Show 68 – Cannes Lions 2018 Pt.2 – Marketing Trends

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The second of three episodes recorded at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018, recorded in the ICCO House of PR.  In this episode we looked at looked at some of the marketing trends being discussed at the event and we were joined by:

  1. Steve Ackerman, Managing Director, Somethin’Else; Giuseppe De Cristofano, Director of Digital, BRIT Awards & Janine Smith, Head of Digital, ITV
  2. Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO, WE Communications
  3. Debarshi Pandit, Head of Multicultural Business, Sky

Part 1 – Steve Ackerman, Giuseppe De Cristofano & Janine Smith

Our guests for this first interview were Steve Ackerman, Managing Director of content company Somethin’Else; Giuseppe De Cristofano, Director of Digital for the BRIT Awards and Janine Smith, Head of Digital at ITV, who looks after the digital aspects of some of the biggest shows on TV in the UK including ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, ‘Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’ and ‘Love Island’.  The three of them were at Cannes together presenting on the topic of ‘How brands can succeed on social media by learning from how entertainment companies do it’.

Chatting with Janine Smith, Steve Ackeman and Giuseppe De Cristofano

Russell Goldsmith (standing) chats with Janine Smith, Steve Ackerman (middle) and Giuseppe De Cristofano

Steve started by explaining that the challenge for brands working in the content space is to think and behave like a broadcaster and that it’s all about the mindset, focussing on their audience in terms of who they are trying to reach and how can they entertain them.  He said that brands therefore have to change from thinking of people as consumers and what you can sell them, to that of an audience and how to engage with them, which he added is at the heart of content.

Giuseppe explained that one of the first things they look at, is what platforms their audience is on and how are they consuming similar types of content and they will then tailor their content for that specific platform.  For example, their Snapchat content will be completely different to their Instagram content.

Janine added that it is also about making an emotional connection with the audience too.

Focussing on Love Island, Janine gave us an insight into the resource needed to keep the conversation flowing across the show’s digital channels, given the show is bigger than ever before.  For example, ITV have this year added a daily podcast to the assets they are producing, which is recorded every night after the show, using some of the show’s talent from previous years, and released the following morning.  There are also twelve commercial partners producing content either in London or on location in Majorca [where the show is filmed], plus ITV’s editorial team creating content for the website, social media and the show’s app.

Janine explained that this was in fact the first time ITV have produced a podcast for an entertainment show, having done so previously for sport, such as the Rugby and Football World Cups.  With it being positioned as a breakfast show, ‘Love Island, the morning after’ is sponsored by Kellogg’s.

[After we recorded our interview with Janine, as podcasts can be listened to at any time, we were intrigued to know if ITV measured when people were actually listening to the Love Island podcast given it was positioned as a breakfast show.  Janine said “We release the podcast every day in time for breakfast. It’s planned at a duration compatible to most commutes or while eating breakfast (20-25mins). Our hosting provider, acast, give us data which support the peak audience around that time, with a second peak in the evening before and after the episode.  We chose to do a morning podcast before Kelloggs were in the picture as we noticed that we were getting a lot of traffic to our app in the mornings last year, however there wasn’t a lot of new content published overnight. We wanted to give this audience something new and exciting to capture this morning demand. Luckily this was appealing to Kelloggs who got on board and made it happen.”]

The podcast has been a real success for ITV and at the time of recording this podcast, was No.1 in the iTunes chart.

The BRITS has a different challenge to Love Island, as its awards show is only on TV for the one night, compared to Love Island that is on every night, bar Saturdays’ for eight weeks!  Giuseppe said that they start their build up in the December before the awards [which take place in February], announcing nominations in January, which he said is a big moment for them on social media.  However, he explained that they use social media all year round to talk about British Music and British Artists, which is what the BRITS is there to promote globally, which he said that digital platforms allow them to reach and scale, something they couldn’t have achieved ten/fifteen years ago, when it was more of a UK focussed event.

Giuseppe added that The BRITS has been live streamed on YouTube for the past five years, which has seem them grow an audience outside of the UK of 1.5m of viewers watching at that time, enabling them to promote new artists to a global audience of fans of established acts such as Ed Sheeran.

Steve explained that the role of his agency in projects like these, where they are helping produce content for the social media channels, particularly in the case of ITV, is to be embedded in their client’s team, with members of their team either on location or based in their client’s offices.  With the BRITS, he said the team builds in size in the lead up to the event, where on the night, it transforms into a live social media news room.  For example, at the 2018 BRITS awards, Somethin’Else had 150 people working at the event, producing content of a high quality to ensure that the BRITS are at the heart of the conversation, given so many other people are creating content around it.

Giuseppe said that another key pillar of The BRITS content strategy, which worked really well for them, was using ‘influencers’ from different verticals outside of music, such as Instagrammers who focus on food or comedy, that helped bring in a slightly different audience, which the BRITS wasn’t touching as often as they had hoped.

Janine explained that ITV also use YouTubers in their content strategy, giving the example of how they extend the segment in ‘Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away’ of ‘Ant vs Dec’, the part of the show where the hosts take on various challenges each week, to ‘Ant & Dec vs Youtubers’.  She said that for the last three years they have brought in different YouTubers to take part in different challenges with Ant & Dec each week, which then gets used on the influencers’ platforms as well as those of Ant & Dec, with the aim of reaching a different audience in a new way.


Part 2 – Melissa Waggener Zorkin

Starts at 12:05

In the second interview of this episode, we spoke with Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO of WE Communications about the role of purpose in business, her views on the recent #SpyCops campaign from Lush, WE Communications’ ‘Brands In Motion’ study and the five lessons that having a purpose has taught her.

Melissa Waggener Zorkin

Chatting with Melissa Waggener Zorkin

Business Purpose

Melissa said that when she founded what was the Waggener Group [now WE Communications], she wanted to use communications for good, to tell stories that would move people to action, which she summed up as ‘Less Talk, More Doing’.  She added that being independent as an agency allows them to stay purpose driven, but that their saleability comes from teaching and counselling their clients to become purpose driven too.   She said that those purpose driven principles have led her company to have to turn down certain clients along the way, or to take the difficult consequence of losing revenue and resigning from a client account if that client takes a certain direction that her company doesn’t believe in.  This has also been the case with people too – Melissa said that if you have an executive that steps out of line from the values you believe in, you do have to take action, which also would lead to consequences for the business.

Melissa said that many brands are now are having their marketing people come in and say that “these are the statistics that say that doing good will help our bottom line”, but she added that it is a hard road to take for a CEO who has not lived that reality for a long time, but that this is the way that industry is heading.

Lush’s #spycops campaign

We also asked Melissa her thoughts on the #SpyCops campaign from the UK arm of cosmetics brand Lush, with their #SpyCops campaign

In the above video that Lush released via social media, we see a woman sharing a meal at home with a man who appears to be her boyfriend, who holds her hand and tells her he loves her, but the video then cuts to the two of them in a police interview room, where it turns out that the man is actually an undercover cop who has brought her in for questioning because she is an activist.

Lush tweeted: “Undercover police officers have infiltrated the lives, homes and beds of activists since 1968. They say their roles were to infiltrate political groups and collect ‘intelligence’ about planned demonstrations and the individuals involved. An Undercover Policing Inquiry is taking place, but many campaigners have a complete lack of confidence in the public Inquiry’s approach. We’re standing with them to put pressure on the UK government to make the Inquiry more effective, and we’re asking you to join us.”

Lush then added:

“This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed.”

As we understand, Lush has openly supported activism as its purpose, but was taking on the British Police Force a step too far?

Melissa’s responded by asking whoever said that standing up for something is easy, and that when you do stand up for something, you are bound not to have 100% of the people join you.  She didn’t comment on whether they did the right thing, but what she did say is that as a company, Lush is a ‘poster child’ for standing up to stand out because since starting the business, they have always been fiercely independent and have made choices that have consequences.  She said that a brand should always stand up and it would not make her afraid to go into any CEO and ask what they stand for.  She added that when you are an activist, you are bound to make errors, and all that matters, is that you pick yourself up and do it again the next day, listen to people, and if you are wrong, quickly say you were wrong.  For Melissa, this all signals a new era of CEOs who are willing to take that input be courageous, realise what they were doing wasn’t the right thing and make the statement of going in a different direction.

Brands in Motion

WE Communications Researched six markets (Australia, China, Germany, South Africa and the UK) for their Brands in Motion study, surveying over 3,000 consumers and 1,000 B2B decision-makers in each market.  They looked at brands across eight categories, focusing on rational drivers (e.g. quality, necessary etc) and emotional drivers (e.g. customer experience, social impact etc).

Within the report, WE Communications outlines four realities for brands:

  1. Stability is an element of motion. Even in times of rapid upheaval, consumers believe that a brand can provide stability
  2. Cutting-edge is transcendent. Being cutting-edge — whether enabled by technology or inspired by it — leads to positive brand outcomes in areas that transcend product.
  3. The Unilever effect – Consumers expect a company to deliver highly effective, high-functional products and services, AND be active on issues that are important to their customers — ultimately, providing long-term social value
  4. Love you today, shame you tomorrow. Out of 40 scenarios within 8 industry categories in 6 markets, 54% of the people said they LOVED the industry. Yet 98% said that if a brand steps out of line, they would gladly shame them.

Melissa explained that the study acknowledges the fact that nothing is static around you and so you need to figure out how to move the right way in that environment of motion.  She said it’s more difficult to move steadily with the right purpose at your heart and in a way that your customers can count on and not be swayed by all the turmoil around you.  WE Communications are therefore using the findings to council their clients as to what to do in the environment within which they do their work

Melissa said that a number of campaigns being discussed at Cannes Lions reflected the Study’s findings – campaigns that, as she said “are pivoting their innovation to really help society and match the world’s thorniest problems.”

Melissa’s five lessons learned from having a purpose

  1. Celebrate disruption, don’t fear it and instead embrace it, see what you can do with it and make your own disruption.
  2. Put people first. People will follow you if you tell them what’s in it for them and if they know there is a clarity and energy around purpose, which is where we should always start our businesses.
  3. Build the epic, not the episode – think about the long game, the why and what we’re building, not just what happens to us on an individual daily basis.
  4. Find stability in brands in motion – realise that you have a firm ground in which you are standing and then others will follow you.
  5. Co-create – we cant do it all ourselves – reach out to like minded partners to help achieve your goals

Part 3 – Debarshi Pandit

Starts at 26:28

For our final interview of this episode, we were joined by Debarshi Pandit, Head of Multicultural Business at Sky, who was at Cannes to present a session about what he believes is a unique and overlooked audience when it comes to advertising, that of the millions of global immigrants who consume media from their country of origin in their now country of residence.


Debarshi Pandit

Chatting with Debarshi Pandit

According to Debarshi there are 240m global immigrants living outside of their country of origin, contributing 10% of global GDP.

Using himself as an example, Debarshi explained that, as someone born in India, as well as watching the mainstream TV channels broadcasting in the UK and across Sky, he also watches a lot of content that originated in India, for example, Bollywood films or some of the Indian news channels.  He calls this dual media behaviour.

Debarshi doesn’t believe marketers are taking advantage of the opportunities that understanding this behaviour brings them.  Whether agency or client side, whilst people say they are global, he doesn’t think they necessarily apply a layer of thinking as to how a successful campaign can be run for a particular audience in the overseas markets and they are myopic in their view.

Debarshi shared one successful example of a brand that has taken on board this thinking, which was for British Airways (BA), through Ogilvy and Mather.  He explained that the aim of the BA campaign, called ‘Visit Mum’ was to grow the transatlantic sector, which was growing at just 0.3%.  Whilst most people might think of that as being London to New York or LA, this campaign targeted Indian ex-patriots and students who live outside of India but commute to the US on a regular basis.  This, for Debarshi, was fascinating as it was still growing the transatlantic sector because the flight originates from Mumbai and stops over at Heathrow.

Debarshi said that the result of this campaign was that BA grew its market share of this sector by over 50%, generating £22m of incremental sales growth by just reaching out to this Indian expatriate audience.

Debarshi also spoke to us about Sky’s addressable TV offering, Sky Ad-Smart, which he explained is based on 1200 different attributes that allows Sky to show different ads to different viewers who have agreed to receive targeted communications.  This enables Sky to target people on their cultural viewing, serving them culturally relevant ads but through mainstream channels.  He gave examples of work they have done for Asda, running a special Ramadan campaign to, as he described, South Asian homes, whilst the non-South Asian homes received an alternative advert.

Of course, there is also the opportunity to be relevant with linear adverts running on mainstream channels too and Debarshi gave the example of how he ran the first ever Hindi campaign on Sky Sports during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket programme because 41% of the IPL viewership on Sky Sports linear was coming from an Indian background, according to Sky’s reports.


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