Tech for Tact – Cannes Lions 2015 Roundup

All eyes were on Cannes last month as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity celebrated the good and the great of the creative communications world.

If you’re not familiar with Cannes Lions, it’s a global event for people working in all the creative communications fields, such as advertising, marketing and design. It takes place over seven days, incorporating the sought-after Lions awards, and is held yearly at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France.

As the world’s largest gathering of creative, marketing and advertising professionals, Cannes Lions is not only a great place to network and celebrate successful campaigns but also to discuss and debate hot topics, new ideas and emerging trends. This year was no different, with some key themes running throughout the talks.

If you missed out or just want a recap, here’s our roundup of the most popular trends.


Data and creativity

Most marketers are aware of the need for data from analytics and insights to inform creative strategy. However, the talks at Cannes Lions focused on how we integrate that data, especially big data, more closely with the creative work we produce.

It was agreed that data is the key to creating more emotional content but it also requires greater collaboration between creatives and technologists. Professor Brian Cox summed it up when he said: “Every creative person needs data to keep them rooted in reality.”


Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI has been everywhere recently, most notably in TV and film, with the movies Big Hero 6 and Ex-Machina and the TV series Humans all proving popular. Not surprisingly, AI was also a hot topic at Cannes Lions with many identifying it as the next big revolution in technology.

According to Mike Cooper from PHD, more than $57bn has been invested in AI to date and it’s increasing by 60 per cent every year, so marketers cannot ignore it. He joked: “Success in inventing AI will be the biggest success in human history, and it may be the last.”


Virtual reality (VR)

Alongside AI, virtual reality was the most talked about technology at Cannes Lions. Most people agreed that virtual reality is destined for success but the real question is – when will it reach mass adoption?

Evidently there is potential for it to impact on everyday experiences such as shopping, as demonstrated by SapientNitro’s demo of its new VR experience, but it remains to be seen if technology such as Google Cardboard will pave the way for a VR product that really takes the market by storm.


New content platforms

Creating content for VR might seem like a distant pipe dream but there are other big growth platforms available to us right now that marketers are yet to take advantage of.

Snapchat and Tinder were the main content platforms up for discussion at Cannes Lions, with the founders of both apps talking about creativity, new consumption habits and how to take a unique approach.

Founder of Tinder, Sean Radd, said its users are in the right frame of mind to absorb content but stressed that brands need to come up with new, exciting and unique ideas to strike up a real relationship with consumers.


Content for the greater good

Cannes Lions was as much about people as technology this year, and one of the most popular talks was on cyber-bullying delivered by Monica Lewinski.

Referring to “the new blood sport of viral online shaming”, Lewinski called on the industry to shun the popular click-baiting model, which only serves to generate media revenue and doesn’t care for the individuals that are humiliated as a result.

Lewinski’s talk was the only one to receive a full standing ovation at Cannes Lions this year and it clearly struck a chord. However, there were also talks from Jamie Oliver on public health, poverty from Richard Curtis and climate change from Sir John Hegarty, which all advocated the use of content for greater social good.

If you want a more detailed look at the action from Cannes Lions 2015, check out the festival’s daily video highlights over on YouTube:

July 6, 2015 - This article was written by Jenny Woolley

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