Cannes Lions 2015 highlights & trends

Cannes Lions 2015 highlights & trends

Trends from the biggest show on the planet for the creative industry.

The annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the biggest show on the planet for the creative communications industry. As well as recognizing great campaigns of the past year, speakers also gave their insights into future trends. So, what were the highlights?

1. The future is mobile

A large proportion of brand storytelling now happens through mobile hardware or software. “Mobile is getting 25% of consumer time in the U.S. As marketers we have to reach people where they are and fit into their lives,” said Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in conversation with Unilever. “The biggest change is native mobile video, video produced to be watched on mobile,” said Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter.

Another way that this is happening is through using mobile phone apps for native advertising. Brands can create profiles on apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and even Tinder in order to integrate themselves into existing user experiences. Tinder actually offer a unique opportunity, “you’re already going there to discover content,” says the app’s founder Sean Radd in conversation with SapientNitro, “you’re in this frame of thought where you’re willing to learn about new things and meet new people.”

The growth in mobile demonstrates that technology will continue to be central to creative storytelling in the future: “The future of mobile and location sensitive storytelling and information and advertising – that’s the holy grail” said Eddy Moretti, Chief Creative Officer, Vice Media. 

2. Understanding the role of the individual and local culture in a globalized world

As brands and technology become more globalized, various speakers mentioned the importance of recognizing that there is no ‘one size fits all’ method for marketing to different cultures. It is vital to understand the consumer as an individual and their cultural context in order to market to them effectively.

President of Chinese investment holding company Tencent, SY Lau, highlighted that, as China is becoming one of the biggest consumer cultures in the world, brands need to understand the culture they are marketing to. “The meaning of technological revolution, and the profound changes brought by expanded connectivity will only become relevant,” he said, “when we see the actual human face behind the device”. With social media we are equipped and encouraged to promote who we are as individuals, and in a world of globalization there’s still desire for something local and personalized. “Local conversations and culture aren’t disappearing because we have a world that’s more connected”, said Jared Leto in an Entertainment seminar with Clear Channel Media.

3. Sustainability sells

The Internet has enabled people to make more informed, intelligent buying decisions, at the same time as people’s attention spans have gotten shorter. To facilitate engagement then, brands need to be multi-dimensional and sell something deeper than just a product. “Messaging with some social good is a linchpin for success,” said Michael Roth, CEO of Interpublic, “it’s become not just about having a product to buy, but an idea to buy into.” People don’t just engage with a product they engage with what is at the core of that product. Embracing radical transparency will help brands develop trust with their consumers, said Jostein Solheim at Unilever, “engage them in what the product can do but also what we do as a company in the world”.

4. Role of agencies

“70 to 75% of jobs in 10 years time haven’t even been created yet, the biggest challenge for marketing leaders is how can we prepare teams for something that we don’t know yet?” said Ray Velez Chief Technology Officer at Razorfish Global, “agencies must be prepared to constantly stay in Beta in order to create the best and most current user experiences”. This chaos in the industry has given rise to specialists, meaning a fragmented industry with different agencies specializing in different things. In order to properly connect with brands, “we need to go back to agencies that manage the whole brand, and how the brand connects with its consumers,” said Eric Salama from Kantar.

5. Focus on good storytelling

“Unlike many other industries, marketing is growing and emancipating through the rise of technology. But it should not overshadow the human insight” said John Wren, CEO of Omnicom. Good storytelling is still at the heart of the industry, “you can’t replace the creativity of the human mind with a piece of tech”, said Jostein Solheim from Unilever, arguing that the challenges raised by busy markets and shortened attention spans will be overcome: “If we keep the idea central. Focus on the idea, we will get attention, and we will engage people.”

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Photo: Andrew Parsons

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