Every year ad executives flock to the south of France to eat caviar, "socialize" and wait to win the Cannes Lions creative award. This year it went to … well, it doesn't matter because the spot probably didn't sell much product anyway.
It would be impossible to spend more money for a retreat and awards ceremony than Cannes. This year, Publicis' CEO made a stunning announcement during the middle of the event: He was not coming back! He is trying to sell the idea of withdrawing from Cannes to his 200 top chiefs. And he's right. While his peers are in Cannes, his clients' customers are here.
Whenever I meet with brand execs, digital experts and ad agency savants I am always struck by the vast distance between their perspective and the POV of their clients' customers. Consumers have priorities not found in pivots or paradigm shifts.
A majority of potential customers, for most products, care about food, clothing, shelter, their children's well-being and trying very hard to keep their cell phones turned on. 49% of Americans say they will not take a vacation this year primarily because they can't afford it. Only one out of nine employers offer paid vacations. One out of five, 20% of your friends and neighbors are on food stamps. The biggest employer of employees on food stamps is WalMart.
Most products are left in the shopping cart online because the brand didn't offer free shipping.
The commercials that always win awards are never the ones that sell the most product; they are the ones that further distance a product from the sensibilities and primary needs of customers. Bravo, CEO Sadoun! I hope your company never wastes money on Cannes again.
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