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Cannes Lions

Mindshare and Buzzfeed at Cannes 2014: Brands can ride the zeitgeist


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

June 16, 2014 | 3 min read

The Cannes Lions Festival kicked into full momentum with Mindshare and Buzzfeed’s ‘Meme Too: How Brands Can Successfully Ride the Zeitgiest’ seminar this afternoon.

Top brands "ride the zeitgiest"

Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO of Buzzfeed, described how media have historically adopted new distribution methods. He emphasised that if a brand correctly adopts these innovations, they could set the industry standard.

“New distribution technologies that allow you to reach large audience are developed first and once these are developed, you see massive media companies created who are able to reach people in a brand new way”, he said.

“Ten years ago Buzzfeed didn’t make us money, it was a fun thing to do like the early days of radio or the early days of cable or the early days of other mediums where you are messing around but you aren't really sure where it’s all headed and where it’s all leading to.”

Peretti described how Buzzfeed found its feet by publishing human stories that captured the imagination of the public: “If you can publish into the zeitgeist the moment something is happening you can get a million views in nine hours or so because that’d what everyone will be talking about."

Buzzfeed also heavily benefits from social media sharing prominently with humorous posts. Peretti said: “When you laugh with people you feel closer to them and it connects you which is one of the reasons why the internet tends to have a lot of humour.

“When you see someone sitting by himself in the corner you think there is something wrong with that person but if you see a group of people doing that you think I want to join them…”

Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer, Mindshare North America, said it is important to find and use data in new ways to boost the brand.

“Advertising has reached its Moneyball moment. The year 2024 will be a time powered by data. Data has become the latest tool for creativity.

“Brands are morphing into people. They listen, they are responsive, and they talk about what is happening today… for brands to fit into conversations with people, they must communicate more like people themselves.”

He added: “Each of us passes around 3000 pieces of information into databases every week, that’s like one every three minutes. We have the data, we have to use it."

Cannes Lions

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Mindshare is a global media and marketing services company created in 1997. As one of the world’s largest media agencies, Mindshare is responsible for a large...

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