Cannes: Absence aids perspective

By Damian Blackden, chief strategy officer at Maxus

It’s always good to have a sense of perspective. And Cannes is a great place to lose it.

I’ll be heading back there after a three year absence on the 22nd. We’ve chosen to represent Maxus with a mixture of our Young Guns (some of our brightest talent) with our Establishment (that’s mainly older people like me). We’ll be comparing our very different perspectives on the festival and the work through the week as it all unfolds.

All of our attendees would seem to share some of the attributes that have powered our growth in recent years: entrepreneurship and agility.

The very same attributes are required when working for a start-up, which is what I did since late 2012, and it’ll be interesting to draw some comparisons with Cannes week this time around.Cash flow and effective resource allocation are fundamental to start ups’ survival. Lunch for 4 at Le Caveau 30 will buy a developer for a month; a medium sized round at the Carlton will pay for a small client’s server requirements for a week, and dinner for 6 at Le Petite Maison de Nicole will cost the same as a month’s PPC activity in one market.

But that doesn’t mean that Cannes is an irrelevant indulgence. Far from it in fact. Creativity is the reason so many of us joined this industry in the first place. It’s no coincidence that the Film Festival is held in the same location. Advertising remains cool, even if some of us are a bit geeky these days.

More immediately, consumer and marketing technologies are opening up interesting new opportunities to keep creativity at the fore, by providing the continued means to make brands more compelling and relevant to consumers’ lives.

We all know about the programmatic revolution that’s taking place right now, and we see consumers’ ongoing love affair with their smartphones deepen every day.  It’s simply not possible to unlock the marketing opportunity each delivers, and build emotional connections with consumers without the kind of intense creativity that I’m expecting to see in evidence in Cannes.

The pace of transformation means that much will have changed these past 36 months, and I’m looking forward to embracing that as we celebrate and analyse the very best examples of innovation when we’re there. And I suspect my previous long nights producing software in a room full of developers will help provide me with a healthy sense of perspective to it all.

This post originally appeared on Campaign Live.

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