Brand Revolution has returned to London after the 67th Cannes Film Festival. In recent years, the London-based communications and talent management agency has executed more PR, partnerships and influencer based work than any other UK company during the festival.
To help marketers take a leaf out of their book, Cision interviewed Brand Revolution’s founder and managing director Dudley Nevill-Spencer for fresh insights on how brand and talent work together at the red carpet extravaganza and sponsorship trends to watch out for.
Why is the Cannes Film Festival a good fit for Brand Revolution? Film festivals, along with art festivals and fashion weeks, are a good fit for Brand Revolution because we combine our brands and talent to create mutually advantageous activations while the eyes of the world’s media are focussed on that one place at that one time.
These activations raise the awareness of the talent’s projects and deliver a platform for a brand to shout about their values and credible associations. It grants brands the right and opportunity to extend beyond their product or service and become a “cultural enabler” helping create culture and co-own the Zeitgeist for an extended period.
How do you work with brands and talent at Cannes? We match the values and aspirations of brands with the values and aspirations of talent. We then create talent activity that will create valuable outputs for the brand – be it imagery, video, quotes or product exposure.
Any new brand sponsorship trends that stood out this year? Firstly, all the brands were seeking direct ‘to camera’ video content of talent that they could own. We executed over eight separate video interviews for different brands at the festival through multiple public and private event executions and deals. What the communications community should take note of is that this is not an easy thing to do; to make this work you absolutely have to know what it is that the talent are truly passionate about and have them talk about this, otherwise it’s just not going to happen. It takes inside intel about what the talent want to talk about and then a lot of pre-planning to find an opportunity to combine your brand’s values with the talent’s passions.
Also, for the first time ever we saw brands fly out reality TV people to attend A-list events. This caused a lot of annoyance in the talent community and a backlash against the brands that did it. If you have credible talent like film actors and musicians that have spent decades honing and perfecting a craft and you invite them to an event that you fill with reality TV people, they are going to get miffed. As the old adage goes “you are who associate with” and this
mismatch of talent does not go down well. I heard talk from talent not wanting to work with those brands again as a result. It also sends a conflicting message to the consumer.
What would be your advice to brand marketers for Cannes 2015?
Number1: Don’t think your opinion about talent matters – it doesn’t. If what you care about is your brand and the message your brand is sending by engaging with talent, then it’s the opinion of your demographic and their influencers that matters. Choose the right agency and listen to the intel they give you. This should then dictate who you choose to engage with. What your wife thinks, what your CEO thinks, what your traditional agency thinks is all irrelevant.
Number 2: Work by values. Match your Brand’s values to the talent’s values – this is the starting point of any good integration.
Number 3: As everything at these festivals revolves around talent and they often don’t know if they are going to attend until five to six weeks before the festival starts, it can be nervy not having your activity planned months in advance. Don’t be nervous, if you have the right agency that has all the inside intel you will find the right partnership. Don’t make the mistake of signing-up to some naff event just because they’ve announced it five months before the festival starts – it will often sink without a trace and you will miss the good stuff.