#CannesLions day three: Pharrell Williams, Jamie Oliver and artificial intelligence with Sir Tim Berners-Lee

CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 23: Pharrell Williams poses backstage as iHeartMedia hosts the main stage fireside chat about creativity with radio and television host and producer Ryan Seacrest and Grammy Award winner musician/entrepreneur Pharrell Williams during the Cannes Lions Festival at Grand Audi Theater, Palais on June 23, 2015 in Cannes, Framce. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Big name speakers shared their thoughts on creativity and branding on day three of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, while a focus on new technologies arrived with the inventor of the World Wide Web. Here are some of the highlights.

Pharrell Williams at Cannes Lions

1. Sharing intention
It was a packed house for the early morning session with musician Pharrell Williams today, with an incredibly humble interview hosted by Ryan Seacrest. The takeaway for marketers, was largely on intention. This should be the number one ingredient in any of your work, he said. He related this idea to music. While it’s a beautiful thing, he argued that it’s important for it not to just be sound. It’s not just about saying ‘I heard that’, but that ‘I felt it’, so there needs to be a second element to it, he explained; a more tactile one. It’s this that is the intention, and it’s this that should be written in right from the start. What it comes down to is the fact consumers can see straight through things. They can feel if it’s not authentic. “I love that,” said Pharrell. “It raises the stakes. It matters with everything you do.”

2. The robots are coming
Yesterday saw Dentsu’s Koichi Yamamoto reference the next era of data as being all about artificial intelligence. That theme emerged again today with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, taking to the stage. He shared insights into the way that AI will be useful, where it will replace human jobs, and where it might help businesses like Apple and Google make money. He was introduced by Mike Cooper from PHD who referred to us being at “11.59pm on the eve of the AI revolution”. He highlighted that over $57bn has been invested in AI to date, and that number is increasing 60% every year. “Success in inventing AI will be biggest success in human history, and it may be the last,” he joked. But he also highlighted that this is going to lead to a radical reorganisation of marketing; that we will have to change from frontal cortex decision making companies to algorithmic ones. “AI is not just heading for our industry, it’s going to pass right through our back yard,” he added.

3. The Naked Chef on trust and consistency
Chef and food activist Jamie Oliver, whose show The Naked Chef is now 17 years old, gave a rallying cry for the largely advertising-based audience to participate in the state of emergency for public health. For the first time in 2014, there were more people in the world who died from eating crap food than they did from famine, he explained. That astounding fact was followed up by the idea that he believes it’s ok to promote chocolate, but to do so with clear and honest messages in order to create trust with people. “Trust is a currency in short supply,” he added. Asked how he has managed to survive in the changing communications landscape, he said it comes down to consistency and relentlessness. “Just because you’re saying the same thing and inspiring the same emotions, doesn’t mean you can’t still dress it up differently every day,” he commented.

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