Cannes Film Festival offered a rare chance to 'emotionalise' brands

The recent Cannes Film Festival is a publicist's 'promised land' and purgatory.

Cannes is the promised land and purgatory, writes Aimee Anderson
Cannes is the promised land and purgatory, writes Aimee Anderson
It is a year’s worth of work rammed into two manic weeks. It is sprinting down the Croisette with two mobile phones in hand, dodging limousines and juggling simultaneous junkets on opposite sides of the strip.

It is stressed colleagues. It is no sleep. And it is a huge opportunity. 

The world’s press descend upon a seaside town half the size of Scarborough, as the A-list frolic against a backdrop of yachts and picture-perfect sunsets. 

A thousand publicists, agents and festival staff may be paddling like mad beneath the Mediterranean water, but on the surface Cannes is the last word in glamour, and the Champagne does not run dry for the entire fortnight. 

It is little wonder then, that the biggest brands want to be seen there. Attendance means buying into almost seven decades of history. 

It’s positioning your brand alongside an institution, seeing your name on the same billing as Bardot and Bergman, to follow in the footsteps of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, with 4,000 press capturing your every move. 

Yet entry into the film space is not simply about embracing the golden age of cinema, but an opportunity for innovation. 

It’s a shot in the arm for creatives – a new medium demanding new ideas. 

When brands move into the cinema sphere, their product must match that of those around them. 

In a hotbed of imagination, brands must take bold steps to stand alongside the filmmakers and artists against which they are now competing. 

Product placement has had its day; brands today have greater ambitions – a desire to take the power into their own hands, and retain full creative control. 

If there is an appropriate match between brand and content, then the benefits – both commercial and artistic – are clear. 

Suitability is the all-important differential between lazy tie-in and movie magic. 

But if done correctly, then the brand can roll out the red carpet and welcome a legion of new followers.
The film world offers an extension of the brand identity, a visualisation of its ethos, and a deepening of a brand’s reach and appeal. 

Forging a path in this space is a chance to change perceptions – to give life to the bland world of domestic appliances, to sex up technology, or to find the soul in coffee.

There are few places on earth more emotionally charged than a darkened cinema. Men cry, memories stick. 

Film therefore offers the Holy Grail: that all too rare opportunity to emotionalise a brand. 

The public don’t want to be ‘that bloke off the advert’ but they do want to be Clooney, Lawrence, Gosling, Kendrick or Jolie. 

They want to relate to lives, products, struggles and successes, up on the big screen. And by entering the film space, brands can make this connection, and leave their name in lights. 

Aimee Anderson is head of brands at DDA PR

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