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Cannes 2012: The animal called 'Millennial'

By , Seminars, Cannes | In Advertising | June 22, 2012
At the 59th Festival of Creativity, speakers deliberated on the topic 'Millennials and the future of creativity'. They discussed the emergence of this new consumer base and the steps brands should take while to talking to them.

The 'youth' is and will always remain a mystery to brands and owners of brands, who try their best to define this species of consumers in their effort to capture the market. At the 59th Festival of Creativity, speakers deliberated on the topic 'Millennials and the future of creativity'.

The speakers for the seminar included Stephen Friedman, president, MTV; Jon Chu, producer and creator; and Selena Gomez, actor and singer. The session was moderated by Philippe Dauman, president and chief executive officer, Viacom.

Cannes 2012

Dauman said, "Currently, the world has about 2.4 billion 'Millennials'. 'Milllennials' are the people born between the years 1980 and 2000. These people are the revolutionaries as they are constantly creating new ways of consumption and engagement patterns. While Gen-X was about individuals and their choices, this particular species wants to be a part of every creative or creation process."

He then asked Gomez how she remained in constant touch with her fans and followers. She replied that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow her to stay connected to her fans. Gomez cited the example of how her fans helped her to pick the fragrance for the perfume she intended to launch in the market.

Adding to her point, Chu said, "Earlier, while the director was never noticed, now, thanks to the growth of technology, a director can start a story much before the release of the film by sharing interesting details with followers on social networks and further carry the conversation after the release of the film."

Dauman then asked Friedman about the kind of content that consumers expect and whether it is the same for all platforms. According to Friedman, consumers or viewers have great expectations from content and content has to be different for all platforms, from television to radio and mobile. Therefore, brands have to understand and customise content for various media."

Next, Dauman asked whether conversation helps to create more content and how one should use the content in that case.

Giving his own example, Chu stated that as a director, he shares many ideas and experiments online and through conversations that take place, he is able create more out of the experiments. At times, he said, he is also able to use the new content in his films. He then cited the example of the film Justin 'Never Say Never', which centres on the teen sensation and how the director was able to create more content for behind-the-scene footage and footage from the day of preview of the movie.

Friedman talked on how television drama would generally run one season after another, and now runs on episode to episode. He explained, "Earlier, we used left over behind-the-scene content from older seasons to build the excitement for the new season. Now it is being done for episodes. Everything is driven by the hunger of the audience as the new generation wants to know about everything, has an opinion on everything and finally, wants to participate in everything."

Chu also mentioned that while working for a movie, the team has to be really careful about bringing a brand on board as it has to fit into the movie and should not look forced. "A product should be an actual part of storytelling because this generation believes in authenticity," he remarked.

Dauman concluded the session by emphasising how brands should embrace this generation and make them an active part of the process.

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