#OgilvyCannes Blog Post JB

How to Dominate the Social Voice at #CannesLions 2013


The Cannes Lions Festival was big for Ogilvy in two ways. First, we won 155 awards and earned Agency Network of the Year  for the second year in a row. Second, we dominated the online conversation throughout the entire week. We consciously applied our social, event activation model to ourselves. And it worked.

Community + Content

At Social@Ogilvy, we see the pivotal role that community direction combined with a strategic use of content can play in driving business. Community + Content is the new marketing model. And for once, the shoemaker’s children are wearing Manolo Blahniks.

We dropped our Community Director a hundred yards away from the Palais. We deputized a team of our best writers and bloggers – about 5 of us. Each was assigned sessions to cover and people to interview. We spun up a 3-person video interview team led by Thomas Crampton. They had “targets” – great influentials to catch after or between sessions. And we had a collection of Ogilvy people tweeting from wherever they were.

We established a common hashtag (#OgilvyCannes) and adopted one of the festival tags so we would be swept up in their coverage. All of our content fell under this tag making the stream of coverage easy to follow. We established a second-level page in ogilvydo.com as our content aggregator.

Making the Internet Visual and Visible

The content was highly visual. Our community director converted session coverage into shareable graphics and flipbook-style Slideshares. Even during our party (I was front row for Franz Ferdinand on the beach), we had roving people capturing the action via tablet cams. Images got captioned offsite and published immediately.

We wanted to enhance the experience for those on site as well as those who couldn’t make it there. For those at our events, we partnered with our good friends at Mass Relevance to build this massive streaming wall of content. Tweets and images flowed through screen in real time to expose people watching the screens to the online conversation.

We quickly discovered what people wanted by watching the data. Award news as-it-happened was big. So was coverage of sessions and discussions with interesting people. The team focused in on those two areas.

The Results

Our share of voice was huge. We didn’t have an army. Okay we did have an army in the legions of switched-on Ogilvy Twitter users.  But at the core, sat a Community Director, 4-5 core writers (only one of which was full-time) and a video interview crew.

We drew 122 million impressions on Twitter, which was about a 650% increase over the previous year. It was also 11,500 more mentions than our nearest competitor. Our year-on-year increase in content shares flew up over 8,000%. Even our SlideShare content, a minority of our overall efforts, was seen over 17,000 times.

Ogilvy & Mather had a great year in digital largely because we are digital and apply it to our own lives.

And the great news is that this event activation model is just one of the ways we apply social and digital practices to the work with our brands.