After three years, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought back personal presence for the first time since the pandemic struck, and let’s just say it certainly made up for lost time. Thousands of attendees flew to the South of France to celebrate the best in creativity and advertising. The experience went beyond just the annual award ceremony with plenty of lessons, moments and highlights worth sharing. Here are my best takeaways below:
Vogue & Snap demonstrate the power of augmented reality
High fashion meets high tech in this collaboration between Vogue and Snap as they collaborated to create an augmented reality (AR) exhibit. Each room is curated by designers such as Balenciaga† Dior† Versace, and more. Inside you could use Snap’s Lens Technology to scan codes called “landmarks” to reveal AR experiences and virtually try on clothes. For example, you could virtually try on the fur coat and jacket on display in the Gucci exhibition space.
While this event showcased the luxury of designer brands, it also highlighted the applicability of AR in retail. According to Snap, 77% of customers were interested in accessing spaces where they could explore a virtual shopping experience and create a try before you buy wardrobe, and 66% of customers using AR are less likely to return their purchases send. This allows brands to use this technology to increase sales, reduce customer return and protect their bottom line.
This exhibition also hit on a bigger trend like: ASOS, Rayban and Sephora, just to name a few, are already using AR shopping to creatively engage their customers. Going forward, AR technology has huge potential as the global market size for AR products – such as head-mounted displays, smart glasses and stationary AR systems – currently stands at $6.12 billion, but is expected to grow to $97.76 billion by 2028 with Snap leading the way to bring it to the masses.
LinkedIn CEO predicts future of B2B advertising
During his keynote, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Rolansky talked about how nine out of ten of last year’s biggest tech IPOs were B2B companies, meaning there’s likely to be a massive influx of B2B marketing spend in the coming years.
Like Nike and The Coca-Cola Company Years ago, first making their brands attractive to consumers, Rolansky predicted that more B2B brands will do the same, but for their corporate customers — and do so by hiring more tech employees than before. Rolansky shared a few more stats that spoke to this point:
- By 2021, 1.25 technical roles were hired for every creative role hired
- There is a 32% decrease in the hiring of creative skills (such as strategy and branding) compared to a 47% increase in technical skills (such as coding)
- The ad industry lost 5.5% more people than it gained in the past 5 years.
Don’t be surprised if we see more B2B companies win awards at Cannes Lions in the coming years.
Paris Hilton, Gary Vaynerchuk & Swan Sit Discuss NFT Marketing
In conversation with Swan Sit† Paris Hilton and Gary Vaynerchuk talked about the future of NFTs and how brands can best benefit from them. Hilton talked about how she made an early version of Paris World (now hosted in Roblox) in 2016, which was ahead of its time. Her view on virtual nightclubs, helicopters and mansionss essentially predicted what we know as the metaverse Today. It’s this kind of forward thinking that led to her most recent NFT launch on Origin Protocol in cooperation with super plastic†
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of speaking to Hilton myself and I asked her how? she started her NFT journey working with Origin Protocol† With that came her project “Past lives, new beginnings”, featuring a 1/1, open edition and eleven limited-edition NFTs intended to symbolize the end of one chapter and entering the next as a lawyer and entrepreneur.
As she and Vaynerchuk continue to invest in this space by VeeFriends, they encourage brands to do the same: “Brands can call my business and I will make it happen,” Hilton said. Her best advice was how important it is to work with the right people – and of course she is one of them.
Celebrities ask for more diversity
“76% of non-white creative professionals didn’t even know [advertising] was a career when they were in high school,” he said. It’s an amazing stat that celebrities like Issa Rae† Tracee Ellis Rossand Ryan Reynolds use their influence to change.
During the same panel with Robinson and Etienne, Ryan Reynolds spoke about his latest initiative, Creative ladder† This non-profit organization aims to help students of all backgrounds learn about all the creative careers that await them, and offers leadership training for those embarking on their journey.
Later, Tracee Ellis Ross thought about certain “mentorship programs” to say it’s unfair to give someone an unpaid internship and then leave them high and dry without a position when it ends. She said there’s nothing wrong with being a mentor, but giving people a job. These “mentor programs” that don’t pay — that tap into people and everything they have to offer — and then don’t promise a job at the end of that mentorship don’t work.”
On the main stage of Cannes Lions, Issa Rae spoke about the work that remains to be done to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry. “I still see prejudice in the industry,” she said. “Now there’s a public discourse on it, people can call it out and see the results.”
Rae leads by example by implementing a mandate on all her projects: 60% of all crew members on the set must have different backgrounds. It’s not the first time she’s challenging industry bias – in 2014 she launched ColorCreativea management company intended to support diverse creators and produce inclusive content.
Looking back on her career, Rae said she… most proud of “make a pipeline” [and] growing people in the industry.”
Spotify takes audio beyond music
In less than four years they went from just a few podcasts to a world leader in the market† Lee BrownSpotify’s Global Head of Advertising Business & Platform said “creators are the backbone of” [this] business”, which is why it is so important to support them.
Spotify also hosted panel discussions with some of their top talents, including the “Batman unburiedvoice actors Winston Duke and Hasan Minhajowho discussed the adaptation and their experience creating the audio-only series.
Spotify has made it clear that podcasting is a priority and the company is eager to reach younger listeners. Highly-produced shows like “Batman Unburied” serve as a great entry point for the public to discover other content from smaller creators. With so many different types of podcasts to enjoy, Spotify attracts a wide variety of listeners – 32.5 million monthly listeners in the United States, and that number is only increasing.
YouTube shared the latest trends in Creator Economy
In her keynote address, YouTube & Video Global Solutions VP Debbie Weinstein spoke about how YouTube has paid their creators $30 billion over the past three years, which is more than any other social platform. Thanks to YouTube’s monetization programs, more creators are pursuing their craft full-time and earning a living from their content.
Weinstein also highlighted the growth of YouTube Shorts, the platform’s short video response to TikTok. She quoted that there are over 30 billion Shorts views and 1.5 billion active Shorts users every day. While this format is gaining popularity among Gen Z, viewers still haven’t left longer videos. In fact, 59% of viewers use YouTube Shorts to discover topics they want to watch longer versions of, and 60% of them use YouTube to find more content about a show or movie they’ve just watched – meaning the two formats complement each other rather than compete.
Following Weinstein, YouTube’s Global Director of Culture & Trends Kevin Allocca presented a fascinating keynote about the latest trends and insights on the platform. He spoke of several growing content genresincluding:
- “Comfort Makers”: Alloca said 83% of Gen Z used YouTube to watch soothing content that helps them relax. As a result, formats such as ASMR continue to evolve as viewers turn to creators to help them feel “comfortable” and reduce anxiety.
- “Community creativity”: Creators turn niche interests into shared experiences. A good example is Big Jet TV, which attracted nearly 250,000 viewers to watch the creator Jerry Dyer’s coverage of planes that flew through Storm Eunice as they landed at Heathrow airport.
- “Creativity in multiple formats”: Allocca elaborated on Weinstein’s earlier point about how creators use Shorts and Long Content to complement each other.
Allocca spoke to the maker later Mark Robert about his journey on YouTube over the past decade, as they reminisced about the changing landscape and how best to navigate. The two closed by saying their best advice to creators is to focus on building dialogue, experimenting with formats, and responding to their audience’s needs.
With all that has happened at Cannes Lions this year, there were undoubtedly moments I missed, so feel free to comment below if you were there and had any other takeaways or lessons to share.