Creative and Data, the new Cannes Lions love-in

Jules Fairclough, Global Head of Marketing, tenthavenue.

The curtain on the industry’s annual celebration of creative brilliance at Cannes Lions has been drawn for another year, and yet again we saw the usual truly inspirational experiences showcased within the walls of the Palais des Festivals. Some things were a repeat of last year – seeing WPP win ‘Agency Network of the Year’ for the 5th consecutive year was certainly a highlight for us – but there was a conspicuous step change in what creative people were talking about. A change in what was fuelling their interest.

In a word: DATA!

tenthavenue took a space at the festival this year to show some of our new platforms, products and experiences that use data to help brands uncover behaviours and the mind-set of the consumer, allowing us create contextual experiences (see our wrap up video here). And we’re not talking about the facts and figures in silo, but actually what can be gleaned from data, both retrospectively and in real time, to decipher emotion, inform messages, and deliver these experiences using tech and media to suit people’s ‘here and now’.

And judging by the buzz, we’re certainly onto something!

On the whole data and technology theme, we’ve collated an overview of some of our favourite campaigns, key trends, topics and what we think will be hitting Cannes next year, as the lines of data, creativity, tech and media fuse together to create the ultimate mind-set driven experience.

TOPIC 1: Data underpinning creativity

The increasingly role of data in creative development was huge, with Lions speakers referring to data being ‘the linchpin to creating more emotional content’. Emotional not meaning to pull at the heart strings, but finding that ultimate moment of triumph, disappointment, importance or connection that fits what is happening in the wider world around us. The judges’ choices across categories certainly carried this sentiment, and for me some of the more interesting winners were:

Real-time data triggering creative build:

EA Sports ‘The Giferator’ campaign used live scores from NFL football games to trigger a real-time creative gif build, which was distributed within milliseconds of the event occurring, to fans to taunt their competitor team supporters. Data points were linked with creative layers, including game artwork, dynamic headlines and statistics, replaceable backgrounds and player avatars. ‘Big plays, big scores and big wins’ were all recorded and sent immediately for fans to hit that perfect trash talk moment.

Uncovering conversational language to understand mind-set:

Turning conversational language into actionable data insights was the starting point for the campaign launching Netflix into France. Uncovering conversations, processing them into categories of meaning informed 3 essential insights from which the campaign messaging was built! This was then unleashed via (another) gif campaign inspired by typical French attitudes. In addition, contextual data including weather, events and time was layered to trigger out of home creative placements over 8,000 screens throughout France.

The relationship between wearable technology and dynamic media placements

Wearable technology is frequently cited as an advertising ‘shiny new toy’, but right now it rarely goes beyond the realm of health marketing such as Nike’s ‘OUTDO YOU’ campaign (although hands up, this was an app). But this is changing. This year, Mindshare conducted their ‘Pulse of Cannes’ experiment, whereby biometric data collected via Apple Watches measured things like heart rate, location and movement to determine engagement, energy and emotion, generating recommendations on what companies need to consider next year. Another interesting use was Liberty Insurance’s ‘Moving Words’ campaign as part of the Chicago Marathon sponsorship. RFID tags in the runners bib tracked their personal performance and reported this to friends via Facebook to gather messages of support. At points where runners were flagging, the RFID tag was used to measure proximity to a dynamic advertising board where the messages of encouragement that friends had posted onto runners walls were triggered. Whilst it could be argued that this is still ‘health marketing’, it also moves into dynamic ad placement.

What these examples indicate is that not only does data now have a real-time influence over the exact creative which is being shown at the exact point more effectively than ever before, it’s establishing real-time moving beyond purely the personal realm digital screens, and firmly into the outdoor market. Exciting times for Kinetic then!

TOPIC 2: Attention triggering creative changes in outdoor creative

Women’s Aid ‘Look at Me’ carried the message ‘stop turning a blind eye to domestic violence’. Using a digital billboard canvas, a disturbing image of a woman’s heavily bruised face was displayed. As people looked up, a camera tracked the position of their heads to determine whether they were looking at her face or not. As they detected people’s attention, her face started to heal.

Beyond this worthy campaign, the application of using attention to trigger creative changes is something we’ll see more of. Whether that’s on audience profile proximity, mind-set gathered through wearable tech / mobile or something as simple as crowd size, understanding and serving the most effective creative to carry your message is vital.

TOPIC 3: Way beyond the Billboard

Brands, protesters and political activists have been using digital screens and light projections onto buildings to create a buzz for years. But now, brands are taking this to a new level.

Digital screens attached to vehicles may not be totally new, but Samsung’s delivery ‘Safety Truck’ uses a camera attached to the front of the cab to send back a live feed of the road ahead, meaning allows overtaking drivers to see any immediate danger. Simple yet effective!

A truly amazing campaign was ‘Holograms for Freedom’. In response to the passing of a law that looked set to threaten freedom of speech, Spanish activist group ‘No Somos Delito’ organised a wonderful protest using holograms rather than real human beings. Making the point that holograms had more rights to protest than real people, the stunning campaign got unprecedented worldwide attention.

Chinese brand Xiao Zhu’s idea of using the very pollution that leads to breathing problems as a canvas to protest their ‘Breath Again’ campaign was also inspired!

A beautiful example of storytelling using data as the base and lights as the execution was the Japanese Sports Council ‘Reviving Legends’ campaign. To commemorate historic events at the National Stadium in Tokyo, the council used data to computer map the exact motion contours of an athletes’ body whilst setting the world record. It then used augmented reality match, 3D motion data, cameras, lasers and projection mapping to re-create the exact re-enactment in terms of time and path taken by the athlete in lights.

This year we have seen some spectacular brand experiences created by the most talented individuals in the world at Cannes Lions, and long may it continue. But the closer data allows us to get to meeting the consumer mindset, the more efficient we are likely to become, and the less media centric and more human centric these brand experiences will become.

N.B. Video links are only available via canneslions.com until 31st August 2015.

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