Danny Rogers: Earning a place at Cannes and beyond

What was once the Cannes Advertising Festival, founded in the 1950s, has now been rebranded as the International Festival of Creativity, because the lines between advertising, PR and other marketing techniques have blurred.

So while there was the traditional ceremony for the world’s most creative TV commercials on Saturday night, the PRs got their own bash in the Grand Palais last Monday.Donning my own crumpled linen suit I headed down to the Cannes PR bash only to be faced by more than 1,000 ad creative types decked out in military shorts and trainers. Somewhat bizarrely, the PRaward entries in Cannes – and indeed the winners – largely came fromad agencies.

This is dispiriting for the PR agencies, who still feel that Cannes isn’t really their event, but shows how important PR is becoming in the marketing world. The quality of“PR” entries by ad agencies was very high.

This is because successful marketing campaigns these days increasingly need public relations elements. I mean the ability to hold a dialogue with consumers rather than simply broadcast brand messages; to gain third party endorsement from peer groups or editorial media; and to create strong stories that grab attention.

For example, a campaign run by Droga5 New York to promote the rapper Jay-Z’s new book, Decoded. In a series of audacious stunts, the agency recreated pages of the book in places where Jay-Z had lived. These images could be tracked via theinternet and pieced together. It won a Grand Prix in the “media” awards at Cannes.

Today’s buzz-words may be crowd-sourcing and integration, but success is underpinned by effective public relations. Danny Rogers is editor of ‘PR Week’

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