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Cannes 2019: Comment dit-on “Hype”?

Cannes 2019: Comment dit-on “Hype”?

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

June 18, 2019

The Annex, Havas’ culture shop, knows.

“We started for a specific reason: Can ad agencies be culturally relevant?”

Launched just under four years ago, Havas Group’s The Annex has always aimed to create culture instead of latch onto what’s already out there.

“We started for a specific reason: Can ad agencies be culturally relevant?” said Havas North America Chairman and CEO and Co-Founder of the Annex Culture Network Paul Marobella.

To do that, he said, The Annex had to look outside the advertising industry when hiring, and is made up of musicians, social media influencers, and mural artists.

“People creating culture,” Marobella said to the audience gathered at the Havas Café.

The Annex brought their culture to the south of France yesterday with a day-long event dubbed “The Science of Hype” that included panel sessions on sneakers, music, and cutting through the culture clutter. The day was capped off with musical performances by StayLowRico and 6lack.

"Wearing a logo is not about identifying with a brand, but identifying with a community."

12:00pm: Sneaker Heat

“There’s a lot to learn from sneakers,” said Havas NYC CCO and Annex88 Founder Harry Bernstein, at the top of the “Sneaker Heat” panel, that featured footwear consultant Laura Helen Edwards and Jeff Carvalho, managing director of Highsnobiety.

No longer just regarded as “running shoes,” sneakers have become a luxury item and a staple of street fashion, or as Carvalho put it: “When aunts and uncles understand that Kanye West has a sneaker, you’re at a different place culturally.”

The panel centered on how brands like Adidas have tapped into and built “sneaker hype.”

How? Well, there’s a formula.

Bernstein said it was a combination of scarcity (“rarity drives interest”), influence (“someone influential talking about it), and accessibility (“it needs to be accessible.”

One of the best examples in recent years, Carvalho noted, was Adidas’ Ultra Boost tech. When first released in 2013, it was marketed as a running shoe. But after West wore the rare triple-white sneakers at a concert, the shoe and Ultraboost tech took off.

“Everyone tried to buy it and it became more scarce,” Carvalho said. “It’s an example of a non-fashion shoe that became a fashion shoe.”

When it comes to celebrity partnerships, there is a difference between “influencers” and a “person of influence,” he noted, with the former not being “elastic.”

“A person who does makeup tutorials on YouTube can only talk about make-up, not the new Samsung phone,” Carvalho said. “A person of influence can apply design language to a variety of products.

Edwards added: “The purpose of ‘hype’ is to build a halo model.”

Luxury brands now see sneakers as an entry point for young consumers to a larger, and more expensive product line, she said.

“Wearing a logo is not about identifying with a brand, but identifying with a community,” Carvalho added.

For marketers and agencies, Edwards did warn about the perils of collaboration and the oversaturation it brings.

“When it comes to collaboration, do much less,” she said, adding that a collaboration must benefit both sides. “Far too many people are using collaboration to drive interest and don’t have a robust budget or strategy around it. It’s not even getting written about, it just becomes an RSS feed on a blog. Do something well once a year rather than do 12 collaborations a month.”

"If you have zero dollars in your bank account, you’re the first to come up with great ideas."

4:00pm: Music Heat

After a morning session that looked at how sneaker brands build hype, the afternoon session “Music Heat” looked at what artists and music companies need to overcome to keep and maintain “heat.”

Sean Famoso McNichol, co-founder of LVRN, an American record label and management company, said the label found success because they created a model that doesn’t exist in the music industry, by taking virtual unknowns and making them stars.

“If you have zero dollars in your bank account, you’re the first to come up with great ideas,” he said.

McNichol was joined by Marobella, rapper StayLowRico, and Branden Peters, Annex Bookstore Associate Creative Director.

Due to the small to non-existent barrier to entry to the music industry today (you can create a song and upload it to a platform in no time), it’s imperative that record companies design templates around the artist.

“Music is only the soundtrack to what you create,” McNichol said. “You can fall in love with a song, but if you’re not in love with the artist, you only love the song.”

Brands and record companies, he said, both often come to the artists with an agenda and “force the artist to fit into an agenda.”

“You’ll never see one of our artists in a plug and play scenario,” he added. “Brands talk authenticity and grassroots stuff, all these buzzwords, but don’t mean sh*t when you talk about the hierarchy of the business world. You can’t tell us how we’re going to give you the best content ever, we’ll tell you how we’re going to help you get the best content out of us for that part of your agenda.”

It’s that level of authenticity, Marobella noted, that led to the success of the Annex’ “Start The Par-dee” musical collaboration between Lil’ Yachty and Donny Osmond for Chef Boyardee.

“They actually wrote that together. They have memories of eating it when they were younger,” he said. “It’s engagement with the brand and it shows.”

That oddball pairing, Peters said, is something brands should consider doing in the future as consumers are well beyond caring about any perceived norms and rivalries.

“In 10 years, Nike and Adidas will be doing shoes together,” he said.

“We started for a specific reason: Can ad agencies be culturally relevant?”

Launched just under four years ago, Havas Group’s The Annex has always aimed to create culture instead of latch onto what’s already out there.

“We started for a specific reason: Can ad agencies be culturally relevant?” said Havas North America Chairman and CEO and Co-Founder of the Annex Culture Network Paul Marobella.

To do that, he said, The Annex had to look outside the advertising industry when hiring, and is made up of musicians, social media influencers, and mural artists.

“People creating culture,” Marobella said to the audience gathered at the Havas Café.

The Annex brought their culture to the south of France yesterday with a day-long event dubbed “The Science of Hype” that included panel sessions on sneakers, music, and cutting through the culture clutter. The day was capped off with musical performances by StayLowRico and 6lack.

"Wearing a logo is not about identifying with a brand, but identifying with a community."

12:00pm: Sneaker Heat

“There’s a lot to learn from sneakers,” said Havas NYC CCO and Annex88 Founder Harry Bernstein, at the top of the “Sneaker Heat” panel, that featured footwear consultant Laura Helen Edwards and Jeff Carvalho, managing director of Highsnobiety.

No longer just regarded as “running shoes,” sneakers have become a luxury item and a staple of street fashion, or as Carvalho put it: “When aunts and uncles understand that Kanye West has a sneaker, you’re at a different place culturally.”

The panel centered on how brands like Adidas have tapped into and built “sneaker hype.”

How? Well, there’s a formula.

Bernstein said it was a combination of scarcity (“rarity drives interest”), influence (“someone influential talking about it), and accessibility (“it needs to be accessible.”

One of the best examples in recent years, Carvalho noted, was Adidas’ Ultra Boost tech. When first released in 2013, it was marketed as a running shoe. But after West wore the rare triple-white sneakers at a concert, the shoe and Ultraboost tech took off.

“Everyone tried to buy it and it became more scarce,” Carvalho said. “It’s an example of a non-fashion shoe that became a fashion shoe.”

When it comes to celebrity partnerships, there is a difference between “influencers” and a “person of influence,” he noted, with the former not being “elastic.”

“A person who does makeup tutorials on YouTube can only talk about make-up, not the new Samsung phone,” Carvalho said. “A person of influence can apply design language to a variety of products.

Edwards added: “The purpose of ‘hype’ is to build a halo model.”

Luxury brands now see sneakers as an entry point for young consumers to a larger, and more expensive product line, she said.

“Wearing a logo is not about identifying with a brand, but identifying with a community,” Carvalho added.

For marketers and agencies, Edwards did warn about the perils of collaboration and the oversaturation it brings.

“When it comes to collaboration, do much less,” she said, adding that a collaboration must benefit both sides. “Far too many people are using collaboration to drive interest and don’t have a robust budget or strategy around it. It’s not even getting written about, it just becomes an RSS feed on a blog. Do something well once a year rather than do 12 collaborations a month.”

"If you have zero dollars in your bank account, you’re the first to come up with great ideas."

4:00pm: Music Heat

After a morning session that looked at how sneaker brands build hype, the afternoon session “Music Heat” looked at what artists and music companies need to overcome to keep and maintain “heat.”

Sean Famoso McNichol, co-founder of LVRN, an American record label and management company, said the label found success because they created a model that doesn’t exist in the music industry, by taking virtual unknowns and making them stars.

“If you have zero dollars in your bank account, you’re the first to come up with great ideas,” he said.

McNichol was joined by Marobella, rapper StayLowRico, and Branden Peters, Annex Bookstore Associate Creative Director.

Due to the small to non-existent barrier to entry to the music industry today (you can create a song and upload it to a platform in no time), it’s imperative that record companies design templates around the artist.

“Music is only the soundtrack to what you create,” McNichol said. “You can fall in love with a song, but if you’re not in love with the artist, you only love the song.”

Brands and record companies, he said, both often come to the artists with an agenda and “force the artist to fit into an agenda.”

“You’ll never see one of our artists in a plug and play scenario,” he added. “Brands talk authenticity and grassroots stuff, all these buzzwords, but don’t mean sh*t when you talk about the hierarchy of the business world. You can’t tell us how we’re going to give you the best content ever, we’ll tell you how we’re going to help you get the best content out of us for that part of your agenda.”

It’s that level of authenticity, Marobella noted, that led to the success of the Annex’ “Start The Par-dee” musical collaboration between Lil’ Yachty and Donny Osmond for Chef Boyardee.

“They actually wrote that together. They have memories of eating it when they were younger,” he said. “It’s engagement with the brand and it shows.”

That oddball pairing, Peters said, is something brands should consider doing in the future as consumers are well beyond caring about any perceived norms and rivalries.

“In 10 years, Nike and Adidas will be doing shoes together,” he said.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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