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Party police raids, drug ‘stings’ & divas: The Drum's Cannes Lions 2018 gossip column

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Cannes Lions is over for another year, but as the rosé turns sticky on the floor of the Gutter Bar and you think of ways to explain the ROI on entertaining clients with €30 burrata every night to your finance manager, there’s one thing that’s sure to follow you home on that Jet2 flight – all the gossip.

What happens in Cannes famously doesn’t stay in Cannes. The Drum’s moles were on the ground, and our very own pub – The Drum Arms – which gave us plenty of access to the scandals happening behind the scenes.

Find out what went on away from the buzz of the Palais from noise complaints to entitled celebrities, The Drum's drummers causing chaos on the strip and the magnetic pull of Sir John Hegarty… ooh la la indeed.

Duty free

A French air traffic control strike the weekend before Cannes led to topsy-turvy, rerouted trips across Europe for hundreds of delegates on route to the Riviera; we heard of attendees flying via Cologne, Milan and even Luxembourg to make sure they didn’t miss that 9am breakfast meeting.

But which programmatic supremo was spotted making the most of his delayed flight in the airport bar? His penchant for Gatwick’s champagne led to an impulsive – and most likely expensive – Lacoste shopping spree.

Don’t call it a comeback

He may have lost the ‘most powerful man in advertising’ crown but yet again Sir Martin Sorrell managed to become the biggest story of the week. There were plenty of whispers about whether he'd show up to Cannes following the events of recent months – but oddly, we’ve rarely seen him look so relaxed. Some attendees even asked The Drum what we were really planning on doing, assuming the interview at the pub was really a publicity stunt (as if we would ever…!)

But from the moment he arrived at The Drum Arms for his first post-WPP interview (through the back door, naturally) it was clear that the outspoken bean counter was back with a vengeance.

After laying into the big six networks, the Financial Times’ reporting and WPP’s handling of his resignation, he slipped out faster than you can say ‘Q&A’.

Martin Sorrell on why he wants Mark Read and Andrew Scott to replace him as co-CEOs #thedrumcannes https://t.co/3lp8PKQpsd pic.twitter.com/slwCT3EK5s

— The Drum (@TheDrum) June 21, 2018

He recycled a handful of pre-prepared jokes when he spoke at the Palais on Friday, however the audience was less sympathetic to the freshly tanned millionaire: delegates booed as he filibustered his own session instead of answering questions from journalist Ken Auletta.

Do ad execs shit in the woods?

Which glamorous party had a distinct lack of toilets for the 500+ people it invited to its celeb-filled celebration? One desperate marketer charmingly told The Drum staff he was going to do a Bear Grylls and “poo in the woods”.

It’s not clear if he was joking or not but he did wander off into the night, which begs the question: if a client does a number two in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Diva on the docks

This East End pop star embraced her inner Mariah Carey this week. When arriving at the port for a night on the yachts she refused to leave her bejewelled high heels on the jetty, forcing staff to choose between a great PR opportunity and their boat hire deposit.

Later, when the same London diva was refused entry to an over-capacity agency party she loudly declared the shop’s comms director was a “jobsworth” in front of their colleagues. It must have been a damned good party! Brits abroad, eh?

A sticky situation

The Carlton’s unfathomable pricing strategy leaves many a suit feeling extorted when the bill arrives. But which creative director was stung big time by Cannes’ hustling drug dealers?

After requesting a wrap of unidentified white powder and paying out €200, his teenage vendor scarpered into the night. Only later did he realise he was actually the proud owner of a rolled-up wrap of sticky tape.

Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this

This year’s News UK party, once again hosted a atop a giant hill at the Château de Garibondy was an absolute hive of gossip. With a set from Kylie, Idris Elba and Fatboy Slim on the decks and a pool stocked with pink flamingos, the glitz and glamour was unrivaled elsewhere.

Aussie chef John Torode was even spotted cooking up a storm at the BBQ, but The Drum’s roving reporters couldn’t help but notice he looked grumpier than a unsuccessful Masterchef contestant.

To be fair, it’s probably not much fun grilling brisket in the blistering heat while drunken ad execs guzzle elderflower gin and tonics around you. It looked like he cheered up a bit later though, when he and his wife Lisa Faulkner got a snap with the Spinning Around singer.

Great night with @JohnTorode1 & @lisafaulkner1 in charge of the #bbq tonight at #newschateau!! & a M&G with @kylieminogue what a party pic.twitter.com/QRD0hh8Yqs — Sean Fitzpatrick (@MySeanySean) June 21, 2018

The crowd went absolutely wild for Kylie, with one chief marketing officer dancing non-stop for the whole session and another top creative giving it his all during Can't Get You Out of My Head.

Praise you like I should

Fatboy Slim, meanwhile, wins the Gold Lion for nicest celebrity of the festival. We heard he spent an hour before his set hanging out with fans and taking pictures. Eat, sleep, network, repeat, right?

Post-party chaos

It's a shame then, that the plug was literally pulled on Fatboy Slim's set. Organisers were believed to have been sticking to strict timings to avoid catching the attention of the French police; a plan which ultimately failed.

The Drum understands News UK was issued fines of €60 and then €1,000. Hearsay on the ground said this was due to noise complaints, but as more officers showed up just as the party was ending, rumours swirled that it was because a rowdy group of underage teenagers wanted to rave to Fatboy.

The police presence then stopped planned pick-up cars from driving up to collect worse-for-wear guests from the château. This resulted in dozens of high-heeled delegates winding their way down a steep, tree-lined hill in the pitch black to hitch a ride back to their hotels – lions, and tigers and swears, oh my!

Heartthrob Hegarty

In case you were wondering, Sir John Hegarty has still got it. After he spoke at a press conference, the scenes of female fans flocking for some facetime with the BBH founder were akin to Channing Tatum’s media lounge appearance in 2016. One journalist even invited him to spend a holiday with her in Colombia – whenever, wherever!

Sacré bleu!

Which restaurant along Le Croisette doesn’t believe in ‘going dutch’ – or, indeed #TimesUp? During one dinner, we were told waiting staff handed out gender-specific menus where the women don’t see the prices.

Staff from one media firm were shocked to discover this when they noticed that only the sole male of the group could see the cost on the menu he was handed. Lucky fella.

No cameras please

This US star came to the speaker's corner of the press lounge to talk business, but was left frustrated after the reporting media failed to ask any her questions at all about the announcement she made.

She rolled her eyes when a bunch of journalists instead swarmed around her for videos and selfies once she was done.

On the ball

Speaking of celebs, did we mention that we interviewed former England manager Sam Allardyce?

In conversation before the England v Tunisia game at the TalkSport bar, he predicted the right score and told us over a Guinness that he doesn’t think Stevie G, Frank Lampard or Joey Barton will still be in a job come next summer.

sam allardyce the drum

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Here he is with The Drum's video producer Jamie McMurray and editor Stephen Lepitak.

Jambon ou fromage?

A journalist’s diet at Cannes usually consists of aspirin, coffee and rosé, accompanied by agency dinners if you're lucky or McDonald’s if you're not. But this year it all changed with the introduction of the press room buffet – a revelation that appeared around 3pm every day.

On the Monday there was cheese and bread. On the Tuesday there was ham and bread. Rumours spread that the much-anticipated French coupling of cheese AND ham would arrive on the Wednesday. But alas – never the two did meet.

Band on the run

We were so enamored with The Drum’s new branding that we flew a band of drummers from London to France for the week. Their job was to disrupt the industry – literally – with the harmonious sounds of banging and hollering. Unfortunately, not everyone was a fan.

The police and event security asked the troop to “allons-y!” on several occasions, and Campaign sent them packing from outside their 50th birthday celebrations.

The biggest reaction came when the band surprised our friends at Ad Age – and were subsequently manhandled out of the area.

Show me entity :: 20943

The Drum's editor-in-chief and founder Gordon Young even got involved in the action earlier on in the week. Here he is leading the merry band in front of a refined audience at the Gutter Bar.

Show me entity :: 20946

All stood up

Which social figure left The Drum reporters waiting 90 minutes for an interview? After an hour and a half of waiting (with only frantic texts from her PR to give us hope) we gave up – only to land an interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Game of Thrones' Jaime Lannister, a few boats down. Both his hands were fully operational.

ForgetfulLAD

Which well-known industry PR was said to have his laptop at the Lad Bible villa, only to realise it was missing on is way to the airport. His cab had to turn around so he could return to collect the computer.

It's not clear whether he left it during the social publisher's party on the Tuesday night, which looked a bit like a session at the Love Island villa.

Live From The @ladbible Villa Pool Party #Cannes pic.twitter.com/70fuAdvm7n — DJ Luck & MC Neat (@LucknNeat) June 19, 2018

There's no doubt the Lad Bible crew were partying hard the rest of the week, since the group's 'Trash Isles' campaign scooped a number of Lions.

Too brave?

The Marketing Society's well-intentioned 'brave'-themed lunch proved a bit too bold for some attendees, with one unadventurous guest suggesting that even Heston Blumenthal might have snubbed some of the concoctions on offer.

Can't fight the moonlight

One Australian agency got a bit excitable in the car on its way to one of the many events. As the poor driver weaved his way through the rolling Riviera hills, too much pre-8pm rosé (we heard them say they paid €350 for a bottle) had gone to the execs' heads.

Unprompted, one of the group put LeAnn Rimes' 90s classic Can't Fight the Moonlight on full blast in the backseat, loudly singing along and trying to get our reporters to dance. We preferred the original.

You can follow all The Drum's Cannes Lions coverage here, with more exclusives and one-on-one interviews to follow next week.

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10 questions with… Carter Murray, chief executive of FCB

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The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are answered by FCB chief executive, Carter Murray.

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was cleaning boats. My first proper, steady job, however, was as an assistant account executive at Leo Burnett Chicago.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?

“Guru” (as in “marketing guru”). Most people called gurus actually are not. And this misnomer often causes havoc within client organizations and the creative process more generally.

Who would you most love to share a coffee with?

My mother and father. I lost them both two years ago, within six months of each other, and still miss them terribly.

Highlight of your career (so far?)

The first was getting to work with Harry MacAuslan, THE gentleman of advertising (now retired) and the second was persuading Susan Credle to come to FCB and be my creative partner.

What piece of tech can you not live without?

Sadly (and my wife will very much attest to this) – it's my bloody telephone.

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?

Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. I read it when I was thirteen and it absolutely got to me. I loved the boxing, wildlife, Africa and personal narratives, but most of all, the constant reminder to “think first with your head and then with your heart.”

What one question do you never want anyone to ask you?

Why are you so obsessed with dim sum?

Best advice you ever heard or received?

Shut up and listen.

What do you still want to achieve in your career?

Balance.

What industry event is most important to you to attend and why?

Cannes. It saves me multiple trips around the world, as everyone is centralized there, and I get to talk about our industry with some of the most groundbreaking work all around us, to inspire and push us to always do better. It’s always long and busy work hours, but it all happens in a ridiculously civilized setting.

Check out other interviews as part of the 10 Questions With… series.

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‘Bang for our buck’: how MSIG's first-ever CMO plans to reinvent insurance marketing

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As the first-ever person to hold the chief marketing officer role at MSIG Holdings (Asia), Rebecca Ang Lee believes her most immediate priorities is to ensure alignment of the insurer in the online space, develop a regional sustainability direction, and promote digital transformation through innovation within the company and industry to stay relevant.

MSIG, which is a part of the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company within the MS&AD Insurance Group, promoted Lee, who oversaw brand and communications and business excellence across ASEAN, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand as senior vice-president, in October.

Lee has wasted no time in getting down to work, ensuring that MSIG customers can expect dynamic websites with better user experience across its markets in the region. MSIG Vietnam was the first to complete the revamp early this year, with Lee pushing for more markets to complete their respective websites in the next couple of months.

“The new website was built with the users’ experience in mind and I am looking forward to getting our customers’ feedback. Content on our social media channels are also progressively evolving to better serve our customers,” she explains. “A success story to quote is MSIG Indonesia – we started out with less than 1k followers and achieved a substantial leap to about 90k today just after a year of introducing refreshed content.”

“We hope to replicate this success in the other markets, taking local preferences and nuances into consideration. Ultimately, our goal is to engage our customers with useful content that can aid them in their insurance purchase journey.”

MSIG’s sustainability agenda is now managed by the brand and communications team, which is led by Lee, after the creation of the sustainability taskforce for Asia. She explains this means she can embed the key messages into the group’s internal and external communications, therefore strengthening its brand building efforts.

“The goal is to ensure MSIG’s medium-term management plan ‘Vision 2021’, which emphasizes sustainability as a key focus for the group, is carried on. “With the creation of the sustainability taskforce for Asia, we hope to complement our group’s initiatives and achieve greater impact together,” she says.

“As sustainability is becoming an issue of growing importance around the region, and in the world, we have a responsibility to support this agenda. We will need to build a sustainability mindset and culture from within the organization, and are looking to collaborate with partners to engage and educate all staff.”

Lee is also trying to promote innovation within the company and industry through partnerships to catch up with its rivals like NTUC Income, which ranked the highest in Singapore when it comes to being future ready for digital transformation, while MSIG came in 22nd. It has since signed a deal with start-up accelerator Plug and Play which will see it become a founding anchor partner of Plug and Play’s Insurtech platform.

The platform aims to invest in and help local and international fintech and Insurtech startups to grow through connecting them to major financial institutions and insurers. It will also allow MSIG to build relationships with start-ups that are developing new technologies and solutions.

According to Lee, this partnership will help MSIG innovate and explore revolutionary ideas as technology is changing at a pace where it is forcing the industry to undergo digital transformation especially in the more mature markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

“From the angle of internal communications, we explored different ways to engage our employees, creating thematic town halls that infuse the creative use of digital apps and tools to create a mindset change from within,” she says.
“The pace of technology also impacts the media channels and landscape. Digital no longer just means website and social media channels. While people are consuming news through social media, they are also getting their entertainment from Netflix, using more smart devices and creating smart homes to manage their lifestyle. This means that consumer digital touchpoints are increasing with new channels to reach out to them. However, budgets are always limited, and the challenge is deciding where to place them to reach out to our desired target audience.”

MSIG's marketing strategy and its relationship with its agencies

With limited budgets and facing the challenges of reaching out to its desired target audience even as they get more connected than ever before and expect seamless experiences when they interact with brands, MSIG wants to focus on its unique selling points of providing great service quality and offering a seamless claims experience for its customers.

Lee, who spent more than two years in total working at agencies like Leo Burnett, Dentsu and Y&R before joining MSIG, is keen to tap on her experience as a communicator and a leader having been on both sides of the fence, to ensure MSIG’s marketing strategy over the long term is relevant and that the company will continuously innovate to improve customer experience.

For example, in Singapore, she points out MSIG was the first to introduce straight-through claims payout using FAST bank transfer, eliminating the time to process cheques and in Thailand, it introduced MSIG SpeeDi, where motor insurance customers are able to get phone assistance within 60 seconds with the touch of a button, have their location triangulated by GPS and sent to a motor surveyor who will arrive on scene within 30 minutes. For Malaysia, MSIG optimized its processes to save claims processing time by over 98% so that customers can get their payment quickly.

“It’s about putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes and challenging the status quo. We have a few customer segments depending on the insurance need, and we target them through consumer insights, behavior and content marketing both offline and online,” she explains.

“The advantage of using online channels is that we’re able to measure our KPIs. However, it does not just stop there, the data needs to be analyzed with follow up action plans to improve on future communication and targeting of our products to customers.”

Lee is also keen to stress MSIG’s marketing strategy cannot succeed if it is not open and honest with its agencies, the key to forging a successful partnership, as they will help them understand the company’s challenges. MSIG’s creative agency is M&C Saatchi and its media agency is Wavemaker.

In addition, she also sees agencies as an extension of her own team and will take time to share information and insights in MSIG’s discussions with its agencies.

“When I joined MSIG two years ago, our branding efforts were only beginning. We were looking for partners who understood our starting point and were keen to grow with us. Two years on, we see both agencies as partners in this journey of brand building, supporting us in our vision to develop MSIG Asia as the centre of excellence,” Lee explains.

Cutting through the noise

Presently, the insurance industry is a saturated one with both life and general insurers vying for a share of voice. It also does not help when there is little differentiation between life and general insurance brands in the eyes of a consumer.

Moving forward, Lee says MSIG approach is to get a ‘bang for our buck’, to be more strategic and creative in its messaging, positioning and targeting. Digital is always a part of MSIG’s media mix as it enables the insurer to target its customers better and is a more cost-effective channel.

“However, we still try to adopt a holistic approach as our research has shown that a combination of traditional and digital media still works best for us to achieve high awareness for a campaign. Also, apart from advertising, it is important to integrate all other customer touch points in the entire buying cycle, from discovery to purchase to repeat customers,” she explains.

“It’s about the synergies of messaging through 360 marketing including in-store experience, PR and research. Pre- and post-campaign research is crucial in understanding the most effective media channel and the research results are always used to improve the media mix for the next campaign.”

There are daunting tasks facing Lee as she tries to future poof MSIG for the future, but moving Lee into the newly-created CMO role is the first step by the insurer to getting there.

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Marketing Day: Pinterest retailer partnerships, the smart speaker market, Facebook Ads

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Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Recent Headlines From MarTech Today, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Marketing Technology:

Online Marketing News From Around The Web:

The post Marketing Day: Pinterest retailer partnerships, the smart speaker market, Facebook Ads appeared first on Marketing Land.

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