Kevin Hart showers Suzanne Vranica, Advertising editor for the Wall Street Journal, with compliments on her questioning skills and charms the crowd with his sharp wit and preacher-like qualities. He cut a dashing figure in a pink designer suit too. Nancy Hromin is on the ground in Cannes reporting and being distracted by Hart’s body guard.
Vranica: You basically have 70 projects in development at Hartbeat, your Production company. You’re basically working with every entertainment company and you have four kids. How do you do what you do?
Hart: First of all, amazing question to start off! And the answer is very simple. The foundation of Kevin Hart is not just Kevin Hart, I would not be able to do manufacture, shape, mould, create any of the things that I now have, without the ecosystem and the personnel underneath. The team is responsible for so much of that.
Vranica: You and Ryan Reynolds, you are, basically like brands on steroids
Vranica: When you decide to say yes to a brand deal, and when I asked Celebrity Snoop Dog, his answer was that the cheque has to have a whole bunch of zeros at the end of the number and it don’t matter what the number is at the front as long as there’s a lot of zeros. What’s your answer?
Hart: I love Snoop. Snoop and myself, we did an amazing collab together. For me, money is not attractive. I say this humbly. I don’t need the money. [Hart is worth US$450 million, having come from nothing.] What I need is the longevity and the commitment. I would much rather a contract for Hartbeat that secures me in a position aim to create advertising material, or creative material that best tells your story and amplifies your work. In year one, year two, we did great. For the year three, year four . . . we can do better.
Vranica: So given that you now have this empire of brands that you work with? How has that impacted how you do comedy, Brands today are scared to death of controversy of comedy. When you hit those edges, especially now with the current world we are living in, Does it affect the way you do comedy now?
Hart: We have to be aware of the times because to not respect the times and not respect change is just ignorant. I mean, times change because it’s necessary, and it’s needed. So the climate and temperature today is well deserved, and we need to welcome it, adjust accordingly, be respectful. I’m a universal fucking comedian. I have travelled the world, telling jokes. There’s not a country or state that I haven’t been to, to do comedy. I want to make that very clear, I have made people laugh by being myself. I don’t force a narrative, I don’t create a personas. What brands need the most is relatability. Without relatability, without humour, you have no product.
The smartest people in the world listen, the dumbest people in the world talk a lot.
Vranica: What’s your next project to tackle?
Hart: We pride ourselves on shaking a hand business. I bring value to you and in return bring value. That’s the business that’s forgotten. It’s one sided. Everybody wants to win just on their side. The only reason I’m still a movie star is because I don’t take the money upfront from the studios. I say I want you to make your money and then give me my money when you make money. That’s the current deal with Netflix – make your money and then I’m making money. That’s why the long-term opportunity continues to present itself.
By the way, congratulate Suzanne on her EXCELLENT questions, you’re the star of the show today. Let’s hear it for Suzanne.
Hart then walked out, with his very intriguing and slightly menacing looking body guard and we all left feeling a bit hopeful about adlands future.