The 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has officially come to a close. As always, there was a star-studded cast of characters and the crème de la crème of the industry. However, something was a tad different this year – someone was missing. Publicis, one of the largest conglomerates of advertising agencies, sat out of the festival. Not only that, but it seemed like the gravity of the festival centered around AI and data. With Publicis sitting out and the core focus being around AI and data, it begs the question: is Cannes moving away from an advertising-creative event and toward a technology-creative one? If so, is this indicative of an industry shift and what does this mean for brands?
Historically, advertising defined your brand. It is what the consumer saw and how you demonstrated what your brand stood for. As times have changed, the need for brand to permeate through every touch-point, product, and experience is ever more critical. This shift to create authentic brand experiences was brought to the forefront at Cannes with its focus around technology. So many leading companies today rely on brand experiences through technology or marketing operations to deliver and personalize experiences for their customers. Today, modern marketers are looking more like technologists than creatives, with technology being the new language of marketing. This shift was evident in the Lions and accolades given at Cannes. More and more technology centric Lions were given. For example, Google’s My Line, Microsoft’s Seeing AI, and PFlag Canada’s Destination Pride all received recognition.
This year, Cannes was a defining moment for many companies and creatives, however, it also signaled a fundamental shift in how brands connect with consumers. A shift in focus on how to bring your brand to life, not through advertising, but through a strategic, living and focused part of your company. Now, more than ever, your brand strategy needs to inform every facet of your business and your brand strategy must pave the runway for meaningful innovation and deployment of technology.