That was the strong entrance from Sean Combs (aka: P Diddy), arriving 20 minutes late for a 40 minute session on 'culture as a creative catalyst', on the fourth day at what just might be the most creatively diverse Cannes yet, with new categories for the Lions (mobile had its first year), and globally renowned speakers from all corners and all walks of life.
The turnout at the morning session with Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and David Alberts from MOFILM following the inevitable late nights after the Opening Gala the night before (probably followed by the lure of Gutter Bar) demonstrated that much more than an industry love, people come here to be inspired. And the diversity of the audience was reflected in Wales' take on the ever-changing industry we operate in, how crowd-sourcing has fundamentally changed the way we source information so that essentially, we can use our social communities to help come up with big ideas too. As he put it, "great ideas don't just come from creative anymore... now they can come from anywhere".
Today we ran a workshop on how to tackle smaller screen creative - and it was fascinating to hear some of the challenges faced by attendees when putting new ideas forward to clients. Technology has created a whole new set of tools we can bring into the advertising armoury - but the fear of the unknown is still overpowering real innovation.
The thing is - and John Hegarty has said this before - that whenever a new technology or platform is created, there is a creativity deficit that follows. Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin spoke along around this idea in his session of what creative advertising actually looks like in this new world. And the truth of the matter is that no one knows - it's going to take bravery and failure and probably a lot of hard work - but from that we'll also get the brilliant campaigns that we all aspire to - and will no doubt feature in the Lions 2014.
For me - it always comes back to authenticity. You can make someone laugh, cry, buy, act - but only with authentic content that people actually want. One of the best sessions of the week so far, which had people rolling on the floor (almost) laughing was Anderson Cooper from CNN interviewing late night show host Conan O'Brien on what connects in comedy - and he concluded that there is no formula - but "honesty is important".
Often the advertising industry forgets to remove its blinkers and ask the question - what is the Single Most Important Thing (SMIT) I'm trying to achieve with this? We can get tongue tied trying please clients, trying to ensure ROI, going with the safer option - but asking what the SMIT is and then sticking to it relentlessly, is the only route to real authentic ideas that tell a story that translate to real life (and are legible on the smaller screen).
Cornetto is a company whose SMIT tagline is not just for the ads it runs. It is a part of their business ethos, engrained across the brand: Enjoy the ride. Love the ending.
Dave Gwozdz, CEO, Mojiva