IPA Director of Comms Tessa Gooding reports back from Cannes where top industry figures discussed the future of advertising on La Croisette.
As part of the Cannes conversation this year, we partnered with the 4A's to debate the future needs of the business and presented the topline findings from our work with the Future Foundation which will be premiered in London next week.
Held under serene blue skies on La Croisette the lunchtime rooftop event provoked several important points from the assembled speakers including Tom Knox, Paul Bainsfair, Nancy Hill, Meabh Quoirin, Paul Feldwick, Gaston Legorburu and Lindsay Pattison.
Before the debate, Maebh gave attendees a preview of the report that outlines what kinds of agencies will thrive in the future. Usefully it provides the industry three key rules on how to survive and gives CMOs six imperatives around the changing shape of marketing. The report is also visionary in unveiling four future agency models.
Tom, as IPA President, spoke about the gap between what clients and agencies want, and the need to collaborate more with a strong emphasis on diversity and how it can benefit the industry.
As an agency head, he also stressed the importance of avoiding silos, that the industry needed to pay attention to the rise of ad blocking and to tread the line carefully between how brands project themselves to consumers as many " just do not want to be buddies with them."
It was interesting to hear Tom reference fellow speaker Gaston's agency SapientNitro, who have adapted to the new digital world and won big business like the BA account on the back of it.
Gaston himself was quick to raise the point that the industry needs to work out better how to connect people to brands and drive behaviours. He asserted that it will be the agency folk who don't have biases that would be the ones who will succeed in future. Or as he more eloquently declared it, “be Merlin to the King!”
At this point, Paul Feldwick asked the intelligent and appropriate question about “how do we follow the money?”
Gaston went on to outline why he thinks the Merlin position creates value, which the clients are happy to pay for. He said it was the tech and marketing budget lines that are colliding.
He also added business models are becoming disrupted, and he identified your need to have the three H's embedded in your agency to thrive - the Hustler, the Hacker and the Hipster.
Finishing off, Gaston revealed that clients are as confused as the agencies. There is an intrinsic need to understand the recipe for success, and too much of one ingredient is not good for either side.
As CEO of Maxus, Lindsay spoke on the client angle by affirming there is a need to reinvent the model with more risk involved.
She proclaimed that getting clients to pay for strategy is hard. Can we learn to fail fast like Google? Should we spend 10% on risk? Yes, she pronounced! Failure is not an option at WPP. And they need to maybe rethink this culture.
Another fascinating point as the session drew to a close centered on Lindsay and the mobile problem as cookies don't work on them. We don't always know who we are talking to. Therefore, we need to connect the dots better.
If you have been inspired by today's Cannes panel points, click here to join us on Monday June 29th at 44 Belgrave Square. As we launch the IPA and Future Foundation report 'The Future of Marketing and Agencies - The next 10 years for consumer engagement'.
Last updated 25/06/2015