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  • Writer's pictureColibri Collective

Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity: Colibri’s Top Sessions

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity celebrated its 70th birthday this June. Every year marketers from around the world travel to Cannes, France to celebrate creativity and innovation, honoring the best of the best in marketing, and featuring some of the biggest and most influential marketing firms in the world. Industry leaders hosted a variety of sessions around challenging topics and questions impacting the creative marketing industry, including artificial intelligence, the effects of trauma on creativity, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and even the importance of authenticity. Here are some of the most notable sessions from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival.

Creative Marketer of the Year Seminar

During the Creative Marketer of the Year Seminar, ABInBev, an Anheuser-Bush company, made Cannes history by winning the Creative Marketer of the Year award for two consecutive years. In the midst of navigating controversy, ABInBev explained that a company must be driven by brand values to be successful in today’s climate. The company had set its sights on efforts to drive organic growth for its brands through engagement with communities and their culture, such as Corona’s Extra Lime Campaign. ABInBev knew that the best way to enjoy a proper Corona is with lime but lime imports had decreased due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently. ABInBev partnered with low-income Chinese farmers by providing resources and training to grow the perfect lime. These new and improved limes were sold alongside Coronas, with all lime profits returning to the farmers. As a creative marketer of the year, ABInBev implores brands to lean on creativity to not only drive growth but to positively impact the communities that the brand serves.

The LGBTQ+ Scoring Index

One of the core themes at the Cannes Lions focused on how brands can express support for LGBTQ+ initiatives through their branding. LinkedIn, in collaboration with GLAAD, the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and Kantar, unveiled a tool that will enable brands to measure themselves against an index of LGBTQ+ and DEI metrics. In order to measure and boost LGBTQ+ representation within the industry, organizations can compare themselves to a 5-scale index ranging from failing to excellent on representation and inclusivity. With the growing support of LGTBQ+ initiatives, brands still face obstacles in implementing DEI initiatives. The Kantar and GLAAD collaboration shows how there is still growth to be had, but also guides brands on they can efficiently move towards feasibly implementing DEI initiatives into their business strategy.

Infusing Trauma Informed Creativity into Storytelling

Trauma is nothing new, but in the following years after the pandemic trauma has taken a front-row seat in the eyes of marketing leaders, yet attempts to work through a trauma-infused lens have often led to a tone that can be perceived as exploitative or performative. Ketchum CEO Jim Joseph led a workshop that provided guidance on how to properly discuss trauma through effective storytelling. Joseph and the panel explained that trauma is not the story in its entirety but simply the beginning, and must be paired with the survival spirit to be transformed into a story of resiliency. Focusing on human-centered storytelling intrinsically enables a writer or storyteller to see the subject of the story to be multi-dimensional, that the person is not their trauma but who they become despite it.

The Future of AI and Marketing

A topic that took over many conversations at the festival concerned the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it will impact the marketing industry. As AI technology continues to advance, many companies and groups are apprehensive about the emergence of the metaverse and liquid realities. During a discussion about the future of marketing, Rori DuBoff, the Chief Innovation Officer at TBWA\Chait\Day NY, spoke about the changing perceptions of reality and how they affect identity authentication. DuBoff believes that being transparent and intentional is the best approach when creating content related to liquid or mixed reality. This sentiment was shared by Julia Goldin, the Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Lego. Lego partnered with Epic Games to explore the limitless possibilities of creativity in the metaverse. They hope to encourage parents and organizations to make the metaverse a safe and inviting space for children to express their creativity and imagination by implementing transparency, parental controls, and age-related content filters. Additionally, Goldin stated that the metaverse offers great opportunities for cross-collaboration and consumer outreach since it is interoperable and can function on various devices, making it possible for brands to reach a larger demographic of consumers.

For the past 70 years, the Cannes Lions experience has been about celebrating creativity and innovation as well as learning how to grow within an ever-changing industry. Marketing and creativity have proven time and time again to be a culture shaper. As the industry continues to embrace the presence of artificial intelligence in strategy and creative and continues to educate itself on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, culture and society will follow suit.


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