As excited as I am about PR being included this year at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, there is a certain irony in being invited for the first time during a recession. 2009 is predicted to be much more subdued on the party front. Pity…PR people may be newbies at Cannes, but they are the gurus of stylish events.
But the more serious quirk of fate is that 2009 is the year social media took centre stage in marketingland. So our debut at Cannes coincides with all the other disciplines discovering the power of the influencer and admitting that a positive brand touchpoint in earned media is worth exponentially more than a paid impression.
I looked up the criteria for the PR Lions. They are all about “…the creative use of reputation management by the building and preservation of trust and understanding between individuals, businesses or organisations and their publics.”
It is a bit of a mouthful, but Internet empowered trust between people, even across time and distance, is the fuel that makes the web 2.0 technologies work. So whether it is social networks like Facebook, or some of the more fascinating communication tools like Twitter, the intersection between technology and marketing is right where PR has always been. We have decades of practice helping brands earn their way into the public conversation.
I am too superstitious to predict what will win a PR Lion at Cannes, as we have several noble horses in that race. The rest of the field is easier to call. Burger King Sacrifice is a safe bet imho and Advertiser of the Year, Volkswagen, always does well in the Cyber Lions. When it is all done and dusted though, I foresee 2009 as the year that not just the Cannes folks, but all of adland finally “got” modern PR.
Please follow me — as well as the agency account — as we micro-document our Cannes coming out party and our Tweet-up seminar with Biz Stone. If you can’t make it to Cannes this year, tweet your question for Biz now to the @hillandknowlton account with hashtag #HKcannes