Tom’s human touch in a digital era

Jon Haber (left), Rafe Offer and Julia Hartz

Jon Haber (left), Rafe Offer and Julia Hartz

Conclusive proof that people crave real-life experiences in today’s age of digital disconnection was provided by Tom Odell’s performance yesterday on The Terrace stage.

“He crushed it,” said Eventbrite’s co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz, speaking to the Lions Daily News after the event, which combined Odell’s mini-concert with a discussion around the theme of Sparking Authentic Human Connections In A [Dis]Connected World. “The minute Tom started playing, you could hear a pin drop. Some people got emotional; some people cried. Everybody was connected in that moment.”

The idea of inviting an internationally renowned singer-songwriter to demonstrate the power of experience on the Cannes stage was jointly conceived by US event-management and ticketing service Eventbrite, hot US agency Giant Spoon and London-based live-music startup Sofar Sounds. “We realised all of us are working towards the same thing — connecting humans in the digital age — but in different ways,” Hartz added. “Eventbrite does it through events, Sofar does it through music and Giant Spoon is exploring how to tie important life experiences into brand development.”

Giant Spoon co-founder Jon Haber said that, for brands, tapping into “those intimate moments, when people create memories” was the next frontier. And that requires “programming events with narrative and meaning rather just as a backdrop for an Instagram photograph”, he added.

Sofar founder Rafe Offer pointed to young people’s love-hate relationship with technology.

“Gen Z is walking away from technology while being addicted to it — and worried about their addiction,” he said.

“To this generation, experience is sacred. They want to be involved in things that allow them to stay human.”

Harriet Palmer