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Mars CMO Bruce McColl: 'We want to explode great creative ideas'

As the sun sets on Cannes for another year, Marketing caught up with Mars global CMO Bruce McColl to reflect on what the festival meant to him.

Mars global CMO Bruce McColl seeks creative excitement at Cannes Lions

Mars global CMO Bruce McColl seeks creative excitement at Cannes Lions

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What is the main reason you come to Cannes?

I have seen the client presence grow, which I expect reflects the increasing acceptance that creativity is a core driver of growth

The Mars marketing leadership team come as a group to Cannes (myself and our CMOs from our Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley and Food businesses). We come to be stimulated and we come as a small group so we can share and debate what excites us. It provides some time for our personal development and an opportunity to review where we believe our marketing strengths and future opportunities exist.

How has it changed for you in the years you have been coming?

We have been coming for 5 years. I have seen the client presence grow, which I expect reflects the increasing emphasis and acceptance that creativity is a core driver of growth.

And what have been the highs and lows of this festival for you personally?

There are not any lows at Cannes! What motivates me is the challenge of building a collaborative network to fully explode great creative ideas. To grow we have to reach and be noticed by billions of potential consumers across the globe. A simple yet engaging brand idea is at the centre of everything we do. The highs in this festival come from seeing a brand idea inspire and scale creativity across multiple and connected mediums. If it doesn’t scale… it doesn’t sell!  

Is it a place to come and do business, a place to catch up with partners, a place to spot talent, or more a place to inspire you for the year ahead?

We met with some smaller start-ups in areas that are not normally on our radar - some very talented people

Actually it really is all of the above. This year we spent time with our core agency partners reviewing the best of the work and what we could learn, we met with some smaller start-ups in areas that are not normally on our radar, caught up with some very talented people and were inspired by the best of creativity from around the globe.

As a previous winner of advertiser of the year at Cannes, how do you go about fostering a creative culture at the company and with your agencies?

Attracting talent is the first thing we focus on. Talent within Mars, within BBDO (AMV) and DDB (Adam & Eve) and within our media partners.  What makes it easier for us is that at Mars we truly believe that creativity drives growth. Therefore we share a common goal with our agency partners – lets produce Cannes standard work on everything we do. Its sound simple… but when you connect talented people with a common goal, great things happen.

What do you feel are the brand's creative highlights of the past year?

I am going to focus on the UK, both for the benefit of your readers and because I really love the quality of work that comes out of the UK.

In chocolate we have two of the best campaigns running in the UK, with Snickers "You’re not you when you’re hungry" Joan Collins spot as the most recognised spot on TV - and new work about to break very soon. This is a campaign that the UK team have really driven across multiple platforms, partnering with Twitter and Google.

For me a favourite is the Galaxy Audrey Hepburn campaign. It showcases creativity and innovation to use new technology in production to bring a great idea to life.

In petcare, our Pedigree Feeding Bright Futures campaign is helping make a real difference to thousands of dogs in the UK, and is a great example of an idea exploding and scaling across many mediums. When we can use an idea to both grow our brands and make a significant impact in the community, we know we have something powerful and enduring.

Building on this insight, our food business is about to launch Ben’s Beginners in the UK. The stark reality is that too many kids are growing up without basic cooking skills. They have spent the last year building a network of UK partners to put together a program that will get families and kids cooking together. I’d love to share more of this with you as we approach the launch date. I believe this is an important initiative that we want to invest in for the long term.

In Wrigley, we have seen the power of being connected to a global network. The UK team have tapped into our Break up with Food campaign and driven growth as they scaled this idea.

When you start tapping into creativity from all over the globe it raises the bar and generates ideas that everyone can tap into

Which market is your most creative and why?

What I am most proud of is that we have a staggering amount of markets demonstrating great creativity, winning awards and driving business growth. Just this year we have picked up multiple Lions from NZ, Mexico and Brazil.

When you start tapping into creativity from all over the globe it raises the bar and generates ideas that everyone can tap into. We have a great globally connected network of Mars and agency partners that look to inspire and learn from each other.

Will you be back at Cannes next year?

Absolutely.

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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