Cannes Blog: Canada punches above its weight

Campbell's Mark Childs shares his thoughts on Canada's opening day session, starring UFC champ Georges St-Pierre.

By Mark Childs

Yesterday, a very patriotic Canadian team kicked off day one of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity program with our very own martial arts athlete and strategy‘s celebrity Brand of The Year, Georges St-Pierre.

Introduced by the Globe and Mail’s Barbara Smith, St-Pierre, Justin Kingsley of Sid Lee, and Mary Maddever of strategy explored insights in brand building. They examined how those insights transcended the controversial sport (particularly here in France, where it is still banned) to showcase Canada’s prominence in the creation, building and storytelling of brands. And, in this Cannes Lions case, the building of a “super human brand.”

Joining a packed Debussy house of global delegates, including two full rows of devoted GSP fans, it was hard to argue that this was very un-Canadian and unapologetically “not hockey.”

For me, the “white belt” insight passionately shared by Georges inspired us to think of brand imperfections as an asset and the opportunity for growth. As a wildly successful global brand in transmedia, he encouraged us to share our brand stories authentically to earn legitimacy.  The team at Sid Lee did just that. In the success story that is the Georges St-Pierre brand, they engaged fans while also connecting with avid haters.  Why?  Because to do so creates not only a conversation, but the emotion to sustain it.

To be a Canadian in Cannes, whatever your sport, yesterday was a proud moment – one in which we punched well above our weight.  Kudos to the team for delivering a win to make us proud. And one to be followed I’m sure by the Canada Cannes soccer team!

Mark Childs is VP marketing at Campbell Company of Canada. For more on Canada’s experience in Cannes, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and look for the hashtag #StrategyatCannes.