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The Key Themes Emerging from Cannes Lions 2017

The Key Themes Emerging from Cannes Lions 2017

Diversity and brand experience go hand in hand

Written by: Brea Carter, Marketing Manager, and Georgina Campbell, Marketing and Events Intern

Marketing, advertising and communications professionals have returned to the iconic French Riviera for the 64th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which spans multiple days of awards, thought leadership and networking. As we make our way past the halfway mark, here’s what everyone seems to be talking about this year…

Championing Diversity

The act of pursuing diversity in the industry is a key theme that has emerged at the festival, and in fact women make up at least 43 per cent of the juries in 2017. The Cannes events programme covers topics such as women and cinema, re-touching stereotypes, hiring young people, the notion that talent has no prejudice, and the refugee crisis. Various brands are also addressing the subject. YouTube, for example, delivered a decoding diversity session at its beach outpost earlier in the week, and it will host #PrideForEveryone day on Saturday — a move designed to celebrate diversity and promote LGBT and inclusion, meanwhile The Girl’s Lounge brings women together to network, collaborate and sit in on various talks. 

Brand Activity: From Ferris Wheels to Workout Sessions 

Various consumer and business focused brands are activating at Cannes this year. Situated in front of the Palais-Royal, a Ferris wheel from Snapchat is the talk of the town. The aptly yellow coloured wheel is unmissable to passers-by, who can download an event-themed lens and share their experience as they take a ride on the wheel. Elsewhere, Pinterest has created a real-life pinboard on the Palais, which showcases a curated list of top eateries and must-visit sights for attendees to see in the resort town, which have been selected by jurors. And one for the fitness fanatics — Oracle is hosting free CannesFit workout sessions at its beachside Oracle Deck on select mornings.

A Clear Tech Focus

We know that tech has the ability to transform brand experiences, and the same can be said for other forms of advertising and marketing. This could explain why everything from chat bots and voice technologies to the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and immersive tech like augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality have been woven throughout this year’s content programme. Particularly interesting sessions include Creativity in the Experience Age, and Scenography and the Art of Experiential Marketing, both of which highlight how designing meaningful experiences for audiences, and embracing tech to heighten these experiences is the way of the future.

What’s New This Year?  

Cannes is the place to visit to explore what’s new and now in the industry, which makes the Discovery Zone hosted by Lions Innovation a welcome addition in 2017. The platform sees delegates explore some of the world’s most innovative start-ups, offering them the chance to learn about how companies’ products and services might help to fuel their own creative strategies. In recognition of the country’s creativity, innovation and technological advancements, Cannes also welcomed China Day for the first time this year. The one-day event featured talks on Chinese creativity, delivered by creatives, tech experts and Chinese clients. Finally, a number of fresh awards categories have been introduced this year — which are reflective of the changes happening in this fast-paced industry. These include VR Film, Creative Marketing Effectiveness, Corporate Social Responsibility, Design Excellence in Effectiveness, and Data Strategy and Excellence in Media.

Cannes is known for showcasing the latest award-winning creative work, delving into key industry trends, topics and issues through informative talks, interviews and interactive sessions, and it seems this year has been no exception. Importantly, brand experience was evident throughout — countless global companies chose to activate at the event, meanwhile the content programme delved into the benefits of the medium, particularly when it comes to connecting with audiences in new ways. 

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