What we’ve learned in Cannes

On the 18th June I was at Cannes Lions, the International Festival of Creativity.

I was there to compete for Young Lions in the design category. Although Valeria (my team mate) and I didn’t win, we attended plenty of interesting discussions and sampled new trends in creativity.

These are some of the things I’ve learned:

A New UI

John Fremont, Global Digital Project Lead and Group Director of Fjord Austin talked about Invisible UI. A strategy that Fjord believes to be the future of design and, more specifically, the future of wearables. The future it’s about making things easier, more efficient and more natural to the human experience. That is what we’re all about: building a better experience in a connected, but real world. When we look at the idea of designing around human senses and the different ways we can get information in and out of the human body, the possibilities are endless.

Entertainment Videos

By 2019 80%, of mobile traffic will be online videos. Last year 1 million minutes of video crossed the internet every second and the community of online video users will double to just over 1 billion people. “80% of decisions are made emotionally. And today’s business winners will be those who best connect emotionally and empathetically.” Kevin Roberts.

Creativity & Technology

What is the real use of technology in terms of innovation? Innovation means solving problems in a new and efficient way. Using the technology doesn’t mean ignoring the products and thoughts that already existed. Technology is becoming invisible and integrated into our everyday lives. The most effective digital advertising blends into technology rather than drawing attention to it.

VR, AR & 360 Videos

Virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 videos took over at Cannes this year and the industry was able to get a glimpse into the possibilities of future tech with interactive experiences from Google, Samsung, and more. Future prediction: Next year, the tech talk will return in full force.  However, the conversation and sessions will be less focused on the “wow factor” and more focused on how to use VR, AR, and other technologies throughout public relations and storytelling. Consider 2016 the year of tech education and 2017 the year of tech application.


In a conference that has its roots originally in advertising, it was incredibly refreshing to hear so many people – from the main stage to intimate conversations – having meaningful conversations about the importance of purpose. Individuals, millennials, products, brands, experiences, those who start with purpose and play in a different league. As Will Smith put it, “Smoke and mirrors in marketing and sales is over. People are going to know really quickly and globally, whether a product has a real purpose at the core.”


Beauty that goes beyond the superficial, but comes from within and shines as a result of the total experience and from, the craftsmanship, quality and attention to detail that was invested. None less than the iconic Stefan Sagmeister tried to convince the audience in nearly the same sentence that “Beauty is art of being human, and that we usually can agree on what is beautiful” while at the same time scolding the audience for the incredible amount of ugly s* that lines the promenade, walls and screens.


While we clearly are in the middle of an Artificial Intelligence Revolution (AIR), which designers, marketers and technologists revel in.  The musician, artist and creator, Brian Eno, gave an insight into both his fascination for AI as well as voicing a few cautionary remarks. While his latest album is mostly created with an algorithm, Eno makes the case that humans are still needed to make great art. “What really matters is what you put in at the beginning and how you make use of what comes out at the end,” Eno told his audience.

People not consumers

Everyone is waking up to the notion “it’s all about people, not customers or consumers.” The Wharton Future of Advertising Program moderated a panel discussion on ‘New Creativity Standards for the Future’ which above all emphasized the point that today we deal with ‘empowered and skeptical people not consumers, with lives, aspirations, challenges and communities.’ Impactful work understands that distinction and focuses on the people it tries to serve.


Marketing technology companies have tried to convince us forever that personalisation is the holy grail to brand loyalty and love. However, we all know that at the end of the day, we seem to be receiving more pings from brands we like as well as from brands we seriously don’t care about. Carlsberg’s magic band and smart pints know which event we attended, what we consumed (type and quantity). So instead of sending an email a few days later with a generic party picture, send me that same night a service that has an Uber ready for me and a coupon for Advil, all delivered with a happy-selfie in the fun photo-app MSQRD or Snapchat.

A few quotes from Cannes

“Change when you’re on top. You can’t wait till disruption destroys your business” Nick Law, R/GA

“70% of the world’s most creative countries are not the wealthiest” Razorfish

“Because we create culture, we can recreate culture” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, The Representation Project

“Chinese consumers like to be early adopters. They want to keep up with the latest trends” An Li, Netease Media

“Brands should connect with the ideals of the people who buy their products, rather than their own ideals” Blake Mycoskie, Toms

“It takes same amount of energy to do great as it does to justify average” David Droga, Droga5

“In the future creativity will be much more technology-enabled and data driven” Stefan Bardega, Zenith

“We need to be more global and more local. Technology does not see boundaries across countries” Keith Weed, Unilever

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