Burberry is to stage a major photography exhibition celebrating British social portraiture and bringing together the work of over 30 of the 20th Century’s best documentary image-makers.
Here We Are, as it’s called, is curated by Christopher Bailey, president and ?chief creative officer at Burberry, and Lucy Kumara Moore, writer, curator and director of fashion book store, Claire de Rouen. It will be displayed over three floors of the brand’s ?new show venue at Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, which will open to the public for the first time since its restoration.
It features works from photographers including Dafydd Jones, Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin, Shirley Baker, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Ken Russell, Charlie Phillips, Karen Knorr, Janette Beckman, Andy Sewell and more.
It also marks the start of a new creative collaboration with photographer Alasdair McLellan, who will be involved in capturing portfolios of images for Burberry; set to be revealed via their social media platforms over the coming months. A presentation of 70 pieces of his work will additionally be included in the exhibition, for which he further served as co-curator.
That curation sees all of the work divided into themes that reflect different aspects of the British way of life, as well as monographic presentations of individual photographers.
Said Bailey, who introduced the concept to Burberry fans via Instagram yesterday: “When we started thinking about curating “Here We Are”, I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved – one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours. It has been an extraordinary privilege to gather together this collection of photographs that have influenced me so much over the years. They provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh.”
The “spirit captured in British social portraiture” as well as the various “tribes, clans and classes that make up this island of ours”, serves as inspiration for the brand’s next collection, he explained, to be revealed at the venue on September 16.
The exhibition will run from September 18 – October 1, 2017, while the space will also host a programme of events and activities alongside as well as temporary versions of Burberry’s all-day café Thomas’s and a Claire de Rouen bookshop.
Burberry’s in the news at the moment. No, wait, Burberry’s always in the news. Just more so at the moment. Only a couple of days after announcing Christopher Bailey would step down as CEO, the company issued a trading update this morning that the news media is jumping all over.
Newspaper and websites largely jumped on the negatives in the announcement and perhaps that’s not a shock given that Burberry has some major challenges ahead (not least among them a new management structure that replaces Christopher Bailey with an external CEO while appearing to give him as much power as ever).
But what’s more interesting than the basic sales figures is its news around digital. Digital grew strongly in all regions during Q1 (no surprise there) and Burberry’s digital growth is being driven by mobile that now approaches 60% of traffic to its site.
Let’s just step back a minute and look at that figure. This is a luxury brand, part of a sector that took virtually a decade to even recognise the existence of the internet. It’s also part of a sector that loves beautifully crafted websites that are seen at their best on large retina screens.
Yet that 60% means Burberry is enjoying the kind of website traffic via mobile that we’d expect to see in the mass-market from brands such as New Look or River Island.
It’s a testament to the investment Burberry has put into digital and a signal to its luxury peers that the ‘M’ in m-commerce can stand for lots of things as well as mobile (Mass, Margins, Momentum, and downright Marvellous, for instance).
Importantly, Burberry has also focused clearly on omnichannel where the stores work with the e-store and the warehouses for a seamless customer experience. The company said this morning that its single pool of inventory model has been further expanded, with about 90 stores now live globally, improving stock availability for all online markets and helping to drive digital/mobile growth further.
Now for the numbers
So, digital aside, what else did we learn this morning? Well, the market is still challenging. Currency-neutral retail revenue was flat in Q1 at £423m, although exchange rates boosted it by 4% in total. But comp sales fell 3%.
There was good news from Asia Pacific as revenues rose and the UK delivered mid single-digit percentage growth, with a rise late in the quarter. But the troubled Hong Kong and Macau markets remain a problem, tourists flows in Japan were down, demand in the US is uneven and mainland Europe is “depressed”, especially France and Italy.
More good news please. OK, fashion apparel and accessories outperformed and the main campaign that launched at the end of May – which was more product focused, featuring the Patchwork bag with new buckle hardware – seemed to be having an effect.
Relative strength in bags was driven by the runway rucksack (as pictured above), while lightweight outerwear performed well, in particular cashmere trench coats and newly-launched menswear styles.
The company also saw an increased number of personal appointments as it boosted its ultra-luxury services and there were more in-store craftsmanship events to enhance customer engagement.
Burberry said the external environment remains challenging and underlying cost inflation pressures persist. Since May, its outlook for wholesale revenue, particularly in the US, is more cautious for both the first and second halves of the year, in fashion and beauty.
The company now expects currency-neutral wholesale revenue to fall more than 10% in the first half to September 30, while retail revenue should be up in the low single-digits.
Thought for the day
But as we digest these figures, we have to remember that Burberry isn’t alone in this. The entire luxury sector is seeing challenges at present and all of those negative listed above can apply just as much to most of the world’s most desirable brands as to Burberry.
What Burberry is almost alone in though is its almost-obsessive focus on digital. And that’s something that can only help it in the tough times ahead.
This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday
“Dare to be different,” said Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast, to a crowd of advertising executives in the South of France today. In a digital world overloaded with information, and more pressure than ever to produce in volume, she encouraged the audience to think about stepping out of the mainstream, even if it might be scary to do so.
She applied that same thinking to what she looks for in the talent she supports in the fashion industry. As the foremost woman that designers wish to have seated firmly on their front row during fashion weeks, not to mention the continuing battle occurring to stand out in such a saturated space, she suggested the idea of focusing on sincerity over size.
“Personal, emotion-driven presentations can just as easily become blockbusters as the huge extravagances,” she said at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
She highlighted Demna Gvasalia as one of the best examples of this. His first show for Balenciaga did indeed feel particularly sincere, she noted; reminding her of John Galliano’s show in the autumn of 1994, which with just 18 all-black looks completely changed the way women think about dressing. “It sent the 80s power suit packing once and for all,” she said. “It was feminine, and romantic and emotional.”
To introduce her onto today’s stage, Christopher Bailey, chief creative and executive officer of Burberry, also told the tale of how she first came to know about the designers behind Proenza Schouler – Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. Sat on a flight, Hernandez noticed that Wintour was up ahead of him. As a student at that point, he was too nervous to go and speak to her himself, but asked the airhostess to pass her a note written on a napkin. Wintour was reportedly so touched by that move, she soon invited them to see her at Vogue and set them up with internships at Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors.
The rest, as they say, is history. But it was that slight dare to be different that of course made Proenza Schouler stand out – and no doubt become memorable to Wintour down the line.
Back in her own talk, Wintour also emphasised the fact such moves – or indeed fashion show formats – don’t have to be small and precious to be creative. An example of someone winning in both the sincerity and scale stakes, she said, is Alessandro Michele at Gucci.
“He’s been doing remarkable things in that role. Gucci was this huge flashy, trashy house, and Alessandro disrupted that.” She made reference particularly to the fact he saw gender-neutral fashion coming before the rest of the industry and made it his own.
“I want to emphasise how hard this sort of disruption is. Not just because of the need to try and do what hasn’t been done before, but because stepping outside of what’s expected is frightening,” she said.
And she also talked to the idea therefore of disrupting herself. “When we are young we dream of moving upwards, but as I’ve got older my joy has come from moving forward,” she explained. “When I became editor of Vogue in 1988, if you had told me about everything that was to come in digital, that we would be coding our content, not to mention that [Condé Nast] would also be doing film and books and television, as well as events, podcasts and more, I would have had a heart attack. I was struggling to get the magazine on the newsstand every month.”
Today she’s gone from newsstand to stand up, having just delivered an amusing video swapping roles with comedian (and this month’s Vogue cover star) Amy Schumer – as above. And it was this passion for not just humour but being that little bit more daring that she left the crowd with: “We live in a virtually unstoppable time. Let’s seize it, embrace it, but most importantly let’s enjoy it.”
Work in (or with) the fashion industry and heading to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year? Then we’ve done you a solid… Here’s a list of all the relevant sessions you should attend directly related to this industry, from Anna Wintour and Christopher Bailey in conversation, to exciting start-ups including MikMak and Wearable Experiments, not to mention keynotes from Kevin Plank of Under Armour, and John C Jay from Uniqlo.
We’ve also outlined a few bonus must-see talks from other verticals each day in order to get your creative juices flowing.
10.45am: Digital Darwinism: From the Makers of Monty the Penguin The creative team at MPC will be sharing the process behind the CG character work they do, exploring the science behind ‘Monty the Penguin’ for John Lewis.
5pm: Want Brand Fans? Create a Movement Sports performance clothing manufacturer SKINS is teaming up with BBD Perfect Storm for a conversation around building fans by challenging what harms the sports industry: corruption and cheating.
Sunday’s bonus content – 11am: Can Good User Experience Change the World? If you want any insight into what works in China, this is the session to attend – a deep dive into how one app – WeChat, owned by Tencent – has become an essential part of everyday life by focusing on the user experience.
Monday, June 20
3pm: Adobe Experience There are a series of speakers in this session, but the one to look out for is Billie Whitehouse, CEO of Wearable Experiments who will be demonstrating how physical, digital and emotional connections are shaping our future and culture (and yes, through clothing).
3.15pm: Creativity Under Pressure In the world of sporting performance, innovation and new technologies operate at speed, so to remain relevant without sacrificing authenticity, a brand has to continually innovate both products and creativity. Adidas global CMO Eric Liedtke is in the hotseat for this one, exploring co-creating the brand with its consumers.
4pm: Capturing Short Attention Spans: Custom Video Creative for Social Media If you want insights on video content, hearing from Adaptly and Refinery29 is a good place to start – this session will explore research around short attention spans through to the evolution of long-form media.
Monday’s bonus content – 1pm: Brian Chesky in Conversation with Joanna Coles Cosmo’s editor-in-chief sits down with Airbnb’s CEO to discuss the vision for his company and the current state of today’s sharing economy. This is a not to miss session as one of the world’s hottest start-ups. Other Monday highlights include Samsung’s virtual reality experience at 12pm, NASA in IPG Mediabrand’s session at 4pm and Mattel in 360i’s reimagining of play at 5pm.
Tuesday, June 21
10am: Anna Wintour in Conversation with Christopher Bailey For those in the fashion industry, this is one of the most-anticipated sessions of the week, Condé Nast’s infamous artistic director starting off talking about breaking through the noise with an authoritative editorial voice, followed by a conversation about creativity with Burberry’s chief creative and executive officer. Never have the obstacles to true innovation been so real, Wintour explains – but never have the opportunities been as great.
12.15pm: From Roman Emperors to Roman Orgies Strictly speaking this is a talk about the world of agency and client relationships, but the fact United Colors of Benetton and its history of creative campaigns is the subject makes it a worthwhile one to attend. The brand’s chief product and marketing officer, John Mollanger, will be in conversation with 180 Amsterdam.
12.30pm: Invisible UI – Transforming the Way We Think About Wearables Another wearable technology conversation takes place courtesy of Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive) during Lions Innovation, this time focusing on moving beyond wrists stacked with smart watches and fitness trackers to integrating tech seamlessly into what we already have and do.
1pm: The Gang of Four As part of Lions Innovation, L2 Inc’s Scott Galloway will explain the race to grab share in the retail and media industries between Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google – outlining who will thrive and who will die in the digital age. Knowing Galloway’s style of presenting, this will be a fast-paced delivery of data and insights, meaning it’s rich in information even if your head is left spinning.
Tuesday’s bonus content – 5pm: The Art of (Brand) Seduction There’s Will Smith at 11am and Usher at 2pm, but the session we don’t want to miss is rather from FCB in conversation with the chief scientific advisor for Match.com. In a complex life, building enduring connections is difficult – whether you’re shopping or looking for life partners. The hypothesis here is there’s a lot for brands to learn from the social science behind how the world of dating has changed.
Wednesday, June 22
1pm: Stephen Sackur Interviews Gwyneth Paltrow This year’s BBC Hardtalk session – a live on-stage recording for TV – is with award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. For industry folk, it’s her role as the driving force behind health and wellness platform Goop that will likely be of most interest though.
5pm: Inside the Innovator’s Mindset Forbes has pulled together two entrepreneurs for its session at Lions Innovation this year – exploring what innovation and creativity means to them as game-changers. One of them is the co-founder and CPO of smart jewellery brand, Bellabeat; the other the founder and CEO of mobile video shopping network, MikMak. Both are well worth a listen.
Wednesday’s bonus content – 1pm: Wired’s Kevin Kelly on Where We Are All Heading Today’s must-see: It clashes with Gwyneth Paltrow, but if you’re happy to “consciously uncouple” yourself from her, head over to Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly’s conversation with PHD Worldwide instead. The session will explore 12 inevitable technological forces that will revolutionise the way we buy, work, learn and communicate. Failing that, you’ve also got Simon Pegg at 10am, Unilever’s Keith Weed at 11am and Iggy Pop at 3pm.
Thursday, June 23
12pm: Kevin Plank and David Droga: from Underdogs to Challengers Another big highlight of the week comes in the form of this conversation between the founder of Under Armour and the founder of Droga5 – a duo who have both built successful, innovative companies with authenticity at the core. Hot on the heels of his talk at SXSW, Plank particularly is one not to miss.
5pm: Spike Jonze & Shane Smith: Making Content We Care About How do we make content that young people genuinely care about? A key question for brands today, and who better to share key insights than Oscar winning director Spike Jonze and Vice founder Shane Smith. The discussion will be a broad one, but there should be lots of applicable snippets to learn in this session.
Thursday’s bonus content – 10am: Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase On the off-chance the pace of Cannes has started to catch up with you, there’s nothing better than Thursday morning’s New Directors’ Showcase for a spot of recovery. It’s a good excuse to sit in the dark for an hour and a quarter on the one hand, and on the other a flood of inspiration from some of the best new global creative talent. If that doesn’t take your fancy for the day, you’ve also got Oscar winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu at 2pm, plus a view on cracking China from Nils Andersson at 11am.
Friday, June 24
11am Beyond the Big Screen: The Future of Storytelling in Hollywood The relationship between entertainment and advertising is increasingly a fine one when storytelling comes in. At a time when multiple industries, fashion included, are looking to nail how they create engaging content, who better to learn from in this space than one of Hollywood’s most-awarded storytellers and visionaries, Harvey Weinstein. He’ll join Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe.
12.30pm Future Five: The Next Five Fashion Influencers As part of Lions Entertainment, StyleHaul has curated a video presentation of five key influencers to know about in the fashion space. This content will be followed by a discussion about who they are and what you need to know.
2.15pm Isobar Presents ‘Icons Of Creativity’ with Uniqlo’s John C Jay It’s a rarity to have someone from Uniqlo talking, let alone its president of global creative, John C Jay. He believes the world today is experiencing a creative revolution, changing culture and business simultaneously, and will be discussing how his organisation works to maintain its creative edge and relevancy in this fast changing, brand commerce era.
Friday’s bonus content – 3.15pm: How to Do Terrible Work Wrapping up your Friday, how about a view on how not to win, how to be maliciously obedient and how to kill things? That’s the crux of the session between the global CMO of Mars and worldwide CCO of BBDO. Also don’t miss the Lion of St Mark interview, this year with Marcello Serpa at 4.15pm, and the Cannes Debate with Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, at 12pm.
Saturday, June 25
11am: The Future is Rebellion For those making it all the way through to Saturday, there’s a session hosted by DigitasLBi featuring two rebel heroes of the internet: Ari Seth Cohen, founder of Advanced Style, and Amani Al- Khatachtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl, that’s definitely worth listening to. “These rebels have one thing in common: they saw an accepted wisdom and faced it down with technology and content,” reads the write-up.
Saturday’s bonus content – 3.30pm: Out With a Bang And last but not least, be sure to head to the closing session of the 2016 Cannes Lions programme. This year’s guest is yet to be announced, but in the past, this slot has featured Heston Blumenthal, Bono and Johnny Ive. Stay tuned.
Burberry took to Snapchat once again yesterday – this time to reveal its spring/summer 2016 ad campaign being shot by Mario Testino, live as it took place in London.
As per the usual Snapchat brief, those images will live on the platform for 24-hours only. The campaign captures models Hayett Belarbi McCarthy, Misha Hart, Ruth Bell, May Bell, Eliza Fairbanks, Liam Gardner and Louie Johnson.
Christopher Bailey, chief creative and chief executive officer at Burberry, said: “We wanted to play with the traditional format of an advertising campaign to make it much more immediate and accessible just as we did with our runway show last month. Creatively this is incredibly exciting as we are totally focused on capturing the energy and the rawness of the shoot and sharing it the moment it happens.”
James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile at ad agency Leo Burnett, writing on behalf of Marketing Magazine, highlighted numerous factors set to make this campaign superb – that it proves social media can be premium, that it plays on the desire for urgency from this audience, and that it successfully puts mobile first.
“The transient nature of the platform means you have to be in it to win it. Miss it, miss out. FOMO is rife, and exclusive Testino shot fashion ranges that last 24 hours are as good a reason as any to be there in the right place at the right time,” he writes.
But while all of that is true, the result left me wishing for a little bit more. Snapchat is the opportunity to truly go behind-the-scenes, offer up a raw view of life behind a brand, and Burberry eschews that altogether by opting for this really polished persona. That worked in its storytelling for fashion week, but it leaves a little to be desired with an ad campaign that ultimately offers not much more than flicking through a look book (albeit an early view of it).
There are no shots of the shoot actually taking place (the image shown above was not on Snapchat); just the finished product. And even then, we’re talking largely stills, alongside a handful of videos that don’t offer any sound. It’s beautifully done, of course, but for the eager Snapchat audience, it feels as though an opportunity has been missed to capture that little bit more.
In fact the most authentic part of it, is the sincere looks of glee shown on the faces of Testino and Bailey in the shot below, taken together at the end. If only we could hear from them about what they’re creating. Kudos to Burberry for breaking the mould once again, but a more candid view is what will have made it a true winner for the season ahead.
“Lights, camera, trench coats!” reads the front page of the Burberry Times in an appropriate headline for a quirky on stage prop in the brand’s very own piece of musical theatre released today.
Inspired by the golden age of cinematic musicals, the British heritage brand has introduced a four-minute film (as below) as part of its first global festive campaign.
From London with Love, as it’s called, stars Romeo Beckham in his second appearance for the brand, as a boy who delivers the gift of love (through an enchanted glittering box) to young dancer couple, Hannah Dodds and Anders Hayward.
They are joined throughout the short film by 50 other dancers, as well as continuous references to the British capital, including the Queen’s Guard, a series of policemen with their classic custodian helmets, and the city’s recognisable architecture in the background. Even the wet weather – a Burberry staple – is seen, through a dance scene of multiple opened umbrellas.
The spot was directed by Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer, Christopher Bailey, who said: “This festive campaign is a celebration of everything we love at Burberry; the trench coat, the cashmere scarf, incredible music, our British weather, and working with great and talented people.”
It features a soundtrack called The Way that I Live, by British songwriter Ed Harcourt, who played live to a crowd of 500 guests this evening at a screening of the film at the brand’s flagship store at 121 Regent Street.
The campaign will run across outdoor advertising, cinema, and all of the brand’s 10 global social media platforms for the next three months. Its launch is accompanied by a push for the brand’s full range of gifts, from its Heritage trench coat to cashmere scarf, men’s tailoring, women’s eveningwear and newer beauty line, all of which feature in the film.
The big news today has of course been about Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts’ move to become an SVP at Apple, as well as the subsequent announcement of Christopher Bailey’s new title covering her role as well as his existing one as chief creative officer at the luxury brand. Here are the must-read stories on it:
As outlined in a statement from Apple, Ahrendts’ role will be to have “oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores”. She will join the company by mid-2014 and report directly into Apple CEO Tim Cook
Meanwhile, a tweet from Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal said the announcement is a signifier of how the “convergence of fashion and technology continues”, a sentiment that’s been echoed elsewhere. Vanessa Friedman of the FT wrote: “It also demonstrates the increasing give and take between luxury and tech, as great personal gadgets become luxury accessories, design plays a big role in brand equity, and luxury increasingly becomes tech-savvy”
Let’s not forget, Ahrendts is the second senior fashion executive to be hired by Apple this year. As reported by The Business of Fashion, Paul Deneve, former chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent joined Apple in July, and is thought to be working on wearable devices
But Ahrendts offers Apple another significant value too; namely understanding China. As highlighted by Quartz: “It is also gaining the expertise of one of the most successful luxury brands in China, which happens to be the world’s largest smartphone market and one of Apple’s target markets”
Over at The Telegraph there’s a great outline of how the first Apple Store came about under Steve Jobs, and grew to its 408 locations worldwide today. But it highlights how Ahrendts will not inherit a business without challenges. “Rivals such as Samsung and Microsoft have copied the Apple Store template and are expanding their own retail footprints around the world,” it says. And: “Apple retail has been without permanent leader for over a year following the brief tenure of former Dixons chief John Browett, who took over after Ron Johnson left in 2011 for the top job at JC Penney.”
But there’s also an argument the move is a bit of a step down for her – from the top of the pile at Burberry (not to mention the highest paid CEO on the FTSE 100 last year) to another fish in a big pond at Apple. Mashable has a few thoughts on that however, including the fact Apple could be grooming her for the CEO role in the future. It also outlines that Apple’s retail revenues are about seven times that of Burberry. (There’s some nice background info in this piece about the impact Ahrendts has made at Burberry too)
Meanwhile, the news of Bailey as Ahrendts’ successor at Burberry (taking on the dual role of chief creative and chief executive officer) has been met with mixed response. Shares dropped 7.6% on London’s stock exchange today, suggesting there’s not a great deal of confidence surrounding it, despite enormous backing from Ahrendts and from Burberry’s chairman Sir John Peace in the brand’s video announcement. During this, Bailey himself refers to the fact the brand has “only just started dreaming”, mentioning future strategies surrounding beauty and re-integrating Japan back into the business
As the Guardian reported, there were suggestions Bailey had been handed the top job to stop him following Ahrendts out of the door, though Burberry was forced to deny it. It instead reinforced the support he has in the rest of the company management team; in spite of the fact finance director Carol Fairweather only stepped into the role in July this year, and chief operating officer John Smith joined in March
Another piece from The Business of Fashion notes it is “truly unprecedented for a designer to graduate from creative director to chief creative officer to chief executive officer, as Bailey will have done when the transition is complete”. It asks: “Can Mr Bailey, someone who is not obviously au fait with the dollars and cents of balance sheets, intricacies of global supply chains and the excruciating detail of retail operations, run a multi-billion dollar creative business in every sense of the word and also communicate with analysts on Wall Street and in the City of London?”
As Friedman at the FT likewise says: “Now we have an art-school-trained man without an MBA atop a £7bn public company – albeit one who was always referred to by Ms Ahrendts as a “partner”. And we have final confirmation that these days, corporate and creative are becoming one and the same when it comes to high-end fashion. Argue all you want about whether or not it is a good development for either side (and I betcha people will argue) – the fact remains it has happened.”
The write-up for the session adds: “How do you engage your audience when ad views are voluntary? What happens when the physical and digital worlds intersect? How can data enable creativity? What if ads didn’t have to look or feel like ads? The only way to find the answers is through risk taking and experimentation.” There’s no denying Burberry Kisses ticks off all of that criteria.
Two years ago I wrote this article about the significant lack of fashion presence throughout Cannes. It focused on the fact that fashion communications remained largely about print ads selling product over campaigns selling ideas, a viewpoint I still hold at large, but certainly one that is beginning to shift – as proven by Burberry. In doing so, it’s sparking more relevance than ever for these brands to start making an appearance at Cannes, both on the delegates list and in those nominated for awards.
Elsewhere at Cannes therefore are other fashion types in attendance too – Vivienne Westwood speaking with SapientNitro to “de-construct the narrative behind some of the most innovative stories of all-time”, and photographer Annie Leibovitz as part of a panel discussing the “genesis, evolution and continued success of the global ‘Disney Dream Portraits Series’.”
“At events like SXSW, there is a lot of information. And information can become useful knowledge for marketers. However, what really moves people is inspiration. And that’s where Cannes keeps its edge for marketers. While SXSW may be about informing and finding that Next Big Thing, Cannes’ focus has been about pushing this industry of ours forward,” he says.
It reflects my own sentiments exactly. I’m well versed in both, but Cannes likewise wins for me* largely because of both the curation and the quality of its content. This is the place where true leaders come together to share not only best in class work, but overarching ideas and thoughts for the future of this space.
It’s a week where inspiration is utterly abound (alongside copious vats of rosé of course). Speakers over the last couple of years have spanned former US president Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Robert Redford, Sir John Hegarty, Alain de Botton, Patti Smith, Aaron Sorkin and more.
Yet it’s SXSW that the fashion industry has managed to get a good grip on in terms of its relevance to them – all manner of luxury brands and major retailers have been in attendance these past couple of years, as I’ve previously covered, to source both content and opportunities for partnerships within the largely tech-focused world. Of course at SXSW there are now huge volumes of agency folk too, and at Cannes an increasing number of technology companies.
Two years ago I wrote this article about the significant lack of fashion presence throughout Cannes. It focused on the fact that fashion communications remained largely about print ads selling product over campaigns selling ideas, a viewpoint I still hold at large, but certainly one that is beginning to shift. In doing so, it’s sparking more relevance than ever for these brands to start making an appearance at Cannes, both on the delegates list and in those nominated for awards.
The great news is, 2013 looks like the year that might take shape.
Burberry is one of a number, alongside adidas and Volkswagen, involved in Google’s Art, Copy & Code initiative, a follow-up to its Project Re-Brief last year. This is “a series of projects and experiments to show how creativity and technology can work hand in hand”.
The write-up for the session at Cannes adds: “How do you engage your audience when ad views are voluntary? What happens when the physical and digital worlds intersect? How can data enable creativity? What if ads didn’t have to look or feel like ads? The only way to find the answers is through risk taking and experimentation.”
[Side note here as to Google’s subtle but increasing infiltration into the fashion industry across all aspects of its business – way beyond just search].
Elsewhere at Cannes there are other fashion types in attendance too – Vivienne Westwood speaking with SapientNitro to “de-construct the narrative behind some of the most innovative stories of all-time”, and photographer Annie Leibovitz as part of a panel discussing the “genesis, evolution and continued success of the global ‘Disney Dream Portraits Series’.”