A Cheat's Guide To Sounding Smart On The Croisette
So Guys – here are my must reads/watch/hears before Cannes 2016.
These are things that have managed to make sense of the epic changes going on in the industry in ways that are articulate, insightful or engaging (sometimes all three!). And others are things you need to know about even if you don’t actually read them – because everyone in Cannes will be replaying the ideas contained below in their apres-Palais chat, whether they realise it or not.
You don’t have to agree with everything they say (God knows I don’t) – but you should know about them:
How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp – because whether you agree with it or not Sharp-ism is starting to take over the boardrooms of the people that ultimately pay for the whole Cannes party – the clients.
Madison Avenue Manslaughter by Michael Farmer – if there is a sharper account of the ways in which ad agency bosses have been asleep at the wheel for the past 20 years, I’ve yet to see it. I spent a few hours with Mr Farmer over lunch a few months back – charming, wise and he might just have the solution the future for agencies – I hope they listen to him.
General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Sam Hinkie’s resignation letter to the Philadelphia 76ers is a wonderful articulation of the power of Zigging while others Zag (and ultimately why managing change so often fails to succeed) – full credit to Noah Briar for turning me on to this – as a Brit I was unaware of Hinkie and his work.
Machine Zone’s Gabe Leydon at Recode– one client tells media agencies some home truths. Watching this for the first time in May this year made my ex-client hairs stand up on the back of my neck. He’s dead right – it will only take a few clients to start calling out the opacity in media buying for the cards to come falling down. Maybe.
How the Mad Men lost the plot – FT Magazine. Come on Guys – This is sooo last year but still well worth a read if you haven’t managed to catch up with it yet. Puts into straightforward language the changing dynamics and accompanying pressures in the industry.
State of the Digital Nation 2016 by UsTwo’s Jules Ehrhardt. Another lovely long read to get lost in reco’d to me by the lovely Justin Booth-Clibborn from production company Psyop. In some ways this is the new FT Mag article that everyone is sending round to each other, only this is much more pointed about the challenge ahead of Agencies as they try and find their future place in the digital product world.
“All in all the evidence points towards an Ad agency having as much experience in building businesses or digital products as chimpanzees do in space travel. Yes, chimpanzees have been in space, but that doesn’t mean you should let them fly the spaceship.”
And finally – There are very few brand challenges I have wrestled with which have not already been addressed far more eloquently and with a great deal more…well, Class by Mr Jeremy Bullmore – arguably WPP’s greatest gift to the industry. Lots and lots to get your teeth into here, and all of it absolute gold.
Finally for a little provocation to throw into your Carlton Terrace convos why not casually say,
“ Don’t be surprised if Google/Facebook start buying up WPP creative agencies in the coming years. Sorrell probably wouldn’t miss them…”
How people react to this statement will give plenty of insight into their view of the industry right now.
That’s it – to read my own view of Creativity and the leadership it takes to get it head over to my ‘memo to clients for the creative year ahead’ which still seems to getting a lot of views – click the pic below:
By Arif Haq | Senior Strategist & Creative Capabilities Lead at Contagious Communications.