According to Jarred Cinman, CEO of the recently rebranded VMLY&R South Africa, any brand that is not truly connected with its consumers is at risk of survival in the future.

Cinman said that consumers care less and less every day about advertising that is irrelevant, interruptive, boring and irritating. ‘We all know creativity sells, but there’s no question that if agencies don’t transform themselves to become more results-focused, they cannot offer clients better value and real growth.’

Cinman stated for example, that for the first time in its 90-year history, clothing retail brand Edgars won a Bronze Lion (entertainment category) plus two shortlists (brand experience and entertainment) at Cannes this year for the ‘Don’t tell me what to do’ campaign created by VMLY&R South Africa.

He explained how this was a comprehensive campaign and its multiple touch points created an anthem of self-expression. The audience was set free to create their own social content using the Sho Madjozi clothing range, specifically created for the campaign to celebrate their individuality. By connecting the brand to every part of culture, from Madjozi’s specially-released song to a heritage collection named for her and a live relaunch, they shifted the Edgars brand from pedestrian to dynamic and made it impossible to ignore. In the process achieving a 533% increase in sentiment for the Edgars brand.

Globally, the VMLY&R network walked away from Cannes with 2 Grands Prix, 1 Titanium, 4 Gold, 7 Silver, 17 Bronze and 68 shortlists. ‘What all the award-winning work has in common, is its ability to really engage with the customer in a culturally relevant manner,’ said Cinman.

Whether it’s a Wendy’s avatar in Fortnite destroying freezers to create awareness of its fresh beef offering, or Santa Casa Hospital in Brazil using Latin American superstar Anitta to promote women’s health, or educating Polish men about sexuality and gender issues while challenging the county’s poor record for misogyny, through the country’s most popular porn magazine, and then shutting it down, all campaigns brought the conversation to the customer in new and exciting ways.

Cinman believes that the dramatic impact of technology on consumers now means that agencies have to re-engineer the brand experience across every touch point.