What’s On

#sowhoknew: Will the real Jean-Luc Picard please stand up?

I spent the first few hours of the day at our dedicated OMD Oasis (shameless plug) having various meetings. It proved to be an inspirational start to a rather splendid day of thought provoking presentations at the Palais, beginning with an awe inspiring session from Future Brands.

Their guest speakers were the masterminds behind the (frankly) phenomenal Solar Impulse project. Basically these guys wanted to build an aircraft about the size of a Boeing 747 which weighs no more than a family sized car and (here is the real kicker) it must operate with zero fuel, therefore providing perpetual flight. That’s a tough brief right?

Engineers said it was impossible. But these two adventurers designed it anyway. It reminded me of that old adage about scientists saying that given the fundamental laws of physics a bumble bee should be incapable of flight. However, it seems that no-one has ever told the bee that it cannot fly.

So, these two guys have now built the aforementioned solar powered plane and after flying it across the US they are now planning on doing a trip around the planet next year. And it transpires that a pioneering spirit is in their blood. Quite literally. One of them is called Picard and the interviewer mused that he may be related to one of yesterday’s speakers, Sir Patrick Stewart, who famously played Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek franchise. Then, quite disarmingly, Monsieur Picard told the audience that his great grandfather, who himself had been an aviation pioneer had actually been the real life inspiration for the creator of Sir Patrick’s Star Trek character!

Their overriding message was all about trying to ensure that we are not the “prisoner of our habits”. Diversity of thinking is critical to push the boundaries of what we believe is possible. And only by removing our own self-imposed boundaries can we be truly creative. Make it so.

Next up was the session from Adobe which was a neat segue way from the Future Brands session. The tonality was almost identical. Creativity comes from thinking outside the box. Or as one of the presenters put it “everything is outside of everyone’s box”. I’m sure there is a more eloquent way of articulating the point, but I kind of get where he was coming from.

Then on to the main event, with my new bestie SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker). Actually MB (Mattew Broderick) and I had another chat in the corridor at the hotel but that’s a different story. And that is, was and always will be just between us. Anyhow, the main talking points of SJP’s interview with Cosmopolitan were (unsurprisingly) Sex and the City and fashion. SJP attributed much of the success of SATC to timing. Partly down to zeitgeist and partly the scheduling (9 pm on a Sunday night to capture the audience returning from the Hampton’s apparently). And in terms of themes, she indicated that the saucy content was clearly “provocative and titillating” but the prevailing thematic anchor of “home” was the real reason why the audience remained enthralled.

Then there was a lot of chatter about shoes. And ballet. To be honest, I momentarily switched off. I will readily admit that my mind drifted towards much weightier global issues. Like whether England should play Rooney in a more central role against Uruguay. And then I was metaphorically dragged back into the auditorium by the thought that you should never tweet whilst drunk. Wise words. SJP also admitted that she prefers Instagram to Twitter because she believes that following someone’s life through pictures is more authentic than the written word.

And then with a quick flash of her neon pink Manolo’s, she was gone.

Tomorrow’s highlights? Conversations with more A-List Hollywood stars like Jared Leto and Ralph Fiennes plus an eleventh hour guest appearance from a certain Kanye West. Hmm, I wonder if Kim might turn up too. Let’s face it, she could do with the publicity. Yeezus.

Steve Blakeman

Steve Blakeman is the Managing Director - Global Accounts, OMD Europe. Previously, he was the CEO, Asia Pacific – OMD. Prior to that, he was Global Chief Integration Strategy Officer (Asia Pacific) for IPG Mediabrands (Initiative & Universal McCann). He has also had stints as worked as Managing Partner at Omnicom Media Group owned media agency, PHD where he successfully launched their second office in the UK. He began his career at JWT and has over two decades of experience in advertising, media and marketing communications.
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