Top Trends at Cannes Lions 2016

29th Jun 2016 | Posted by Jenny Runnacles Jenny Runnacles's picture

I'm on the flight home from my first Cannes Lions trying to figure out how to bottle the euphoric inspiration I felt during the festival and share it with my colleagues back in the London.
The sun, the ubiquitous rosé and the late night revelry all played a significant role in making this an incredible few days. But for me, it was the opportunity to listen to some of the most accomplished, intelligent and creative people in the world that made Cannes such an amazing experience.
I’ve asked quite a few people what they feel the top trends were at the festival this year. Everyone has a different answer because it depends on what they were looking for and which sessions they attended. Some Cannes veterans have said the themes this year were more disparate, exemplified by the fact that there wasn’t one campaign leading the charge in the awards, unlike P&G’s #Likeagirl campaign in 2015.  Nevertheless, a few trends I noticed are below.
Internet culture
Big themes at Cannes tend to influence work for the year that follows. For this reason, there is a glut of 2016 shortlisted campaigns focused on gender equality.
One regular festival goer suggested that perhaps this year’s divergent trends could be captured by the phrase “internet culture”: instead of viewing the internet as a channel, we should approach it as a culture in and of itself, a unique ecosystem capable of generating its own forms of art and customs.
Collaborating for creativity
I was keen to attend any talk that marketed itself as providing the secret sauce for creativity.  In all of the sessions, the word “collaboration” was outlined as being a critical part of the solution − particularly collaboration with those from industries outside of PR and advertising.
In one workshop, Ikea revealed that, in their creative hub division, projects are deliberately staffed 80/20 for Ikea employees vs. outside collaborators, ensuring that talent is tapped from outside the company as well.  In the past, Cannes submissions with three or more different organisations involved had a 42 percent greater chance of winning. Proof perhaps that collaboration is a winning formula.
Virtual reality and the “experience economy”
Last but not least, one trend was so obvious at Cannes this year that it almost doesn’t need to be said, but here it is: Virtual reality. One of the first things I did when I arrived was try Samsung’s virtual reality simulator. The goggles, in addition to the moving seats (technical terms here), provided an incredibly realistic simulation of a roller coaster ride, so much so that I felt rather ill! The only thing missing was the feeling of wind in your hair as you swoop down from the big drop on the ride. Nevertheless, the technology represents a significant step towards providing consumers with rich, multi-sensory experiences.
Aside from virtual reality, I also heard a number of speakers use the term “experience economy” to describe the shift in consumer behavior towards unique experiences rather than material goods.
This week I’ve definitely exemplified this trend. While Cannes has great shops, I wasn’t once tempted to step inside them as I raced between the many events and panels at the festival, trying to make the most of this opportunity to learn from the best. If you’d like to view photos and videos of our experience, have a look at the #cwcannes hashtag on Twitter!


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