Well, I’m not over Cannes yet.
As I continue to reflect on the week, I keep coming back to the importance of storytelling as the “glue” that holds Cannes together. It informs how almost every company presents itself — Google has the Creative Sandbox, Microsoft hosted a session with the creators of the Lego movie, and the list goes on.
But what is demonstrated at Cannes emanates from how a company approaches the industry every day. In my last blog, I talked about the cornerstones of Cannes being creativity and community. These have to be woven into a company’s culture every day.
The Festival is a forum for recognition — not just in the official awards but in a conversation that goes far beyond the week about what it means to enable expression. Folks may create programming outside of the Palais but not outside of the spirit of the event — which is truly the biggest global platform for a company to make a splash amongst brands and their agencies (as well as amongst the competition).
And so in a week that celebrates our industry, I discovered that I had made a stunning (and mortifying) omission: I didn’t make a single mention of Clear Channel in my recent analysis of the week.
It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Clear Channel over the last three years to build a strategy around how to engage the industry — not at any one event, but throughout the year. You might call it “always on.” There is some spectacle (Clear Channel is MediaLink’s partner in our dinner on Tuesday evening) but the core of their presence is built on a foundation of year-round advocacy and partnership to create better storytelling.
Clear Channel’s seminal State of Listening Today report authoritatively presents the case for radio, covering the pervasiveness of audio, the explosion of radio listening via digital technology, how the medium can be effectively married with others to amplify marketing impact, and many other insights. Clear Channel Outdoor also works tirelessly throughout the year to advance not only the cause but the very medium of outdoor advertising, investing in groundbreaking products like the recently-launched Connect, the first global out-of-home mobile interactive platform.
Then there are the company’s measurement partnerships, like its collaboration with Nielsen to dive deep into the subject of radio ROI. And then make those analytics available to marketers.
And, of course, there is the investment they’ve made in building iHeartRadio and a world-class live events business — creating a true multi-platform audio company.
So if you listened to Jared Leto on the main stage in the Palais or spent time in the Clear Channel Outdoor Playground on the Croisette or any time interacting with the amazing executive team, you were a part of a story. A multi-year story being written by Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, William Eccleshare, Suzanne Grimes, Tim Castelli, Tim Spengler and many others about the power of audio and out-of-home. And about how a company preserves and expands its vanguard position in its mediums not by calling attention to itself, but by demonstrating — in credible fashion — how consumers utilize a medium, how brands can benefit from those media platforms and how powerful and important its solutions are in a marketing mix.
This sort of activation doesn’t happen overnight. Clear Channel took its maiden voyage to Cannes — “dipping their toe” as only Clear Channel can do, by creating the “must attend” event of the week and hoisting Elton John’s piano by crane over the Eden Roc. Today, they are an example of how to set the tone (pun intended) for how media companies can and should approach the industry.
Not just at Cannes, but every day.