Never an event to disappoint, last week’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity was just as ritzy and over-the-top as in years past. Indeed, the rosé flowed and yachts were in abundance.
From an advertising perspective, the discussions I heard were a testament to the growth and maturity we have achieved during the past 12 months as an industry. Here are the five key themes from the event.
Breaking Down Silos
At Dentsu Aegis Network’s panel discussion, Adobe Advertising Cloud TV GM Todd Gordon spoke about the “attention economy.” Participants talked about approaches to targeting audiences and defining the value of a video view across TV and video platforms.
The main takeaway for me was that marketers finally understand that TV and digital, including social platforms, can no longer be planned and bought in silos--starting from the creative idea all the way through the media plan.
Todd Gordon (far right), director of Adobe AdCloudTV, on a panel for Dentsu Aegis at the DAN Beach House. (Photo credit: Mark Rotblat, senior director, global agency sales, Adobe)
Bring On The Data
Another important theme was the use of data not only in marketing, but also in the creative department. For a long time, creative departments would boast the number of awards they’d won each year as a measure of their effectiveness and value to overall campaigns. But a common theme at this year’s event was applying the same audience data that marketers use to the creative process, including using data for iteration and optimization.
This new world of data-informed creative, I believe, will mean better customer experiences. Think about it: Every experience that a consumer has with a brand begins with a piece of content. Using what you already know about your current and potential customers to design that experience is going to separate your brand from the rest.
IPG hosted the program “Through New Eyes,” featuring IPG’s Michael Roth; Pam El, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, NBA; and Academy Award-Winning Actress Halle Berry, among others.
Besides generating a ton of buzz at the event, participants raised a very important issue in advertising: lack of diversity and, specifically, a lack of women in creative roles.
Additionally, executives from Refinery29 and National Geographic released new research at the event about the importance of having a variety of female identities in the creative department. According to the study, 70% of women believe their workplace is not diverse, and 53% believe gender equality does not exist in their workplace or in wider society.
A BabyCenter study from 2016 found that 80% of parents like seeing diverse families in advertising. In my opinion, having a diverse team is key in ensuring that your advertising comes off as authentic while not alienating any one group.
Beginning Of The End?
Publicis announced that it will not be attending the Lions next year. WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell even suggested the event be moved out of Cannes to rid it of its “big spend, flash money” reputation. Ad Age reported that WPP has told its agencies to cut Cannes attendees by 50% this year.
I think this development in how agencies view Cannes and its awards is further testament to the impact that digital has had on accountability in marketing and, now, in the creative department as well.
AI For Creativity
Chris Duffey, strategic development manager of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, gave a presentation in which he outlined the three E’s of AI-enhanced creative: efficiency, efficacy, and empowerment.
Artificial intelligence, he said, will change the path of humankind forever. Specifically, technology-driven innovation such as Adobe Sensei will push forward game-changing creative with AI and machine learning. Creatives who integrate unified AI, bots, and machine learning tech will not only have competitive advantage in what they create, but how they create, Duffey said.
Chris Duffey, strategic development manager of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, on stage at Cannes Lions. (Photo credit: Ryan Levitt, senior communications manager, Adobe)