The future of marketing, as seen at Cannes Lions
Last year John Winsor, founder and CEO of Victors & Spoils wrote a post titled The Dinosaurs of Cannes about the scene at the Cannes Lions Festival, the ad industry’s star-studded annual awards show. Winsor said, “As you walked down La Croisette the rest of the week, you could see lots of dinosaurs basking in their glory while asking what all the furry and feathered things running around at their feet and flying around above them were.” This year the new mammals and birds of the industry have begun to strut their stuff.
What these new species have in common is that they’re based on open systems. These systems are digital at their core, and leverage network effects and the ability of the “digital democracy” to find the best talent and ideas wherever they exist. Unlike closed marketing systems, characterized by agencies that wall off their in-house talent (creating a scarce and expensive resource), open marketing systems seek talent from anywhere in the world to solve problems, and then curate the best answers.
Such systems are taking on incumbents in every industry. Airbnb is not only challenging the biggest hotel chains but also challenging the bureaucracy, going after the New York City housing and tax laws that stand it its way. Now, with a valuation of $10 billion, Airbnb has the capital to take on the hotel industry and its supporters globally. The app-enabled car-sharing service Uber has also become a global phenomenon with a valuation of over $18 billion. In an ironic turn, cab drivers in London, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid decided to strike in June, 2014 to protest Uber. The result: Uber gained several hundred thousand new members. Quirky is disrupting incumbents in consumer product design and innovation, Local Motors in the automobile business, Relay Rides in car rentals and Kickstarter and AngelList in the financial sector. Name an industry and there is a new open-system player leveraging the power of the networked world to build a paradigm-shifting competitor. […]
This year at Cannes it felt like the light finally went on. […] These open-system mammals and birds have evolved to a point where they are beginning to articulate and deliver on the new paradigm while the dinosaur guardians of the old, closed marketing world are starting to acknowledge the shift.