Mobile at Cannes, and why this is a stupid picture

(Originally posted on “Cannesterist”, July 19, 2013)

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This is a view of the Mojiva workshop this morning at the 2013 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, entitled “Smaller Screen Creative: Laying The Foundation For Campaign Success”. In other words, this is a hands-on session addressing one of the most vexing challenges facing agencies today – how to create content for the small screen. It was the most poorly attended workshop I’ve been to this week.

This is stupid.

For the Cannes Lions’ 60th anniversary, entries have reached an all-time record, due to growing interest in the festival, but also the growing number of channels and categories.

One of these new categories is Mobile, you know, the channel that’s growing faster than any other. Those little devices that people are glued to, um – Oh, I remember: ALL DAY.

I bring this up because of something I noticed at a Canadian show earlier this year, and I’m seeing it again at Cannes. At the Canadian show, Print entries were 3 times higher than Mobile. Print, as powerful and enduring as it is, is  undeniably in decline. Mobile is going nuts. What gives?

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The picture above is fuzzy, the message is crystal clear: In 2012 in the USA, time spent with Print is all the way down to 6%, while the channel still represents 22% of ad spend. Conversely, time spent with Mobile is at 12%, while the category spend is only at 2%. In other words, the industry is spending 10 times more money on a channel that represents half the time spent.

It isn’t just about media attention. Creative is just as bad. This year at Cannes, while Mobile entries are admittedly up, it still has the smallest number of entries of any category associated with a media channel. There were just over 1,000 entries in mobile, and almost 6,000 entries in Print. And while truly useful workshops like Mojiva’s play to small crowds in the basement of the Palais, Sean Combs and Anderson Cooper are packing them in in the Grand Audi.

This is nuts.