By Jeremy Bost
BIG day in Cannes today, and it’s not even nearly done. Celebrities, galas, awards and concerts. It’s all happening! For me. Not for you. You’re at work. Technically I’m at work as well, but with the aforementioned celebrities, galas, awards and concerts. All that and more is happening tonight and so will have to be reported on later, but in the meantime please enjoy today’s seminars:
“Crowd sourcing”. Good or bad? You’ve likely already heard of the Fiat Mio, the world’s first crowd sourced car. Traditionally, the conceptualization of a new car is a very closely guarded secret along the lines of Coke’s secret recipe. What Fiat did however, was invite consumers to collaboratively design a car for them, eliciting a huge response from around the world resulting in the Mio.
Henry Ford once said ‘If Id asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse’. Looking at this Mio, I’d have taken the horse.
Though what’s interesting is how true the audience stayed to the brand. It’s very obviously a Fiat in that’s it’s small and girly. It’s ‘cute’. The technology in it is of course amazing – drive by wire and wireless charging – but I prefer a bit of brutality in my wheels.
I look forward to the day when another brand, Porsche for example, crowd sources a new model. Now that, would be cool car!
Story telling with Robert Redford
We’re in the business of telling stories, and ‘Bob’ is amongst the very best. Actor, Director, Writer and Creator of the Sundance Film Festival, he left us with the following words of advice:
- A good story is something you haven’t seen before.
- Always take a risk. Be unconventional.
- When you succeed, don’t dwell on what made you successful. Go back to zero and you’ll find something new.
SMG presents… TED!
I’d been told to expect the unexpected with TED, and yet I still wasn’t quite ready. At Cannes so far I’ve seen many great examples of good work, of new ideas and the bright lights of the future. They’re all great, though often predictable. This was something else…
Filled with pride at seeing the SMG logo above our own Laura Desmond as she made the introduction, it all went off kilter as soon as she left the stage, but in a very good way. It was surreal. TED speakers tell a story you’re not expecting to hear. On connectivity, they didn’t go to the obvious of the next generation of smart phones, internet television, internet cars, internet everything. They talked about the humble old Nokia 1100 and the ancient art of SMS.
This is a phone that is so old it’s still only a phone. Forget Angry Birds, it can’t play Tetris. It is though, a catalyst of a second technological and social revolution in the developing world. The developing world, if you haven’t noticed, is actually most of the world and we better pay attention.
Of many examples, the one that stood out most is what it’s done to Afghanistan. This phone and phones of similar vintage allowed a variation of mobile banking via SMS which had previously not existed.
When the newly formed Afghan Police force made the switch to mobile banking they thought they’d been given a raise, when all that had happened was the circumvention of the traditional and highly corrupt official institutions that skimmed 30% off their pay… and so pricing the Taliban out of the recruitment market. Social order and development via SMS. Crazy.
The last speaker was Sarah Kay. On Sarah, I don’t have anything adequate to say… She affected the audience unlike any speaker at Cannes I’ve seen. She performs poetry of the sort that doesn’t rhyme, but there’s a rhythm to her words that picks you up and holds you in
I’ve always been suspicious of hippies, hipsters and beatniks and assumed they called their performance “Spoken Word” because “Talking” won’t get them a government subsidy. But when you’re good, and young Sarah is, you’re very, very, very good. She can tell a hell of a story.
Jeremy Bost works at Starcom Mediavast which was voted the Agency Network of the Year at the Festival of Media 2011.