Ex-president Bill Clinton hit Cannes yesterday on a mission to inspire the audience of communications specialists to be a positive force for change.
Our world is increasing one of consent, Clinton said, “as all the upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa has shown”. And in a world of consent, it’s the communicators who will have “a profound influence on how the next 20 or 30 years turn out,” he said. “I want to leave this earth knowing that my daughter and the grandchildren I hope to have will live in a world where our common humanity matters more than our interesting differences… And I can’t think of any other group of people more likely to make it happen than you.”
Earlier in the day, I managed to catch some research-focused speeches, including one from Naked Communications entitled, ‘Ideas worth interacting with need insights that inspire action’.
Naked’s argument was that in order to create campaigns that people actually want to interact with then ideas need to be stronger. This in turn means that the role of insight is more important than it has ever been, with the company looking toward insight communities and other new insight approaches to help them generate and develop these ‘big ideas’ before campaigns are launched.
They went on to speak of the need for ‘real time planning’, where you create the platform idea and then wait to see how the audience reacts to the initial elements before creating the next chapter of the campaign, a combined insight and communications approach. A good example of this was a fantastic campaign that they ran to promote road safety in Australia.
The campaign involved the small town of Speed, which has a population of 450 people. The local residents, who were keen to help raise awareness of the road safety issue, agreed that if 10,000 people ‘liked’ their Facebook page the town would officially change its name to SpeedKills. The campaign quickly took off, receiving a huge amount of media attention and achieved its goal of 10,000 ‘likes’ within 24 hours. The question for them then became what they should do next to continue the campaign.
After seeing the strength of reaction to the campaign creative and the traction with the concept of ‘name changing’ they looked for opportunities to extend this. The idea was born that for an extra 10,000 ‘likes’ one of Speed’s residents, Phil Down, would change his name to Phil Slowdown. This was achieved in another five days. The earned media coverage from this campaign was phenomenal, enjoying global reach and also putting the issue of road safety firmly on the national agenda.
It was a great session and also very heartening to hear some of the creative community embracing research and actively looking to integrate this into their campaign development plans. This has not been a common theme at Cannes, but more on that tomorrow.