Why a festival about creativity matters to all businesses

Every summer, the South of France turns into a snapshot of pop culture. And by looking at trends happening there, we can start to see where our world is going and what will help push it. Here are three takeaways from this year’s festival we thought you would find applicable to your work.


More than 15,000 people attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity a few weeks ago. The festival has developed into the premier showcase of advertising talent around the world. Now in its 66th year, Cannes is so much more than simply an awards parade.


The marriage of creativity and technology is lasting

This year, we saw more intersections of creativity and technology than ever before. And that marriage not only leads to more interesting creative solutions but also creates richer experiences for the customer.


One example, virtual reality (VR), was used in an amazing way to transform an ordinary school bus into … well … click here and see. Lockheed Martin ran with the notion that the first Mars traveler is in school right now. So, the company aimed to inspire travelers with Generation Beyond – a program to take the science of space into homes and classrooms across America and inspire children to pursue STEM careers.


Also recognized for great technology was an interesting project showing where data can take us with ING’s The Next Rembrandt. And Toyota won big with creating an emergency mobile network for remote areas of Australia.


We’ll continue to see technology and creativity grow together. They’ll continue to influence and push each other. As a marketer integrating creative technology into your programs, start by knowing your customer inside and out. This leads you to exploring technology solutions that are not only appropriate but also more compelling and more interesting and will create a better experience for deeper engagement.


Rally around cultural relevance

Some of the best work shown at Cannes over the years has been for causes. The built-in emotional hook of a cause always makes the work more relevant. Every year, we see more brands connecting with important causes to promote bigger missions.


More and more, the “causes” are everyday challenges many live with. Such is the case with a great campaign for ANZ bank that addresses pay inequality for women. Making the work more culturally relevant also allows a brand to show what and who it stands for. Two great examples are REI’s #optoutside that bucked the retail standard of Black Friday and Brewtroleum for Heineken – a campaign that asked beer drinkers to help save the Earth. How cool of a proposition is that?


The overriding factor to a culturally relevant movement is the simplicity of idea. And while that sounds … um … simple, it actually takes more work and time to boil down to a pure, simple human truth that can easily be explained in one sentence. Another factor is to go beyond traditional demographic models. Use psychographic data, media habits and spending data to know what your audience thinks and feels. This ultimately helps build trust. Talk to people through the lens of their passions and interests, not their age, income or ethnicity.


Educate through surprise

Probably the first thing creatives think when they’re told to work on an educational campaign is not “All right! This has Cannes Lion written all over it!” But that’s exactly the energy it takes to turn insight into extraordinary work. It’s an opportunity to move beyond simply educating and instead turn an idea into a cultural lightning rod. Please stop reading and watch this super simple idea from MACMA in Argentina. The authenticity in this type of work was evident throughout the festival. It really demonstrates the difference in your product or cause. Always be authentic. The downside would not be favorable to your brand.


Advertising and communications will continue to evolve more rapidly than ever before. To drive better creative, we used to say, “No one is waiting around to see your ad. Make them want to see it.” That’s true more than ever. As a matter of fact, no one is waiting to see anything anymore. Today, my content finds me! If I’m meant to see something, one of my many platforms will curate and feed it to me. But though technology is important in delivering the message, it should never replace the story. Now, creative thinking gives relevance to both the emotion AND the places I see it. Just me. My personal experience.


If you would like to learn more about the insights from Cannes or to chat about how creativity can grow your business, give us a call.