#CannesLions Digital and Out of Home – Make Love Not War

Guest Contributor, Nick Mawditt

As the #CannesLions Outdoor awards celebrated a return to simple creative, as well as indulging the consumer experience, it was great to be more involved in Cannes this year, with Talon hosting our own digital media creativity debate at the IAA studio and participating in Clear Channel’s Wednesday session on #DOOH at the Grand Hotel playground.

Both sessions were well attended and raised important issues about how we can focus more on creativity to drive revenues in OOH.

The Cannes Lions Outdoor winners showcased some truly outstanding and simple creative with Twitter’s # brand campaign standing out but perhaps failed to address the agility and context that digital OOH can bring, delivering real and incremental effectiveness.

With the head of the #CannesLions judges citing digital as the “enemy to outdoor” – overlooking the obvious steps #OOH has made in digital, integration, real time and connectivity – the global industry appears to have some way to go to realise the contextual creative opportunity around data, at scale.

Our digital media creativity panel at the IAA studio highlighted that this was not simply limited to #OOH. The digital community struggles with timeframes, true collaboration on briefs and releasing client data. Notwithstanding these challenges, our panel partners Smartology, Inskin Media and Thomason-Reuters showcased examples of genuine creativity, smart thinking and idea generation that fuel growth.

Talon’s Andy Tilley was able to showcase equally smart implementation around the digital space in #OOH and to demonstrate effective context, personalisation and automation, optimising the digital space for creative, audience and efficiency.

Andy referenced five C’s (it’s always C’s) as driving a new era in #OOH; around context, content, creativity, collaboration and co-creation and the genuine examples in #OOH were both tangible and memorable.

We also joined the likes of GroupM’s Rob Norman and P&G’s Marc Pritchard for sessions highlighting creativity, programmatic, the customer experience and online accountability. Whilst the overriding interest was in hearing the agency and client view of those online digital challenges around fraud and fake news (two F’s), Marc Pritchard’s positive outlook for digital in terms of audience, quality content and environments, context and broad audience (“mass reach with precision is the holy grail”) might as well have been referencing Out of Home.

Our contribution to the Clear Channel/Drum-hosted Wednesday session helped bring the real creative issues to the surface in OOH. From the #CannesLions Outdoor Awards to the availability of client data, the panel showcased the value of contextual creativity when it plugs into factors like geo-location, the customer experience, data and connectivity.

Karmarama’s Hannah Matthews referenced how “everything is connected” and described #OOH’s rising incidence of “effective contextual supercharged data-driven connectivity”. Talon’s Andy Tilley again called for more collaboration with our creative counterparts to use a digital channel “where every single digital site has context”.

Grand Visual’s Neil Morris and Clear Channel’s Louise Stubbings joined the others calling for a more integrated and holistic approach and for the industry to be clearer on the client data we can magnify.

Whilst we can probably expect more #CannesLions entries that use the power of digital next year, for Talon this year was about progressing our creative strategy, to both engaged creatives and digital partners, and to highlight the channel’s smarter opportunities in an international context.

A more integrated and creative future is coming as the branding and content opportunities grow in the channel. It is also clear that collaboration and co-creation amongst agencies across the creative, OOOH and wider digital landscape will drive growth and smarter communication for brands – the reason why the industry comes to Cannes in the first place.

Nick Mawditt is Managing Partner, Talon Outdoor. He has worked in media, advertising and research for 30 years. His experience embraces TV (ITV and CNBC), media agency (Initiative, Kinetic and now Talon), research company (Taylor Nelson Sofres and ORC) and Reuters. Nick now runs the insight and marketing function for Talon Outdoor, as well as managing parts of the business for the UK’s only independently-owned Out of Home media specialist, focusing on how people’s changing lives are driving new communications opportunities and how insight, data and technology impacts on media planning.

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