There is also an overriding sense of optimism. Of course this could be down to a unusually beautiful summer (so far) and to England’s unexpectedly good run in the World Cup. But there is also a sense that earned media specialists are winning the battle of ideas in the marketing world. This is good news for PR professionals, who have long suffered from a sense of inferiority compared to their cousins in advertising or digital marketing.
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The International Festival of Creativity in Cannes again showed that earned-media-led campaign – from CALM’s ‘Project 84’ to Lacoste’s ‘Save Our Species’ – were the ones capturing the imagination of jurors and brands alike.
That said, once again the campaigns winning at Cannes tended to be the ones conjured up by ad agencies rather than PR consultancies. This rather predictable and depressing fact has its roots in the nature of the festival. On the positive side, it just proves there is no room for complacency; it shows the requirement for the latter firms to invest even more heavily in their creative firepower and the link to effective outcomes for clients.
Diversity was definitely the theme of Cannes, along with many other events this summer. HP’s insistence that all its global marketing consultancies must now field genuinely diverse creative teams, or lose the business, was a statement of intent by the tech behemoth. Its #MoreLikeMe mentoring scheme has been enthusiastically embraced by PR agency of record Edelman and other marketing and media partners.
There was similar consensus at the inaugural PR Cannes Fringe event in June, with an acceptance that more diverse consultancies – in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and social background – resulted in more creative, less clichéd, more effective work for clients. So, while ‘Stormzy’ may indeed be a great partner for your next campaign, if that’s the only name your brainstorm came up with, maybe think a bit harder.
Such themes also emerge from PRWeek’s latest 30 Under 30, published in July. This year’s batch of outstanding youngsters is the most diverse to date. Talking to them, one gets a sense of restless creativity.
Long may this optimism persist. If nothing else, it’s a welcome distraction from Trump and Brexit.