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Memo to Self: A PR’s Guide to the Paris Air Show

Corporate Reputation ,Culture ,Energy
Paris Air Show Close Up

It has passed again, the Paris Air Show is over; everyone has returned home; the airplanes are gone; the chalets and stands have been cleared out; Le Bourget airport is back to being a very large, empty apron.

It has passed again, the Paris Air Show is over; everyone has returned home; the airplanes are gone; the chalets and stands have been cleared out; Le Bourget airport is back to being a very large, empty apron.

As so while the memory is still fresh, here’s a memo to myself: a short list of things I want to remember for the next show and the one in between (Farnborough).

1. Plan, but not too much. An event that attracts over 40,000 people is a busy affair and while there are many knowns, such as booth size, location, display items, and marketing materials, there are many things which aren’t known despite the best planning – announcements, press engagement, industry news and much more.

2. No fixed strategy for announcement timing. Planning (i.e. a timing strategy) is particularly tricky for announcements. Some years the big boys announce orders on Monday, crowding everything else out. Some years, as with this one, they wait until Tuesday and Wednesday, which previously was the chance for the smaller players to get some media air-time.

3. Organize press events. Surprisingly, press events either with an announcement or not, seemed to work quite well and get a fair bit of media attendance. If companies can conduct press events to demo a specific piece of technology then all the better. Couple it with a customer and media is likely to be interested.

4. Take a little personal time. If you’re there with clients, be sure they are happy (even if you’re in-house). BUT, on top of doing what you’re there to do, be sure to take some time for the sheer entertainment of the event. I was reminded of this when sitting in an interview between a client and a passionate aerospace journalist. He cut the interview short with the CEO because he wanted to snap some shots of the Rafale fighter jet that was about to thunder overhead. And it was OK.

5. Show your passion. There are a lot of aviation geeks. Showing your inner geek is the easiest way to meet others at the show. The sector draws enthusiasts unlike any other sector, and most are useful contacts in one way or another. Take advantage of the huge networking opportunity this presents.

6. Transport is a nightmare. Stay in central Paris. Transport around Le Bourget is a nightmare during the show. Stay in town, in a lovely boutique hotel for which Paris is famous; take the RER from Gard du Nord to Le Bourget and then walk 15 minutes to the show. On the way home, book yourself a MotoTaxi and beat all of Paris’s rush-hour traffic. It’s worth every penny.

Edelman supported a number of clients on their media and social media programmes at the show. Get in touch if you would like more information about the work we do in the aerospace & defence sector.

Written by: Philippe Polman, Account Director at Edelman

How a golden lion gives permission to reach for the stars


Edelman's Global Chair, Creative Strategy Jackie Cooper reports back on Cannes Lions 2015. She saw how anything is possible with the raft of campaigns and submissions that harnessed passions and moved opinions.

It’s a week ago that I was in the green room at the Cannes Lions with Jamie Oliver and Richard Edelman as we prepped for their session in the main auditorium. There was a feeling of show business mixed with ambition at Cannes and the challenge is to deliver an experience on the stage that is more than having a famous person in the chair. While I am biased regarding Jamie (I sit on his board) and Richard (I sold my company to him and he is my boss…!) their session was indeed entertaining but also informative and provocative. Jamie is a man on a mission and his whole organisation is geared up to engage in noisy dialogue around better diet, kids’ health and the sheer love of cooking great food. Richard is also on a mission – leading this extraordinary company of 5,500 to continually trail blaze and set the agenda for communications marketing. What struck me as I stood in the wings of the stage listening to the audience laughing and responding is that with passion and hard work, truly anything is possible.

The hope of winning a Lion at Cannes turbo-charges our permission to create amazing work. We saw how anything is possible with the raft of campaigns that harnessed passions and moved opinions. From the super smart safety truck for Samsung out of Argentina to the haunting holograms for freedom from Madrid, the empty statues dressed in clothing of victims for the anti-gun campaign for Illinois – these campaigns wrapped themselves around your heart before reaching your head. All of human life was represented in the award submissions: safety, medical issues (and fantastic to see the epic ALS campaign get Lion recognition), education, diversity – a plethora of purpose.

Our six Lion wins made all of us so proud. The Gold win for Adobe Photoshop’s Murder Mystery campaign was a dream come true for the team led by Tom Parker who is always telling me we need to celebrate the work – well we certainly did!

The challenge is to bring this back to our daily lives when we are away from the Croisette – when our clients are also back in reality. The call of the Lion liberates us to move the needle and concentrate on elevating our creative delivery. This must be present every day if we are to deliver work that truly starts movements and fundamentally makes a difference. We ran a competition open to all our staff to win a ticket to Cannes. The price of entry? A great idea. This initiative not only gave permission to create but opened the world of ideas for any client they wanted. Our winners were amazing and acted as roving reporters for the week as well as totally loving the whole Cannes experience. But more than that we have now have a treasure trove of ideas from all our entrants that we will be reaching out to clients with – the only agenda being a passion for their business and a creative solution that comes with a ton of heart and a dose of smart.

Lions CEO Phil Thomas tells me they have data that shows that winning at Cannes increases business wins for agencies. If you show your mettle by winning the metal that is indeed both compelling and reassuring for clients. And so let’s keep the pull of the Lions present every day – the only restrictions are the ones we put on ourselves.

Written by: Jackie Cooper, Global Chair, Creative Strategy at Edelman

Cannes Round Two
By Richard Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight ,Culture ,Innovation
Jamie Oliver Richard Edelman

President and CEO of Edelman, Richard Edelman, reflects on his second time attending the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, including his personal highlight; an hour-long conversation on the main stage with superstar chef Jamie Oliver

I am just back from my second trip to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France where my personal highlight was an hour-long conversation on the main stage with superstar chef Jamie Oliver, who was a delightful conversation partner. We covered a wide range of topics, from his commitment to improving youth nutrition to his attitude toward innovation (he said that he had failed in nearly half of his ideas but plunged ahead nevertheless).

Edelman had a great showing again this year in the Cannes Lions PR category, with a Gold Lion for the Adobe* Photoshop Halloween Murder Mystery campaign, solidifying Adobe’s role, not just as a tool for creativity, but as the creative brand. We also won three awards for Unilever’s Dove* (two bronze and one silver), plus another silver for Adobe and a bronze for the American Egg Board’s* Eggs and Bacon (that is Kevin Bacon) program.

Here are a few observations on the four days at Cannes:

1.The PR Industry Is Coming On — For the first time, PR firms won the majority of the Lions in the PR category. The Lions won by ad agencies such as the pop-up gun shop in New York City from Grey New York were well deserved. Our work needs to be more “Show” and less reliant on “Tell.” We also need to achieve more tangible business objectives.

2. Short Form Video Works — An eight-second video of a kid jumping into water with a pair of Keds sneakers was beautiful and effective. A researcher on video said that handsome guys and cute dogs are overrated in terms of virality… better to make the brand the hero.

3. The Blurring of Born Digital and Mainstream Media — Snapchat Live, a platform for on the scene reporting by citizen journalists, is now being used by eleven media companies including Conde Nast, Hearst and National Geographic to post “capsules of content.” A stunning statistic from Snapchat: 20 percent of those who attend an NBA game are posting content to Snapchat Live.

4. Entertain Then Inform — The United Nations is launching its Global Goals with an ad on movie screens around the world done by Sir John Hegerty and film maker Richard Curtis, which then allows personal pledges of money or action via a cell phone app. Curtis said, “It cannot be how dire our situation is. It must be how we can do it.”

5. Privacy and Data — WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said that the holding company is aggregating data from its research companies to assemble a way to compete with Google and Facebook. “As long as the consumer knows what the data is being used for, then it is ok for us to use it. The consumer must get value in return for use of his or her data. Total transparency is necessary.” A senior executive from Intel said that people need to own their data. “If I trust your company, I will share my data. At the moment, it’s too hard to understand what’s happening with my data.”

6. The Best Lincoln Meme — Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, said that we are moving from marketing to people (broadcast advertising) and with the people (curation) to marketing for the people with ideas that are trusted and transform business.

7. Ephemeral Versus Anonymous — Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said his community offers up its phone numbers so that his company can offer “good targeting.”

8. Video Ads in Middle — Pre-roll ads are irritating and not as effective as placement in the midst of editorial.

9. Much of Best Work for NGOs — A good example is Ogilvy’s work on female genital mutilation, with stitches sewing together national flags from developed nations such as the UK that had been sundered and dotted with blood with the tag line “It Happens Here.” Another is the work for UNICEF by Y&R in Chile on bullying, with young boys with cell phones intimidating a “nerd” who cowers under the sink in the men’s room. To combat violence at soccer games in Brazil, a local NGO hired a bunch of mothers of fans, put them in jerseys with the label Security Moms and had them all over the stadium.

10. Funniest Work — The Hands Off Experience, which advertised free access to a pornographer’s entire library if the online user was able to keep his hands on the keyboard for the entire viewing session. A distant second was the Inactivity Tracker for Joe Boxer pajamas, tracking lack of physical movement.

I have concluded that Cannes is a perfect pair with Davos for Edelman and others in our sector. I come home more convinced than ever that PR firms can compete for the lead creative idea, for community activation and for continuous storytelling. We have to reclassify our work as communications marketing so that we are able to initiate the concepts, not simply magnify advertising creative. Our advantages include speed, innate sense of news and convergence of brand marketing with reputation. When I leaned over to Jackie Cooper, our global creative director, during the outdoor advertising Lions, and muttered, “Wow, we could have done that campaign,” she responded, “Well, then, why don’t we damn well do it and stop talking about it.” Now there is a cactus under my saddle until we return in 2016.

This article originally appeared on Richard Edelman’s 6A.M. Blog.

*Edelman Client

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

How Tech Leaders Target “a Giant Leap for Energy”

Corporate Reputation ,Energy ,Innovation

Bill Gates’ upbeat assessment of the feasibility of new forms of energy in an interview with the FT provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the man who co-founded Microsoft and drove the microchip revolution.

Bill Gates’ upbeat assessment of the feasibility of new forms of energy in an interview with the FT provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the man who co-founded Microsoft and drove the microchip revolution.

Gates told the FT that he has invested $1bn (£650m) into more than 40 energy ventures and plans to double his investment in green technologies to around £1.3bn.

Gates detailed a number of ambitious projects which if successful will revolutionise how we source energy.  Gates’ positive articulation of the opportunities in clean-tech present a positive vision of a non-too-distant future.

Projects range from “nuclear recycling”, where reactors will be powered by depleted uranium to “artificial photosynthesis” which could lead to devices that harness sunlight to split water into hydrogen fuel.

One project sure to capture the public’s imagination is high-altitude wind power that harnesses the kinetic energy of kites and flying turbines to capture previously inaccessible energy.

Another company funded by Gates is Calgary-based Carbon Engineering which is commercialising technology that removes and captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.  The captured CO² can be used commercially by industry and consumers.

Significantly, Gates calls for governments to invest tens of billions to prioritise zero-carbon energy sources. While the idea of investment into renewable energy on the same scale as the Manhattan Project and Apollo moon missions might sound fanciful in an age of austerity the challenge of arresting rising carbon emissions demands radical solutions.

As an experienced global business leader, Gates succeeds in talking convincingly about the feasibility of new forms of energy. When Bill Gates speaks investors listen.

It is highly instructive to see that business leaders who made their fortune in technology now see energy as the big opportunity.  In April, Elon Musk, a tech-pioneer, launched the vision of the battery powered home. Tesla’s lithium-ion storage batteries charges using electricity generated from solar power and “powers your home in the evening”. The launch generated excitement around the world to the reality of offgrid power.

By highlighting his burgeoning energy portfolio in the FT, Gates directly reaches a broad audience of global business and government audiences. His point that some energy investors will reap returns like those who invested in Microsoft, Apple or Google when they started out, is a positive one and not lost on anyone.

Microsoft is an Edelman client.

Written by: Michael Zdanowski, Associate Director at Edelman

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