Key trends from Cannes jurors and commentators

Key trends from Cannes jurors and commentators

Content & Innovation
6 minute read

Cannes Lions jurors and commentators share their views on this year's edition of the festival.

Article details

  • Author:WFA


17 July 2023
Jury members on Cannes 2023
From left to right: Justin Peyton, Catherina Kowsoleea, Efrain Ayala, Amrita Randhawa and Lorraine Twohill.

AI to supercharge creativity

Lorraine Twohill, CMO, Google

It is no surprise AI was the talk of the town. What hit home for me was how much creativity will explode in the new age of AI. Creativity and technology coming together is not new, but AI is going to supercharge the human imagination like never before. This is where creatives will thrive, by trying new things, reinventing the rules, pushing boundaries and expanding possibilities for everyone.

It was great to see all kinds of innovation on display at Cannes this year and in the awards, from more immersive storytelling, to creative ways to connect with the next generation of users. And I was happy to see a continued commitment to inclusion, taking part in conversations about what it means to make room at the table, so we can create work that reflects the multicultural world we live in.

At the end of the day, what makes Cannes special is the people. I always love learning from our agency partners, brand leaders and creative masters. This year I left more fired up than ever, with excitement and optimism for the future.

Delivering lasting impact

Justin Peyton, Head of Emerging Channels, Wunderman Thompson
Cannes Lions jury president for Creative Business Transformation

Transformation, by its very definition, is about creating lasting impact through change. It’s not enough to test different approaches, transformation leaves a permanent mark.

In that sense the Creative Business Transformation category is unique to Cannes, because not only does it look at what has been achieved, it also looks forward.

This year’s winners truly delivered with impressive results and amazing potential, with three interesting trends standing out: 

  1. Looking beyond consumers to do work that delivers value to the full stakeholder set. Examples include work from Corona, Frito-Lays and the Grand Prix winning work from Microsoft, which digitized the alphabet of a disconnect culture and in so doing not only connected themselves to a new culture, but enabled all the small businesses within that culture to transform their operations, extend their reach and ultimately preserve their language and culture;

  2. Building new services on top of existing assets. Examples include work from Nativa Beer in Colombia and the Renault Plug-Inn work, which won gold by transforming home EV chargers into a network of charging stations that any car owner could use – in turn delivering value to the brand and to their existing car owners/EV charger providers;

  3. Looking Inward at Change. Culture and internal beliefs can be the hardest to change, but also the most impactful as demonstrated by the gold-winning work from Nikkei, whose Well-Being Index is working to institutionalize new views on growth, not only in their business but in government and across corporates as well.

There’s a new North Star for Creative Strategy

Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Publicis Groupe Singapore & Southeast Asia
Cannes Lions jury president for Creative Strategy

When we set about judging the Creative Strategy entries this year, we wanted our Grand Prix winner to be a clarion call for clients and agencies – these are the kinds of problems you should talk to your agency about… And these are the kinds of solutions your agency can deliver.

And we found it: Renault’s Plug-Inn.

When Renault was struggling to grow its share of the French EV market due to a lack of charging stations, the team realized many people have charging stations installed at home. By building an app that leverages this infrastructure, Renault benefited the entire category, creating a new business model that is globally scalable, fills an infrastructure gap and delivers real value to consumers.  

It proves creative strategy can open entirely new revenue models for brands and redefine the product category.

Three other trends also stood out:

  1. Brands have moved on from taking a stand to delivering impact where it matters. With Self-Check Out, lingerie brand K-Lynn showed women how to perform a breast check, operating in a space where it has a huge right to play;

  2. Brands bravely took chances to connect using humour. Popeyes made a single Tweet at just the right time to engage Black Twitter – but only after months of authentic understanding;

  3. Brands are also increasingly comfortable meaningfully connecting with narrow audiences, instead of trying to appeal to everyone. Vanish launched ‘Me, My Autism and I’, which speaks to girls with autism and fills a gap that simply wasn’t on the priority list.

 Great creative strategy can deliver financial value to a company – show the cases to your CFO and they’d be hard-pressed to disagree. 

Real experiences result in lasting change

Efrain Ayala, Global Creativity and Diversity & Inclusion Director, Reckitt
Cannes Lions jury member for Glass Lions

This year at Cannes I had the privilege of serving as a jury member for The Glass Lion, an award-celebrating initiatives promoting gender equality.

In reviewing nearly 200 entries, I observed three compelling themes: 

  1. The importance of authentic and differentiated insights as the foundation for impactful work. Unlike campaigns based on average understandings, Glass Lion contenders immersed themselves in the real experiences of women through differentiated data;

  2. A significant shift in how brands drive change: rather than focusing solely on raising awareness, this year's exceptional campaigns implemented lasting systemic changes transcending individual campaigns. The Grand Prix winner, Knock Knock from Korea, has made a permanent impact on emergency services and has the potential for adoption in other countries;

  3. The persistent presence of gender inequality, reflected in the growing number of entries in the Glass category. While it is encouraging to see brands tackling more issues, the ultimate goal is a reduction in this category over time. Achieving equality requires collective action, leveraging our skills, organisations and brands for positive societal change.

As the global conversation on gender equality continues, brands and organizations must remain committed to creating lasting change. Together we can shape a future where equality becomes a tangible reality rather than an aspiration. The remarkable work exhibited by this year's Glass Lions winners exemplifies this mission.

Commerce is creative too

Catherina Kowsoleea, Senior Director Digital Marketing and Ecommerce, Head of Global Media Management at Philips
Cannes Lions jury member for Creative Commerce

The new category Creative Commerce at Cannes is bursting with diversity, innovation and creativity in the lower part of the traditional marketing funnel – the point of conversion. After reviewing hundreds of entries, three new trends were apparent:

  1.  We’re ready to laugh again, I’ve seen fewer emotional roller coasters and tear jerkers in favour of uplifting tales of small success and untold stories. Focusing on empowerment and have us rooting for the underdogs and small businesses. Promos the Barrio and Bill it to Bezos are wonderful examples;

  2. The product has made a comeback, the winning creative ideas were very close to the product and emphasised features whilst remaining emotive. Fitchix is a great example, winning across several categories as it emphasises the power of the product (free range eggs) in a playful way. The Grand Prix winner, The Subconscious Order, proves how adopting technological innovation into the product enables elegant and seamless experiences that add value for the customer;

  3. Every platform is turning into a commerce platform, disrupting purchase cycles and moving from a linear conversion path to an infinite loop. This goes well beyond social selling or the metaverse and shows a movement back to real-life experiences such as with Dream Bars, and the Wear’Em Out Store.

Creative Commerce builds a bridge between the highbrow world of the creative directors and the low brow world of commerce directors. Breaking down siloes and adopting creative thinking in the commercial part of the business not only drives great results but wins awards too.

Article details

  • Author:WFA


17 July 2023

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