It’s a festival of collaboration, creativity and yes, celebrities. However, each year at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity it is the celebration of the ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ moments of the marketing world that takes centre stage.
Here are our five key take outs from this year’s Festival and the outstanding entrants to its flagship Cannes Lions awards programme:
1. VR and AI, you need to know what these mean. Virtual Reality (VR) has been making waves across the globe as its functionality and accessibility consistently improve. The New York Times won a Grand Prix this year for their VR work which involved providing complimentary Google Cardboards with the Sunday paper. This allowed everyday readers to experience firsthand the devastation of South Sudan, Ukraine and Syria through the eyes of children from the area.
It is the buzzword for clients hoping to go ‘viral’ and this year’s hot topic, while the development of artificial intelligence (AI) continues at a pace. For example, Google’s AlphaGo project (2016 Grand Prix for Innovation) this year beat the world’s best professional player of the iconic strategy board game, Go.
These technologies are facilitating a whole new way of thinking and communicating, and it could shift the tectonic plates of the industry as much as the arrival of radio and television.
2. Being high-tech isn’t enough. In a world where technology seems to be at the heart of everything, there’s just no getting past the fact that creativity still needs to be in the driver’s seat. Think you can just wow consumers with your 360 degree video? They already want more. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, and their belief of what is and what is not possible has very few limitations. If brands expect to make an impact they must start thinking not just outside the box, but outside the triangle and octagon too.
“We’ve got to remember that technology enables opportunity, but it’s creativity that enables value.” – Sir John Hegarty, founder of BBH
3. If I’m not getting emotional, you’re not doing your job. Technology is great, creativity is even better, but emotion is key. Charities continue to take the lion’s share of the awards this year for the ease in which they draw emotion from the viewers and judges alike. Emotion increases retention, improves recall and drives brand loyalty. Does your campaign make your audience cry, laugh or get angry? If not, go back to the drawing board.
4. Data, data everywhere. A world that is becoming increasingly connected has given brands a virtual Everest of insightful data. This is the key to understanding audiences on a granular level and generating meaningful campaigns. Gone are the days where you had only your instincts to trust for campaign success. The level of data (free or otherwise) has given brands the ability to change uncertainty to calculated risk (or success, depending on how trusting you are of your data).
“Where there is creativity in working with data, you can achieve almost anything.” - Creative Data jury president, Tash Whitmey
5. One campaign, per consumer. You have almost limitless technologic capabilities, mountains of data and infinite new ways of creative thinking. All are tools which have given brands the ability to step inside the consumer’s shoes and create campaigns which speak directly to them – and this is what they expect. Newsfeeds are saturated with content, webpages are awash with moving images and bright lights and pirating is as common as toast for breakfast. To reach the target market nowadays, brands must know exactly what each consumer will stop to look at. They must develop bespoke campaigns, tailored to each consumer through insightful data.