Cannes despatches: Why agencies should leave YouTube to the YouTube professionals

Every brand knows they need to step up their online presence but it seems like agencies are desperately scrabbling around for models that work. Advice from the YouTube panel discussing ‘How Online Video Powers Creative Innovation’ on Tuesday afternoon was that agencies should stop trying to work it out in-house and leave it to the professionals – to use existing YouTube networks and those who have already established that they know what they’re doing.

Such as Damian Kulash from the band OK GO or Andrew Creighton, president of the achingly cool Vice empire, two panelists who didn’t have much more to say than ‘what we’re doing with YouTube is awesome and super popular – you should just get us to do it for you because you’ll never do it as well’.

The panel were a little lacking in enthusiasm (Cannes partying seems to be taking its toll earlier than usual, with a large proportion of delegates arriving before the weekend) but with Kulash central to the hotly tipped-to-win ‘All Is Not Lost’ Google HTML music video he’s probably one to trust. In a understandably scathing attack he berated Berocca for stealing the band’s treadmill concept, really driving home the fact that if brands are clueless when it comes to originality, it’s only going to be damaging for their reputation.

If agencies and brands do want to successfully harness the YouTube revolution the advice from the panel was that the industry must be willing to take risks. YouTube content is often successful because it’s spontaneous, and can go wrong, but there’s a general feeling at the festival that the big agencies just aren’t willing to take these risks. The reason being that they have that big bucks client to retain; the one who’s single-handedly keeping their giant business going.

Morgan Spurlock (left) said just that in his talk at the Havas Café early on Tuesday evening, which otherwise consisted of a hilariously flippant power point interspersed with clips from his film ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’. Questions following the talk revealed the common feeling that small agencies are going to be the real game changers as this industry moves forward, as they don’t have the financial responsibilities to prevent them taking the risks that inspire the best creative work.

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About Becky Wilkie

Becky Wilkie is an English Literature graduate striving to uncover the inner workings of the advertising industry; posing as a roaming reporter and working in trade PR. She can otherwise be found playing with her about-to-be famous band Fledglings.