The PR World At Cannes 2015

Written by Arun Sudhaman


PR industry presence is more visible than ever, seven years after the Festival launched the PR Lions category.

2015 marks the seventh edition of the Cannes PR Lions, which will age anyone who remembers the first instalment in 2009 — a rainy recession-hit week that featured Lord Bell as PR jury chair and a Grand Prix for Tourism Queensland’s iconic ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign.

A lot, of course, can change in seven years, even if Cannes’ ability to draw huge crowds and generate eye-catching revenues remains reasssuringly constant. As one of the few to make the trek in 2009, I can vouch for how the the PR industry’s presence has grown considerably since then. Indeed, I have been to every Cannes since, and we have charted the PR world’s emergence at Cannes in some detail.

That will continue this year at our dedicated Cannes section, where you can already watch an interesting video with Cannes Lions CEO Phil Thomas, exploring the Festival’s evolution and his tips for work that will win.

You will also find plenty on the themes that continue to resonate at Cannes, particularly from a public relations perspective. In 2014, for example, Paul Holmes penned an authoritative analysis of why PR firms have struggled to win top honours in the awards category that bears its name. It is an issue that, hopefully, has begun to recede, as the PR industry stakes its claim for greater marketing relevance, bigger budgets, and more creative talent.

Part of that quandary, of course, involves actually showing up in front of the droves of senior marketers that decamp to the Croissette every year. Many of you, with some justification, probably still view Cannes as a giant boondoggle. Yet there must be some value in demonstrating that public relations people are ready to play a more central brand-building role in today’s converged media environment, and compete for the talent and budgets that can make this happen.

It is an argument that the PR world appears to have bought into, judging by the industry’s heightened presence throughout the week. In addition to the PR Lions itself, this means there are now numerous ‘fringe’ events involving PR firms and senior marketers, a couple of which the Holmes Report is involved in. And ICCO has this year created the PR industry’s first physical presence at Cannes, via its House of PR venue.

In terms of the official Cannes programme, meanwhile, here are some key events that include PR industry involvement:

Hosted by Citizen and Bacardi

Hosted by Ketchum Sounds
Hosted by Richard Edelman and Jamie Oliver

Hosted by BlueCurrent Japan

Hosted by Flamingo

Of course, boundaries are blurring so rapidly that most Cannes sessions, in reality, will involve some sort of meditation on classic PR themes such as storytelling, earned media and authencity. Still, it’s safe to say that the PR world has well and truly arrived on the Croissette. See you there.

Original Article from Holmes Report

What Does Success Look Like?


The UK’s Young PR Lions, Helen Wood and Rachel Matovu, share their highs and lows from Cannes Lions.

This is a question we hear from clients and colleagues on a near daily basis in the PR world. From coverage targets and social media metrics, to driving forward brand preference and changing behaviour; we are constantly measuring our work against the goals we set ourselves.

Being picked as the UK team for this year’s Young PR Lions in Cannes got us thinking a lot about this same question in the context of our own quest for success. It started with the goal of being shortlisted by the PRCA to present our campaign, which was followed by a huge sense of elation at being chosen to represent the UK at Cannes. We at first had succeeded in our ambition to respond to the brief and craft a campaign that we were proud of, and then in realising the even greater ambition to make it to Cannes.

In Cannes, we were in the midst of the competition again with the same ambition to win the gold medal. With 12 hours to turn around a charity brief and a pitch to deliver the very next day, the adrenaline was peaking. When the results were revealed only a few hours later, and we didn’t get awarded a medal, we were not only thoroughly disappointed, but somewhat embarrassed to tell our colleagues who had so much enthusiasm and pride for us. It’s so easy to let an apparent failure make you reassess your abilities and question your process. Both of us like to keep things light hearted and resorted to joking about the awards as though it was no big deal, but the truth was that keeping in mind the journey of our destination is essential to stay on course.

However, success comes in many forms, and with the support of our colleagues and friends, we faced our apparent setback and dragged ourselves into reality. We were at the centre of the most influential event in our industry, had access to the some of the most exciting and current conversations and were soaking it all up. We had momentum and we were riding it and would continue to use this experience as a step in our careers.

Our Director of Social, Candace Kuss, recently did a talk at one of Google’s firestarters events where she revealed how her own career and life unfolded; how she always wanted to  move to London from California but the path she ended up taking wasn’t the one she expected. Hearing Candace’s story we realised the difference between short terms goals and long term dreams.

Listening to a talk from the Sky cycling team yesterday we were intrigued to hear how they make minute changes in their processes to better their performance – these are short terms goals, and some of them may not work out but the bigger dream they are hoping to realise is to win the Tour de France. This was preceded by Jamie Oliver, who spoke passionately about his fight to eliminate unhealthy food from the family table. He surely must have some goals he needs to hit along the way – views on his FoodTube channel, sales of his book, getting funding for his next documentary. But all of these are steps towards a greater ambition, one which might not even be realised in his lifetime.

Having a one to one with Jamie unfortunately wasn’t an option, but we did enjoy a drink with the Young PR Lions winners from Sweden, who told us the story of how they had competed last year and not “succeeded”. They came back this year with plenty of learnings and an even greater determination to win.

The great thing about Cannes is that you don’t know where it might take you. It’s really all about incremental success and if you are happy with your choices and how it has contributed to either making your goals more of a reality or solidifying your own identity then your overall confidence will grow.  We also believe it’s also not always about you as an individual, as sometimes watching the success of other people is as rewarding as having your own wins. It’s concrete evidence of what is possible and keeps you on course to reach for the same results.

Right now our goal is to enjoy the rest of the week, share in the success of others and learn as much as we can. We are extremely privileged to take the learnings of such an inspiring crowd of people and apply it to our own work.

Original Article from Homles Report.