CANNES – Brands depend on advertising for relevance and reach. But during the Cannes Lions International of Creativity, industry leaders from R/GA talked about ‘Transformation at Speed’ and revealed that the advertising industry is being disrupted and currently undergoing a critical challenge – fewer people than ever are spending time on ad-supported content.

About ninety percent of people skip pre-roll video ads. Hence, building brands through ads have been more challenging than ever. R/GA’s SVP Strategy in the US Jess Greenwood said, “The amount of time that we spend consuming content in places that are ad supported is going down. And this should be an enormous red flag for everybody.”  

Advertising still has a vital role to play, but not the starring one.  In this case, what should brands do to stay relevant to their consumers? They must offer novel, unfamiliar and exciting consumer experience to improve their businesses. They must recourse, change, and transform. Now.

“Transformation has to happen quickly. It’s going to turn out that speed is going to be the great differentiator for whether or not companies survive going into the future,” said R/GA’s EVP Global Chief Strategy Officer Barry Wacksman.

R/GA presented a scale of transformations to help their clients distinguish or address the transformation that their company needs: Business Transformation, Experience Transformation, and Marketing Transformation.

Business Transformation, according to R/GA’s EVP Global Head of Consulting Saneel Radia, is the C-level of transformation for a company and usually dives into having a new business model, new product or service, or identifying an adjacent market to enter. “If you’re a mature company, let’s say you’ve been an industry leader for years, you’re probably feeling some disruption, and that’s probably a business transformation led.”

On the other hand, Radia says that Experience Transformation could be for companies that are eyeing to up their game and heighten the number of their consumers. “When a company is an earlier stage company and it needs to upgrade its experience or it needs to broaden its consumer base, that would probably be led by an experience transformation type effort.”

R/GA’s VP for Products & Services Ben Williams discussed how they cultivated experience transformation among consumers of the Jordan Brand by creating the world’s first commerce experience in augmented reality. R/GA, together with Snapchat, Shopify, and Darkstore allowed consumers to reimagine and celebrate the 30 years since MJ’s Iconic free-throw line dunk through the Snapchat E-commerce campaign that was launched during the NBA All-Star Game weekend.

The campaign gave consumers a new shopping experience by allowing Snapchat users in the NBA All-Star Game event saw a special 3D AR world lens of Michael Jordan’s iconic free-throw line in the slam dunk contest circa 1988. Through the world lens, users could check out Jordan and see the new Air Jordan III Tinkers which can be purchased in the Snap Store powered by Shopify and have their sneakers delivered to them in less than two hours through Darkstore express delivery.

Finally, Marketing Transformation refers to adding value through creativity and looks into opportunities for agencies to be creative all the way along a customer’s journey. For instance, R/GA’s campaign for Jet.com – which highlights the innovativeness of the brand and its dedication to save its consumers money – during the Super Bowl was driven by marketing transformation.

According to Radia, “Let’s say a company is scaling, probably most of the companies that you read about in the news today, those are big companies, maybe their brand needs an upgrade, certainly they have to rethink how they’re going to market if they’re to scale new users and new segments, that requires a marketing transformation lead.”