Cannes 2016 was incredibly stimulating. Spread out over several official and unofficial venues, it was a week of talks, presentations, meetings, awards and moments of wonder. Here are ten themes that we noticed, from Diversity to Virtual Reality, from Ad Tech to Artificial Intelligence
Cannes 2016 was incredibly
stimulating. Spread out over
several official and unofficial
venues, it was a week of
meetings, awards and
moments of wonder. Here
are ten themes that we
noticed, from Diversity to
Virtual Reality, from Ad Tech
to Artificial Intelligence.
All pictures should link to a
video or more information
In the second year of the Glass Lion award
for diversity, this subject was a very hot
topic this year.
• Madonna Badger gave one of the most
talked-about presentations of the week
with her #WomenNotObjects campaign,
fighting against the negative images of
women in ads.
• Brooke Bond won the Glass Lion Grand
Prix for the 6 Pack Band campaign in
India, which created a transgender pop
Meanwhile we should be very proud of
hosting an all-women panel (that wasn’t
talking about diversity).
The rise in Virtual Reality shows how
experience has become part of brand
communication – people no longer
trust what brands say, they trust
VR was the subject of many talks, with
the participation of Google, Facebook,
Vice and others, and there were demos
everywhere including most venues (our
own Dentsu Aegis Network Beach
House contained a VR windsurfer).
• Samsung had their own ‘Maison
Samsung’ space for people to try
out VR experiences
• The New York Times and Lockheed
Martin won Lions (Grand Prix in
Mobile & Cyber Gold respectively)
for their VR work.
Cannes is always a place to see
innovative use of new media platforms,
and this year was no different:
• Paint brand Comex turned Google
Streetview into a colour palate in
Mexico by hijacking roads named
after colours (‘Violet Street’) and
painting houses different shades.
• Verizon built a cell tower in
Minecraft, and was able to offer
• Donate The Bars capitalised on
vertical videos uploaded to
YouTube by putting ads for good
causes on the resulting black
• In Cannes itself, Pinterest created a
real world example of its boards,
offering inspiration on where to eat
and where to go.
THE POWER OF
Several award-winning campaigns
showed brands creating movements for
their users, redefining the role of the
• Outdoor retailer REI asked its staff
and customers to #OptOutside
and discover the country instead of
hitting the shops on Black Friday.
• The Swedish Number recruited an
army of Swedes willing to accept
calls from curious foreigners and
evangelise about their country.
• Toyota enabled their drivers in
Australia to act as a network of
beacons to spread distress
messages in remote areas.
• On stage, adidas told us about
what it took to build a creator
brand for its staff and customers.
MAKING THINGS FOR A
Brands weren’t just starting
movements – they were making
products away from their core
markets to make the world a better
• Tata Trucks produced a range of
condoms in India called Dipper,
named after the slogan ‘Use
dipper at night’ (dip your lights),
to cut sexual disease among
• DB Export produced
Brewtroleum, a biofuel made
from the by-products of brewing
• Possibly less helpfully, Lexus
produced a Hoverboard…
PROXIMITY Ideas based on location and proximity
featured in lots of categories, not just
relating people to where they were in
the world, but where they were in
relation to other people.
• Samsung created caps for visually
impaired swimmers that would
warn them of obstacles.
• Pimms’ Grab a Seat streamed
information about empty seats in
local pub gardens into digital
posters in real time.
• Cornetto made rings for couples to
wear; both of them would have to
be in the same room for Netflix to
play shows like Game of Thrones
(to stop either of them cheating by
watching on their own).
• xAd tracked the most popular spots
around Cannes, and the times
people went there.
Ad tech companies like Sizmek and ataXu were hardly represented in the Palais, or in the awards
themselves – where generally the focus was on the idea rather than the marketing technology that made
it happen – but were there in force and an unmissable part of the week in Cannes. LUMA even tweeted
this tongue in cheek aerial pic of the harbour, showing which ad tech companies had yachts. It would be
great to see marketing technology recognised for its critical role in unlocking the power of data more by
the festival and in the awards – maybe next year!
A major theme from Lions winners
was the re-invention of classic art.
• ING created Rembrandt’s lost
work, with the help of data
analysis of existing works.
• Dali was re-imagined in VR.
• Van Gogh’s The Bedroom was
made into a real life Airbnb
apartment that you could stay
• Samsung re-imagined
Shakespeare as an app to
introduce the beauty of the
language to a younger
Among the timeless and brilliant
ideas winning this year were:
• The McWhopper – Burger
King’s offer to McDonalds to
create a collaborative burger to
sell for World Peace Day,
• LEGOLAND Dollars - the first
theme park to have its official
money listed on a currency
exchange board. The currency
builds on the immersive
experience for kids
• Life Saving Stickers - stickers
with life-sized pictures of kids to
put onto wheelie bins to get
drivers to slow down.
Ideas like this make us look at the
world differently, and wonder why
they took so long to happen.
Last year was the first year for VR;
this year it was everywhere. Next
year we’d expect to see lots of:
• Live Video – notwithstanding
Target’s Gwen Stefani live ad, live
video wasn’t really in evidence.
However, as one media partner
put it to us ‘We’d expect someone
to create the ‘House of Cards’ of
Facebook Live in the next 6
months. Next year we will see
lots of examples of the unique
elements ‘Live’ can bring.
• AI – Machines get even smarter.
Google won an Innovation Lion
with Deepmind’s victories at Go,
but this was probably the last year
without ubiquitous chatbots and
AI. As Wired’s David Rowan said
at Isobar’s Innovation session
‘Chatbots can probably replace
about 80% of apps’. This could
be where ad technology finally
gets the kudos it deserves.
TEASERS FOR NEXT YEAR
GLOBAL HEAD OF MEDIA FUTURES