CannesLions Day One: Bright lights for TV, Mass customisation and why mobile really IS the big thing
The sun was shining and I was in the dungeon that is the Debussy theatre, snacking on pearls of content. After queuing for rather longer than anticipated to get my mug shot taken, the week kicked off with a seminar from the biggest brand of them all, Coca-Cola. This was followed by sessions from interactive digital agency Schematic, LinkedIn and Razorfish. Top tip: you can watch some of the sessions online here, or read on for my top line digest.
Mobile is the [next] big thing: Although it has embraced mobile far more than many others, Coca-Cola highlighted that, to date, limitations on a global level mean there has been a strong bias to making use of text. Opportunities are changing fast, however, as the iPhone and other Smartphones provide the chance to be more creative and provide customised experiences to consumers. Moving forward, Coca-Cola sees mobile as one of the major opportunities in building customer loyalty and improving the purchase mechanism. The iPhone Happiness Factory app (one of its most successful campaigns to date) is one of its most recent forays. With the massive development of mobile apps in 2009, I’ve now doubt this will be a strong theme throughout the week.
Tangible experiences: The Coca-Cola camp is also working hard to expand its experiential campaigns online ( Happiness Factory) into the real world. Collaboration between technology, marketing and design teams has given birth to the U-vend machine. In what could well spark a new genre of vending machines within the industry, it brings the type of interactive experiences we see online to transform what is currently merely a transactional one. In Japan, consumers have been using their mobiles to purchase a Coke for years now, giving them access to valuable consumer data. The U-vend offers up more than a bottle of coke, enabling consumers to download content and interact with the screen.
Bright lights for TV: Schematic, a digital agency, provided an enlightening overview of how TV and the ‘ten foot experience’ will be taking cues from digital in the future. Citing research from Ball State University, TV screen activity remains high, but consumers are multi-snacking using computer, TV and mobile devices. In the future it will remain a key form of entertainment, but will become more personalised according to specific consumer requirements and in accordance with location. The touch sensory navigation that will be possible from the TV screen of the future, could well see The Minority Report finally come to life.
Later on in the day, digital experts Razorfish echoed similar thoughts on the future of TV, delving deeper into the importance of the ten foot experience to consumers. Without one 30 sec spot to their name, Razorfish quoshed the notion that TV would die sometime soon. Showcasing some of their proprietary research on US consumers, they outlined how consumers still rely on the TV experience for entertainment for several key reasons (the DNA of TV). Reasons such as relaxation – zoning out, the watercooler effect, staying in tune with events, social elements: bringing groups together, stimulation and learning new stuff and escapism. It did make me realise how important TV is, but with the web offering so many similar and more exciting possibilities, how long will the halo remain?
It was clear from both Razorfish and Schematic that digital convergence is set to change and enhance the TV experience, bringing the interactiveness of the web to the original Tube screen. In doing so, it will open up the creative possibilities, moving away from the traditions of 30 second ad spot, and giving people greater control to construct their own ‘on demand’ channel. One wonders though are these developments all a little too late?