SOCIALDEVIANT both attended and presented at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
In typical Cannes fashion, the city was bustling and creative juices were flowing almost as much as the rosé. SOCIALDEVIANT attended multiple sessions, from a panel with Robin Roberts on authenticity to a presentation on great storytelling from Anna Wintour to a look at purpose led by our friends at Contagious, and more. But some of the best learnings came from the hours spent pouring over all of the creative submissions in the basement level of the Palais. Here are the top three things we took away from the week:
- Authenticity is not enough. On the tip of every speaker and delegate tongue was “authenticity” as if it were the cure for all bad creative. Yes, authenticity is important. Just like mom would say, “Be yourself and people will love you.”. However, the next step is for brands to have a POV and to take a stance in order to make an impact.
Burger King nailed this premise with the McWhopper campaign for Peace Day last year. While McDonald’s did not participate, Burger King’s stance created incredible buzz and inspired several other food chains to reach out.
Système U, a food retailer in France, took a stance against gender stereotypes this past Christmas. They created a #GenderFreeChristmas, exploring the toys kids actually like to play with vs. the ones we expect them to enjoy. This came to life through advertising, a long-form video and a Christmas catalog.
Net: If your brand has a POV, your content will have one.
- Don’t limit social experiences to social media platforms. Some of the best work that generated conversation and drove impact were not necessarily explicit social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Instead, they tapped into an inherent social truth that connected people in new and surprising ways.
For example, GE’s The Message was a wildly successful sci-fi themed podcast that drew people into the story and drove incredible conversation. Fans could dive deeper and generate their own theories based on “leaked” documents and the host’s blog.
Additionally, when Sweden wanted to celebrate its 250th anniversary of free speech, the Swedish Tourist Association created the Swedish Number. By calling this number, anyone in the world could get connected to a random Swede and talk about anything from the best restaurants to the weather to politics and religion.
Net: Create content for a socially connected world, whether through events, phone conversations or social media platforms.
- Hit close to home. The most powerful creative experiences take place in the context of daily life. Rather than trying to create a new destination or create a new interest, brands that use life as a canvas can create incredible results.
Take NHS Blood & Transplant, for example. Rather than creating and plastering ads throughout local markets to drive an increase in blood donations, they created Missing Type, a simple but powerful visual way of highlighting the most needed blood types. By removing letters associated with blood types from everyday street signs, storefronts, etc., the message became clear and drove over 30,000 people to register to give blood in just 10 days.
Playstation too hit hard with the #GameIsNeverOver campaign. To reaffirm its commitment to the world of sports, the brand signed a three year partnership with the prestigious French sports institute: INSEP. A series of videos initially staged as gifs highlighted the hard work each of these athletes put in and how they keep coming back for more. By simply supporting these athletes through an innovative execution, the brand was able to connect with their audience in a new and relevant way.
Net: Don’t limit creativity to content that can be produced by the brand alone– look at ways of expanding through partnerships, uncommon media executions, etc. that relate more closely to everyday life and interests.
We could talk about these and other learnings from Cannes for days. In the meantime, let’s cheers to great creativity.