The Insider's Guide to Cannes: Q&A with Keith and Ken

Keith Reinhard, DDB's worldwide chairman, and Ken Kaess, the agency's president and chief executive, discuss Cannes, clients, creativity and offer advice to the talent of the future. Q: What gets your vote as the all-time classic Cannes Grand Prix winner?

Keith: Without question, my vote goes to"1984" for Apple Computer. It was a perfect commercial - a powerful idea, brilliantly executed. I chaired the Cannes jury that year. There were six jurors holding out for another commercial until I made a passionate speech in support of this great example of advertising impact. It was a single communication that not only launched a product but savagely repositioned the competition.

Q: What's your advice for delegates looking to get the most out of Cannes?

Ken: I would say there are two main things that delegates can get out of Cannes. First, it is a fantastic opportunity to see our industry's best work in terms of creativity. I would encourage the delegates to look at all the work including the cyber, media and direct marketing entries.

Second, Cannes represents an excellent opportunity to network. Our business is all about hiring and motivating the best talent and most of the great creative talent goes to Cannes.

Q: What do you say to a client who does not see the value in awards?

Ken: I really don't discuss awards with most clients. Awards are important to us because the best talent wants to work for agencies that win awards. Clients are, and should be, focused on getting great work that builds their business.

Q: Which global advertisers do you feel manage to marry business-building advertising with brilliant creative?

Keith: Volkswagen, Apple and Nike leap quickly to mind. Anheuser-Busch also builds brands with strong creative although they are not yet fully global. Sony has also done some brilliant work.

Q: What to you make of the decision to have a client on the judging panel for the first time this year?

Ken: I welcome the idea of having clients on the judging panel. Any opportunity to expose them to our best work and have an input on what wins will allow them to see us at our best and have an increased awareness of the value of what we do.

Q: How important was the presence of Procter & Gamble at Cannes last year?

Ken: I think it was wonderful. It shows that more and more clients are seeing great creative as a way to establish an emotional connection with consumers that results in positive business results.

Q: What effect has the global advertising recession had on creativity?

Keith: To paraphrase what the Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton, once said, we heard about the recession but we chose not to participate.

Q: Since you started out in the advertising business, how has the role of creatives changed and what are the latest challenges facing them?

Ken: Their jobs have become a lot more difficult. In today's complex media environment - where consumers are guests, not targets - the requirement for creative, entertaining ideas is higher than ever. And because of the myriad ways consumers can now be reached, "advertising" creatives have to be proficient in - or at least inclusive of - all the different forms of creativity.

Q: Where do you recognise the world's creative hotspots to be?

Keith: London is always a hotspot because of its cultural aversion to in-your-face, hard-sell advertising. Berlin is a hotspot of the future. Advertising agencies in Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg always surprise. In our network, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and Auckland also make the list.

Q: What's your advice for advertising's youngest generation of creatives?

Keith: Pursue ideas with a passion - ideas big enough to extend beyond advertising to the internet, sponsorship, entertainment content and live events. Also, learn Chinese.

Q: Any tips for a winner of the film Grand Prix this year?

Keith: Combine simplicity, surprise and a smile. It works every time.

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