Cannes Blog: A call to action

Philip Donne, president at Campbell Company of Canada, on the need to get beyond day-to-day battles and strive to find new digitally-directed possibilities for your brands.

Philip Donne, president at the Campbell Company of Canada is in Cannes taking in the best work and great thinkers the festival has to offer. He is sharing his takeaways with people back home through strategy.

I am a dinosaur.

I’ve just come out of a YouTube presentation at the Palais. On my way out I crashed through the door and stepped through a swampy peat bog as I exited, clearly transformed into a bipedal, tail swinging, big brain-cased, little brained dinosaur. I at least hope I am a carnivore.

What happened to traditional go-to-market marketing principles while I was sleeping after a meal of Pterodactyl eggs? I harped on about MROI in my last blog and perhaps now I have to eat some humble prehistoric pie. The YouTube session was a revelation relative to what I/we could be doing versus what we are doing.

While I’ve heard it said here that “content isn’t strategy but without content it’s not a strategy,” I think I’ve been hit in the head with Flintstone’s club (ergo, I reveal my generation). I feel uninformed about what can be done today outside of the lines and it is my fault for falling into a semi-complacent haze fueled by price discounting, desperate display seeking and week-to-week behaviour. Line in the sand drawn. Embracing and enacting has to happen from here on out.

What we saw as an audience was the sales explosion experienced by GoPro thanks to their YouTube channel – a “relaunch” of the Chevy Sonic through fan engagement, and the reinforcement of TopShop’s fashion traction by digitally seizing the moment. And it seems the numbers are there to justify their investment…and most of it was digitally directed. Deep breath, I feel some neurons evolving.

Part of what I think is happening to many marketers today is that the bulk of today’s brand management population are caught up in the “Lost Generation.” Too old to have grown up with the internet and too young to have children who otherwise wouldn’t communicate with them if they didn’t become digitally savvy. On the other side, those that grew up with the internet (you are likely no more than 24 or 25), haven’t reached a level where you have the decision rights to make things happen.

So, call to action here: aead the charge to bring the thinking forward and don’t relent until you can demonstrate what can be possible, and what the present, not the future, can hold if you move quickly and deliberately.

On this front, kudos to Unilever’s team for the way they completely swarmed digital data to intensify the results on their Dove Beauty Sketches campaign. That too was a window into today that I did not know the backstory on.

Time for me to pop back into another session and continue whatever evolution I need to complete. On y va!