W+K Head of Account Handling, Andy Kay, is camped out in Cannes this week, immersing himself in a punishing schedule of industry talks, workshops and panel sessions at the Palais, and defending himself from the equally punishing side effects of rosé immersion (in the name of mingling with great creative minds, etc). He's already found time to rub shoulders with Monica Lewinsky and to stalk a few celebs. He writes:
I was advised to not just go to the big talks whilst here, and I have tried to follow that advice. But I have also done a fair bit of starfucking too. Warning, this post includes some shameful name dropping…
[yes, that's Monica Lewinsky]
Pharrell Williams – Creating constellations: Unleashing creativity through collaboration
Long, long queues to get in, 3000 people in the hall at 10am, and billed by the host as "an unstoppable one man pop culture machine," he had a lot to live up to. I thought he seemed like a genuinely humble, nice bloke who spoke lucidly around his creative process and attitude to collaboration. Amazingly, he's also 42 and looks about 24. He says;
He only does collaborations with people he thinks are better than him, so he can learn.
If he's stumped it's because he's not inspired.
You need to consider the 'energy in the room.' So whilst FaceTime and conference calls are great, there's really like nothing like getting together in one room. As someone who works on a lot of international business, I know what he means.
Bad responses from 'call outs' (record label speak for focus groups) don't mean anything to him as it's likely to be because people are being asked to comment on something they've never heard before. 'It's like going up to a man who's only ever eaten hamburgers and asking him to try some sushi. What's he likely to say?' I'm dropping Pharrell on my next MWB results call.
If the label won't pay for the artwork, guess what? The thing's probably gonna fail.
His main point though, which he kept coming back to, was around what he called 'intention.' For something to stand out, be it music, ads, painting, cooking whatever, he says it needs to have 'been created with intention.' I kind of agree. If you don't give a shit about what you're doing how can you expect anyone else to? He also said that anything created needs to have a 'tactile kinaesthetic quality to it' which reminded me of a certain Dan Wieden quote… 'just move me dude'.
Jamie Oliver – Innovation: When new just isn't enough
Me and Jamie go right back to the ‘Naked Chef’ days. He has a pretty slick digital presence from Instagram to his FoodTube channels and I thought he may give some insight into all of this. Actually, he spent most of his time talking about education and healthy eating. But, I suppose that's fair enough. He's not a marketer so what did I expect? And he makes some very valid and very important points. He also ended on a fact about how most Greek old men can still have sex 'successfully.' I think it was going to be an anecdote around diet but he was dragged off stage before he could finish. No pun intended.
Kim Kardashian West – Hollywood and trends in Digital Storytelling
I actually stumbled into this one as it was after another talk I went to. She was really nice and her iOS game, which they were there to talk about, seems to be something a lot of young girls (and from the ooh and ahhs in the audience, some older ones too) like to play and it was genuinely interesting to hear about how it mirrors her life in real time and provides genuine interaction chances with her. But it was also all a little weird and tense. At the start, we were all warned to make the host proud, to not try and make a name for ourselves and to keep the questions professional. Um, ok…??? Oh, and her mum was there too. That seemed to excite a lot of people as well.
Stay tuned for more dispatches from A-List Andy as the week rolls on.