Meribel Ad Festival: Cyber Cristal

Looking at it from a quantitative point of view, digital is, of course, growing fast.

After all, digital already counts for 10 per cent of all advertising spend in developed markets, and VSS announces that with an average 21 per cent yearly growth rate, the internet is expected to become the second media channel in the US in three years ...

But digital isn't growing as fast as it should. Think about it: the web represents 25 per cent of the time dedicated to media consumption; it's the favourite media channel of the younger generation (15-25); in 2006, for the first time, US consumers spent more time using the internet than watching television (Forrester Research).

So why this gap between the internet's contribution to people's life and its weight within the advertising market? Because the whole market (agencies, clients, other media ...) actually looks at it from a quantitative perspective, while a qualitative look is necessary.

The internet is not only a media channel (for placing traditional advertising), it's a totally new mindset. Time's 2006 Person Of The Year is ... You. We now live in a world where everything is on demand, at hand, challengeable, and nothing can be taken for granted anymore. The internet directly impacts a brand's position, sometimes even in their business model (for how long will Virgin sell "real" CDs and DVDs?). Brands are no longer 100 per cent in control of their own image, which naturally jeopardises their future. If they want to regain control, they have to totally reset their way of marketing themselves, adopt an inclusive and interactive way of exchanging with customers, and recruit brand advocates.

So digital must now sit at the centre of all integrated communication systems. To achieve that, brands will need partners who understand this revolution. For both historical and cultural reasons, traditional agencies are slower to respond to this revolution, even if (or because?) they still own the majority of the so-called "creative talents". We're not talking here about the quality of people, or their experience, but about their willingness and ability to take full advantage of the whole potential of digital (beyond a new classical media channel).

At the same time, digital specialists will only have to widen their creative range and hire talented people who share this spirit to secure their future. Thankfully, history is going into the same direction.

- Matthieu de Lesseux was an early advocate of the internet and in 1995 he launched Gedeon, a design and multimedia company. His conviction was contagious and big brands took their first internet steps with him, including Dior, Chanel and Elle. In 1997, Havas picked him to run the group's interactive agency ConnectWorld, where advertisers such as Peugeot, Givenchy and LVMH embraced his creative vision. In 1999 he co-founded Duke, an interactive agency with a vision to create innovative solutions for international clients such as Nissan, Rolex and Nike. Since 2003, de Lesseux has been the vice-president of the agencies' body the AACC (Association for Agencies in Communications Consultancy) and is the president of the AACC's interactive delegation.

Winner: Cyber Grand Cristal 2006
Title: Passeport De Vie
Client: Fondation Greffe De Vie
Agency: Leo Burnett Paris


Entry deadline 12 October 2007. Award ceremony 12 December 2007 in Meribel.