Cannes Lions

Barbarian's Cannes Social Experiment: Cold-Calling With a Brick Phone

Phone Might Be Better for Starting Conversations Than Having Them

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Barbarian Group's experimental Cannes phone.
Barbarian Group's experimental Cannes phone.
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Social media just got reaaal 90s with #coldcallcannes, a week-long Barbarian Group experiment.

The agency handed out more than 80 phones with five numbers from other brick phones stored on each at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Ad Age is testing one out.

Thus far, our phone has gotten calls from or proactively cold-called: an anonymous person with a British accent, a Vox Media person inviting us to a party, Contagious' Nick Parish and a French person who spoke no English.

Still, Ad Age reporters have made more friends just walking around with the phone than from actual calls. At the Carlton Terrace bar, we heard the following:

  • "What's that?!"
  • "Is that on satellite?
  • "What a cool experiment."
  • "Sounds like Tinder for business."

Ad Age also witnessed two brick-phone users try to find each other and meet at the Carlton Terrace. They found each other and hugged it out.

Updates throughout week on friends made via the #coldcallcannes experiment.

Contributing: Maureen Morrison