Cannes Lions 2013: Sincerity and transparency are now mainstays of marketing, but delivering them with a unexpected twist is vital

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One of the noticeable realities of marketing that the work at the Cannes Lions 2013 festival brought to life was the importance of sincerity and transparency. However, transparency and sincerity was brought to life differently, being more human and grounded. Consumers clearly expect the companies and Brands that they buy from to give it to them straight. Anything misleading or deceivingly exaggerated immediately makes the hairs on people’s backs go up. For this reason, the role of PR is becoming more important and is changing as a discipline. The discipline acts as reality check, as a core part of most marketing programs, and as a champion of social (or at least it should) given the value of two-way conversation in the era of sincerity and transparency.

Transparency and sincerity can manifest itself in a very straightforward way, allowing the inside of a company or Brand to be shared with the consumer public at large. However, it needs to be done with entertainment so that there is willingness to engage. Moreover, bringing this to life with a twist furthers the human aspect of the company or Brand which gives the initiative that much more credibility. A great example was the Grand Prix winning work for supermarket chain Auchan. They used receipts as the main vehicle to share their sustainability report. Instead of keeping a report buried on their website they went to their customers directly and offered (through mobile) to give them the information when it was most relevant – connected to the products they just bought.

Another way that transparency and sincerity can manifest itself is through shock, or over-realism. It is a way to make the truth so vivid and so relatable that you cannot help but be engaged. A great example of this is work done for La Voz del Interior called Life Signs. In short it wanted to create a debate about what can be done to stop “bad news”. One of the main topics of bad news were accidents. As such it found a way of using real accident manifestations as a way of introducing new “signs” to the community at large forcing them to think about driving habits differently. Brilliant.

A final perspective on communicating with transparency and sincerity through consumer involvement around a universally understood human need, frustration, or concern. A fantastic example of this is the Grand Prix winning work form Intel and Toshiba called “The Beauty Inside”. The project was a film where there hero takes on a different person everyday which turns his ability to express and enjoy his love for a woman a trying task. The audience was able to take on one of the “incarnations” and try to help the hero communicate and share his emotions with his love. Stunning (see below).

Another piece of work that reflects this aspect of transparency and sincerity is from Oreo Cookies. Here they use social as their forum and reflect on daily realities to provide their perspective on the world. The project is brilliant because it really shows the Brand’s human side while being incredibly reactive and thus exposes the Brand, making it vulnerable, which indirectly gives it resonance because it is being real.

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