Why is Cannes Lions important to MSN?
This is the fourth year that MSN has been at Cannes. In those four years our presence and stature has increased dramatically. The festival is a great opportunity for us to educate the industry about the creative possibilities of the online medium and the importance of integrating it into the overall media mix. Consumers' media consumption habits are changing -- online marketing spend has overtaken cinema and radio and this trend is increasing in pace -- more traditional advertisers are waking up to the opportunities online can provide to help them reach their target audience -- they are looking to MSN at Cannes for help in realising these opportunities.
What are the major trends in digital marketing at Cannes Lions this year, and which have been the most interesting issues for you?
We've seen some really simple ideas this year that demonstrate creatives are using new online formats effectively without relying on high tech features to tell their story. One campaign that stood out for me personally was an entry from Japan -- a car appears in the banner driving along a road, the user can direct the car by moving their mouse over it. In the skyscraper on the same page a telephone starts ringing. If you move your mouse to answer the phone, the car crashes. The message being communicated is simple: Don't speak on the phone whilst driving.
There was a huge 21.5% increase in the number of entries to the Cyber Lions category this year, do you think we have also seen greater creativity in the entries compared with last year?
Yes, there has been more creativity in online over the past year and the creative industry is using the online formats in more engaging ways. The consumers' relationship with the online medium has evolved and matured, they have passed the 'novelty' stage of clicking on an ad in order to see what happens. Therefore brands need to ensure their campaigns are instantly engaging, their message is clear and communicated simply. This is the age of instant information and online advertising needs to reflect this. MSN is committed to supporting that level of creativity and acknowledges the need for a continual dialogue with the creative industry in order to understand how we can help them deliver what the consumer wants. Ultimately, we want the creatives to focus on developing the ideas, without having to worry about the technology needed to deliver them.
How important to the industry is the establishment of the Titanium Award for Integrated Campaigns?
It is a very important addition to the Cannes Lions Awards programme. The inclusion of an integrated award at Cannes is real recognition for the online industry particularly that it has come of age, and is as vital an element of any cross media campaign as the more traditional forms of advertising. It is also recognition by the ad industry that consumer behaviour online is changing. Hopefully, it will also encourage clients and media planners to include online in the planning stage rather than using it as an add on.
What do you think we can expect to see in digital marketing between now and Cannes 2006?
It's a very exciting time for the industry right now. All the pieces of the puzzle are falling in to place. In the coming months I expect to see a leap forward in professionalism -- the industry really has grown up -- there will be better quality campaigns, increased creativity and more consistency. As online really starts to appear on peoples radar, I expect to see budgets increasing too -- both in production and ad spend. I also expect to see more FMCG and consumer brands embrace online -- their presence has increased at Cannes this year, but there is still a way to go.
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com