What’s the big idea?

On the cover this issue we played with the new It trend in TV - the third screen, using Ruby Gloom, a new YTV series, to illustrate the anytime, anywhere deployment strategy the nets are pursuing to catch consumers with VOD and mobile content. I've witnessed how teens consume media, and it is definitely more on their terms than a static TV grid dictating their time.

On the cover this issue we played with the new It trend in TV – the third screen, using Ruby Gloom, a new YTV series, to illustrate the anytime, anywhere deployment strategy the nets are pursuing to catch consumers with VOD and mobile content. I’ve witnessed how teens consume media, and it is definitely more on their terms than a static TV grid dictating their time.

This growing recognition of the need to invest more effort into catching the consumer’s attention whenever you can – and how they’re responding to all the new outreach – is largely the reason media is a hot topic. It’s also why the exhibition of ambient media, and the level of innovation in this field was the hot chatter among execs at the ad fest in Cannes.

While checking out the work in these categories at Cannes, it struck me that for it to quickly resonate, you either had to know or care about the brand to begin with. Some people might pursue a cryptic image popping up in odd places, or ponder mysterious virals, but in a very untrendy observation, I dare to question whether making an emotional connection gets lost in some of the very leading edge new media efforts. In terms of the emerging digital media toolkit, there’s a storytelling craft learning curve that has just begun. And so far the focus has often been more about upping traditional efforts than creating a medium-specific big idea, or story.

Renatta McCann, CEO of Starcom Mediavest Group and Media jury chair, described the best work as that which ‘marries content with contact.’ After judging 1,466 entries, she ‘came away with the reconfirmation that great ideas are magic, they come from everywhere,’ and gain power when a great insight is connected to a solid strategy. Other media jurors stressed the importance of developing new media knowledge, and consensus was that they had yet to see the groundbreaker that all-encompassingly harnessed new tech effectively.

Overall, senior ad execs at Cannes are focused on retooling their orgs around engagement, and recognizing the pivotal role of channel planning therein. Starcom Mediavest Group began a WOM research project in April with research firm Keller Fay, designed to statistically recognize influencer targets and measure word of mouth. General agencies are also refocussing on media’s role in getting to engagement. JWT’s worldwide president Michael Maedel says: ‘Communications planning is something we need to bring back into the agency,’ an effort that has already begun with media embedded in creative in Germany.

Meanwhile, JWT Canada president/CEO Tony Pigott is leading the global Ethos project which will study great corporate social responsibility efforts, in order to help brands shape the most effective social strategy. Pigott says research indicates there is an untapped need for a ‘marketplace of meaning’ and opps for brands to step up and make a difference.

It is definitely the year of taking direction from consumer insight, and building integrated platforms. As Pigott puts it: ‘Now how you evaluate ideas is, are they going to be great springboards to other applications, as opposed to a great piece of advertising.’

Leo Burnett Canada president David Moore plans to distill it even more, to find the one word a brand should convey and ensure that gets effectively communicated in this ADD media environment. The final takeaway from Cannes goes to Moore, reflecting on the value of the experience: ‘You can’t put a price tag on inspiring people.’

Cheers,mm

Mary Maddever, exec editor, strategy/MIC 416.408.0864