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CANNES LIONS 2015
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 CHANGE IN THE AIR The looming Taxi v. Uber strike at Cannes Lions, the 62nd Festival of Creativity, last month was in many ways quite prophetic, or at least extremely fitting with a key theme of the event. While the planes flew in, the sun beat down on the Côte d’Azur, and the rosé flowed, there was a counter thread of tension (and not just among French taxi drivers). Many talks explored what the rising dominance of digital platforms, AI, and the continued exponential growth of big data will mean for traditional services, creativity, human imagination and— ultimately—the future of advertising as we know it.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 After all, we’re living in a world where historic business models are being unseated at record pace thanks to rapid adoption of digital, consumerfirst platforms that cut out the middle men; where robots can convincingly pass tests as humans; and where big data can be used to program hyper-personalized advertising more efficiently than human judgement— and can even write a TED talk. Right, IBM’s cognititive super computer, Watson
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 “What’s clear is that in the near future AI won’t be so ‘artificial.’ Advertisers will have to really understand how sophisticated these devices have become.” BEN JONES, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, AKQA
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 The emphasis on tech giants compounded this at Cannes Lions. Google Beach stood center stage, flags flying, corks popping, with a stage featuring daily talks. Facebook’s beach pop-up was nearby and similarly lavish.
So what of the work? Public safety, emotion, new payment methods, social good and small localized initiatives were the key trends among the winning brands observed by Matt Eastwood, J. Walter Thompson’s worldwide chief creative officer and jury president of Promo & Activation Lions at the festival. “There was sun safety, cyclist safety, safety from sharks. There was a lot of emphasis on making the world safer,” explained Eastwood. Right: Shell #makethefuture player-powered football pitch.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 These could be seen in the big wins, from Volvo’s Life Paint (right); to Domino’s award-winning Tweet-toorder; to Always’ "Like a Girl" campaign; to Lucky Iron Fish. “Overall, brands were looking to attach themselves to societal causes. Combining creativity with social good,” said Eastwood. See: Clever Buoy, a transmitting shark detector in Australia; Lucky Iron Fish, a simple piece of metal designed to fight anemia in Cambodia.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 Whisper’s "Touch the Pickle" (India) and the UN’s #MyMothersNameIs (Egypt) both centered on specific cultural insights raising awareness of issues in a local way. Purpose-driven initiatives were everywhere. Has it reached critical mass? Top: #MyMothersNameIs, UN Women Middle Left: Touch the Pickle, Whisper Middle Right: #ITouchMyself, The Cancer Council Bottom: Coffee vs. Gangs, Kenco
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 NEW EXCHANGES “There was a whole range of brands experimenting with substituting payments for different exchanges—paying with a tweet or emoji (see award-winning Domino's), love, or hugs, trying to elevate transactions into something more meaningful,” observed Eastwood. “Though brands have to be careful with this. McDonald’s 'Pay With Love' campaign for the Super Bowl famously backfired.”
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 “One of our ongoing discussions was: Where’s the ‘funny’? Any work that came along and had a bit of levity to it really jumped out. Maybe not everyone, like us, will spend six days with award-winning work and get cynical about it. But I definitely think we need to see a move toward simple, funny entertainment next.” MATT EASTWOOD, WORLDWIDE CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, J. WALTER THOMPSON
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 “Emotion and social good will always be popular,” said Ben Jones, chief technology officer at AKQA. “But the bar has definitely been raised. After this year’s entries, next year brands will have to work much, much harder. They’ll have to show innovation and genuine evidence of doing something good, otherwise judges will see through it.” Jones sees hardware innovation as a growing trend at Cannes. “Creating concrete, tangible solutions that become marketing in themselves. That’s exciting,” he said. “I thought it was very telling that the Grand Prix went to Google Cardboard (below)," agreed Eastwood. "The award was given to a platform, not the expression, for the potential it unlocks.”
DATA V. CREATIVITY Several talks and panels centered on the implications of big data for creativity, including one featuring J. Walter Thompson’s worldwide planning director, Guy Murphy, called Data and Creativity: A Beautiful Tension, held at the Admap Prize event with Marc Mathieu (SVP marketing, Unilever), David McCandless (data visualization expert, Kantar) and Emma Whitehead (creative director, Kantar). Right: Airbnb’s Global Data Visualization project "A World of Belonging."
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 Dentsu executive planning director Koichi Yamamoto also spoke about these tensions in his session Data in the Age of Creativity. “Only the human brain has the power to imagine the unknown. But advanced AI combined with human creativity will mean endless possibilities,” he said, adding elsewhere that he believes data is simply a new creative medium. During Cannes Lions, London-based Jason Bruges Studio and MEC created the installation "Emoticannes: The Art of Always On," which featured a structure of multiple screens reacting live to attendees' tweets.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 “It felt like a step forward from previous years. It was less about highlighting the importance of it or using phrases like ‘big data’ and ‘analytics,’ and more about discussing where we can start to integrate data in a truly creative way.” RACHEL ARTHUR, SENIOR EDITOR, DIGITAL, WGSN
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 GEN Z PLATFORMS Teens, and teen-focused platforms (almost sensing a generation Z moment), were hot on the agenda, not only because they’re early adopters of new platforms but also because they're the most voracious consumers of media right now. 92% of UK/US teens report going online daily—including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a recent study from Pew Research Center. They’re highly digitally connected too. According to our latest SONAR™ data, 86% of UK/US teens use smartphones multiple times a day. 72% have a laptop and 70% have a smartphone. YouTube was ranked most popular among teens over Facebook and Instagram in a 2015 GlobalWebIndex survey. The platform was a centerpiece at Cannes during Google Beach activities and talks. Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel was also prominent at talks. During the festival, Spiegel took part in a talk with Cosmoplitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles. WPP, DailyMail and Snapchat also announced the establishment of Truffle Pig, a joint content marketing venture, offering planning content development, content creation and distribution during the week.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 SNAPCHAT Snapchat is one to watch currently. 4 in 10 teenagers use the app, according to Pew Research Center—remarkable given that it only launched in 2011. It has 100 million users. According to the company, 60% of 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users in the US are active on the network and together view more than 2 billion videos a day, already about 50% of the number of videos people watch on Facebook, which is seven years older and has 10 times as many members. Not only this, but as the shift moves toward video on social networks, Snapchat seems to have created an extremely effective way to make teenagers watch videos in full. Snapchat’s vertical format (different from typical landscape videos on internet networks) means that viewers are 9 times more likely to view them in full. Critics have been quick to point out its quirky buttons, orientation, and user journey, which are not intuitive and different from most established apps, but this seems to be part of the appeal to teens.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 Vice Media, beloved of teens and valued at $2.5bn last year, was also prominent at Cannes Lions. It was name checked numerous occasions in talks, not least by WPP CEO Martin Sorrell for tapping into a new type of news content that appeals to teens. “Content on Vice I think is very strong,” Sorrell is quoted as saying at an event hosted by Johnny Hornby, the chairman and chief executive of The&Partnership. “It’s just that stylistically it’s very different. ...[Traditional newspapers] talk about trust, and the implication is that we don’t trust a Vice. Well young people do trust a Vice. That is the real point. It’s just the way they deliver news is markedly different.” Interestingly, Snapchat has recently hired CNN political reporter Peter Hanby to be head of news.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 INSTAGRAM STARS Cameron Dallas, below, he of 6.8 million Instagram followers, stood out in the audience at a talk hosted by Eric Edge, head of brand strategy at Instagram: "Capturing and Sharing the World's Moments." The topic of Instagram and usergenerated photography came up: Will Instagram allow users like Dallas to directly monetize their photos? Or make money from advertising like, say, a YouTube? We’re in an era where popular Instagrammers are being commissioned in their own right to produce campaigns (see Diesel tapping Doug Abraham, cult Instagrammer @bessnyc4, to work on campaigns, after all). Edge explained that instead Instagram focuses on brand partnerships and collaborations, over sharing revenue. Is there an opportunity being missed here?
NEUROSCIENCE Neuroscience is suddenly everywhere, following both the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year and SXSW Interactive, where it was very much a buzzword. At CES in particular there were multiple devices claiming to harness this science to help well-being. Cognitive neuroscientist Itiel Dror gave a talk at Cannes about the use of cognitive neuroscience in advertising. In an interview after Cannes, Dror told the Innovation Group that many people do not truly understand what it is, and how it can be used effectively. Pictured: Lia Chavez’ The Octave of Visible Light, an immersive nightclub light show based on the artist’s brainwaves. CES 2015, The Cosmopolitan.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 “It’s the understanding of how people perceive things and what impacts their behavior. It’s important in branding for people to understand, as different parts of the brain control perception and behavior. You have to ensure messages get to the right part of the brain to stick, and cognitive neuroscience can help this.” Dror has already been working with various lifestyle brands on perfecting the perception and resonance of their logos and design hues. “A common misconception is that humans are rational, and make only rational decisions. They are not irrational, but they act beyond rational. Emotion is a huge part of decisions. Also, asking consumers what they think or how they will react to something is pointless. They only tell you what they think they think, not what they actually think.”
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 NEUROSCIENCE RETAIL Dror has conducted numerous tests for brands identifying unconscious cues and references to perfect brand design based on choice, visual imagery, word association and the speed of decision making. His work has implications for brands and store design. “Consumers today are presented with too much choice on shelves. They are overwhelmed with too many options that they have to perceive, interpret, then make a decision about not just if they want to buy, but what to buy. But then too few choices is not good either. They need to feel a sense of curation to be empowered.” The most exciting part about all this is the potential of big data and the internet of things. As our lives, the way we orient stores and the world becomes more digital, there’s scope to integrate neuroscientific experiments into how we orient sites. Google, Amazon (if they aren’t already) could integrate this into the user journey and shopping pages. “It will transform research,” said Dror.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 BIG PICTURE ALTRUISM Beyond the plethora of mission-based campaigns, apps, solutions and innovations aimed at solving everything from domestic violence to road deaths, the center Pavilion Stage also featured a series of grand-scale calls to action. Whether it was Jamie Oliver calling for a global food revolution, Al Gore talking about sustainability, or Richard Curtis’ first-ever global cinema ad campaign, celebrities and political figures were thinking big. BBH founder Sir John Hegarty and filmmaker and humanitarian Richard Curtis unveiled the creation and distribution of the "First Ever Global Cinema Ad Campaign." In September 2015, 193 world leaders will adopt a new list of global goals for sustainable development at the United Nations in New York. The goals are a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty and tackle climate change by 2030. Project Everyone, founded by Richard Curtis, aims to share these global goals with 7 billion people in 7 days via cinema screens around the world.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 Al Gore was also ambitious for the digital age—for its ability not only to resolve political bias in the US, but to save the planet and also restore Amercia’s role as global thought leader in its policies. “With the shift from an information system dominated by printing press, to broadcasting, the system [of dialogue] broke down,” said Gore. And with it a shift to one-way communication dominated by money. This, Gore argued, has degraded America's ability to make good decisions and be a true democracy. "American democracy has been hacked," he said. “It’s urgent not only for the interests of the US but for the interests of humankind and the world that the US find ways to restore its ability to make decisions based on its best values and to limit the degrading impact of lobbying and money.”
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 WOMEN IN FOCUS Many talks addressed gender equality, gender issues and new feminism. This was also shown in the awards, where Always’ "Like a Girl," Under Armour’s "I Will What I Want," and Sport England’s “This Girl Can" were big winners. This year also saw the launch of the Glass Lion: The Lion for Change, with LeanIn.Org, the organization founded by Sheryl Sandberg, focusing on work that addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice. Panelists included Maureen Dowd, columnist at The New York Times; Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Conference; Thalia Mavros, founder and CEO of the Front; Tina Brown, founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media; Tista Sen, national creative director and SVP, J. Walter Thompson India; and Windsor Hanger Western, co-founder and president, Her Campus Media, with Meredith Kopit Levien, chief revenue officer at The New York Times, as moderator. Highlights on the female agenda were events from The New York Times, The Women’s Lounge and J. Walter Thompson. In a talk dubbed “The Feminine Mystique 2.0,” the panel addressed how technology and globalization are reframing gender equality. Below left, Dazed & Confused with Samantha Morton launching Female Firsts, an initiative to champion female creative talent. Right, "The Feminine Mystique 2.0" panel.
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 Former Ogilvy & Mather CEO Charlotte Beers and Martin Sorrell also held a talk at Mindshare’s space dubbed "How to Be a Better Leader." “Women are raised to think they should be modest, which is dangerous,” said Beers, adding that she believed women were more intuitive in negotiations. “Men are better at owning their victories. Women don’t know how to own their victories.” TINA BROWN, FOUNDER, CEO, TINA BROWN LIVE MEDIA, SPEAKING AT "THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE 2.0"
CA N N ES LI O NS 20 1 5 NEW WOMEN'S MEDIA Vice has historically been more lad-ish in comparison to its more female cultural/ fashion competitor Dazed & Confused— though Vice Media owns i-D Magazine. Now it’s looking to rectify this with the launch of Broadly, a new female-focused channel covering a variety of topics including politics, culture, lifestyle, sex and fashion. During Cannes Lions, Vice announced a multiyear deal with Unilever to support Broadly. Thalia Mavros, a former executive creative director at Vice Media, is soon to launch the Front, another new female-focused platform. This follows the launch of The Pool, launched in the UK by radio personality Lauren Laverne and Red Magazine editor Sam Baker, a transmedia platform aimed at giving women a mix of politics, news, fashion, sex and cultural content relelvant to their lives. Signs of change? All offer a new vision of women’s media that goes beyond the glossy fashion magazine.
Contact: Lucie Greene Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Text here. firstname.lastname@example.org