At the Cannes Lions "festival of creativity" (advertising, and marketing) in France this week, Facebook and Twitter are jousting for the spotlight. With festival attendance at an all-time high, up from 9,000 delegates in 2011 to almost 11,000 this year, the exposure to marketers and creatives makes it well worth elbowing the rosé-imbibing crowds on the Croisette.
Twitter, which has been promoting the #CannesLions hashtag on a special page, hoisted its newly spiffed up blue bird logo at the entrance to the Palais de Festivals welcoming attendees and none too subtly reminding them to keep tweeting.
Cofounder Jack Dorsey, at Cannes for the first time, tweeted the photo at top. He will receive the Cannes Lions “media person of the year” award (previously bestowed on Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Eric Schmidt and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer), while Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is set to give the keynote on Wednesday.
Twitter's advertising blog reported from Cannes on Monday that “According to Buzz Radar, which is powering the festival’s Social Command Center, Tweet volume related to Cannes Lions through the first day of the event has already surpassed total social media mentions during last year's festival. There have been over 15,000 online posts across social media referencing #CannesLions as of Monday afternoon, with 95% coming from Twitter, and most delegates are still just arriving.”
Facebook, meanwhile, is convening its second creative council with chief creative officers from agencies around the world (such as Amir Kassaei, worldwide chief creative officer of DDB) to talk about improving advertising opportunities on the site — one of FB's biggest challenges.
Still reeling from GM’s pulling of paid ads just before its IPO — even though CMO Joel Ewanick was part of last year’s inaugural Facebook creative council — Facebook's Cannes delegation, led by ad sales head Carolyn Everson, are hoping to woo advertisers with better designed pages, ads and apps.
"If the work is better, the investment that amplifies those ideas is going to be better," commented Mark D’Arcy, Director of Global Creative Solutions, to Ad Age. He's in Cannes along with Everson plus colleagues Blake Chandlee, VP-global agencies and accounts and Brad Smallwood, head of measurement. "There's nobody who says they don't do Facebook," D'Arcy added.
Facebook is re-launching its Facebook Studio agency tool with help from Omnicom's EVB digital agency, which includes online courses about advertising and hot topics such as measuring ROI.
Coca-Cola’s CMO Joe Tripodi gave Facebook a big boost at Cannes by saying that Facebook ads do drive sales. "If we can get 40-million plus fans, or even some subset of them talking positively about the things we're doing, ultimately that's a good thing for us," he told the Wall Street Journal. "I think it's probably a leading indicator of potential sales."
Twitter is hoping its investment in the festival will help ease its imminent international expansion into Europe and Latin America, to be headed by Shailesh Rao, Google’s former head of display advertising in Asia. “What I like about the way Twitter has approached things in general is we have erred on the side of caution,” said Rao to the Financial Times, adding that its ads “keep the user in mind always."
With offices in London, Tokyo and Dublin — and plans to set up offices in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Brazil — Twitter aims to augment its ad platform so that multinational brands can manage conversations and campaigns from one global account. “Unlike a traditional social network that’s about family and friends, from the very beginning Twitter was about interests and information,” said Tony Wang, Twitter's UK GM, to FT.