when it comes to the environment – which stuns me.
Spent a wonderful hour with Crimson Hexagon learning how to make it a CD’s secret weapon. I guess it’s not a secret now.
I’m Laughing at You
Cannes is notorious for weird random groupings for panels. Today’s session with Conan O’Brien and Shaq O’Neal, lead by CNN’s Chris Cuomo reminded us of the remarkable power of humour to create a brand. Not to put too fine a point on it but Shaq says his brand is 70% funny, and never mean. Conan’s hallmark is self-deprecation – and hand freckles. His life’s mission is to create something iconic that is funny ten years from now, like the Pink Panther.
Humour has ebbed away from advertising of late. So…food for thought.
Be an Agent of Change
The day closed out with one of my heroes on stage: Madonna Badger of #womennotobjects fame. I believe she laid the foundation for the #metoo movement here in Cannes three years ago. Joined on stage by P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Queen Latifah and Katie Couric, it was a rallying cry to be agents of change. When you create equality-conscious work you help shape society. Which leads me to this question: when is someone going to get through to those who create the most sexist dreck around: music videos.
Gallery of Awesome: