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Three Lessons From Cannes Lions 2019

Photo of Salesforce colleagues at Cannes Lions 2019

See our recap and videos from Cannes Lions 2019 — powerful ideas, media, and technology continue to offer more creative ways for marketers to engage their customers.

In my nine years of attending Cannes Lions — the international festival of creativity that takes place in France — I have met many amazing people and witnessed some of the world’s most creative marketing. But this year, I saw a new level of creativity emerge. Not because there were more célébrité in attendance or better parties along the Croisette. It was how the convergence of powerful ideas, media, and technology continue to offer more creative ways for marketers to engage their customers.

In case you missed any of the insights coming out of Cannes this year, @salesforce Twitter covered all the action in real-time. Here are my three biggest lessons learned (plus videos of my favorite sessions) at Cannes:

1. The new force in brand building: tapping into your customers and community

At the intersection of creativity, data, and technology is an entirely different way to think about brand building. This is what our President and Chief Strategy Officer Alex Dayon discussed with WPP Chief Technology Officer Stephan Pretorius at an intimate session at WPP Beach. “We’re not only all connected to brands, we’re connected to each other,” said Dayon. Pretorius emphasized that “open businesses” that empower people, distribute innovation, and invite communities into the brand grow faster and stronger. Watch the full session here: 

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2. The shifting role of marketer: combining data, insights, and creativity

I had the pleasure of speaking at Google’s Beach House with their Managing Director Chip Hall and Dentsu Aegis Chief Technology Officer Dominic Shine about how the role of the marketer is changing. Data science and analytics can no longer stay separate from creative, so marketers need to reframe how they think of their partners. “As a marketer, you need to own your data, own your insights,” said Hall. This reminded me of how Burger King executed their “Whopper Detour” campaign, which took home a Cannes Mobile Grand Prix award last week.

As described by Advertising Age, the brand “rebooted the Burger King app to geofence all 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the U.S. When Burger King app users came within 600 feet of a McDonald’s, it offered them a Whopper for a penny, but only if they went to the rival restaurant to try to order it there first.” It’s a great example of data and analytics driving creativity. Check out what else today’s marketers need to know about data-driven creativity:

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Of course, AI and machine learning had a place in the conversation too. On one hand, it’s relentlessly hyped, but on the other, it’s here now and being put to use by marketers to drive real results. This is the same topic I recently explored with Tom Puthiyamadam, PWC’s Digital Services Leader for The Wall Street Journal.

3. The new storytelling: inclusion and equality

Inclusion and equality were front and center at this year’s Cannes Lions, for good reason. In a session hosted by Female Quotient, our Senior Vice President of Trailblazer and Customer Marketing Cristina Jones joined LinkedIn Head of Global Go-to-Market Reem Abeidoh to discuss how marketers can tell more inclusive stories.

“In media, [being inclusive] was the right thing to do and it was good for business,” Jones said. “When I moved into technology, I realized that it is imperative, it is mission critical that we solve this issue.” Some brands are already there. Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign took home an Outdoor Grand Prix award at Cannes for their illustration of how athletes, including Colin Kaepernick, have defied expectations to achieve their dreams. John Patroulis, one of the Cannes judges, called the ad “one of the most iconic images in advertising for the last several years.” See what else they said about how this leads to more intentional storytelling:

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Thank you to all of our customers, partners, and employees for a successful Cannes 2019 — we’ll see you next year on the Croisette!

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