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August 10, 2022

Unifying Truths from Cannes 2022 for Brands Everywhere

It turns out, the beaches are the least interesting part about Cannes.

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is a perfect time for brands to look inward and reflect on their own creative courage. With Cannes in the rear view, we identified five key themes that are a must-know for brands.

Earned Earned Everywhere.

Nearly every Cannes Lion awarded this year was a PR idea. Marketers are realizing the most effective and efficient way to reach people is where they already are. Through earned media and influencer marketing, brands can tell compelling human stories with a trusted, authentic voice. Much of the “advertising” we saw at Cannes didn’t look like advertising at all. The lines of advertising, marketing and communication have become so blurred. But one thing is for sure… The future of advertising is PR. The now of advertising is PR. And PR is reveling in this moment.

Simple Human Truths.

Brands today need to make connections with audiences that are authentic and culturally relevant. By tapping into a new level of understanding of their core audience, and offering human truths based on insights, brands can inspire action. We know from the success of influencer marketing that imperfection is authentic. Manufactured campaigns based on passive storytelling simply won’t resonate with audiences. Campaigns like Morning After Island and Tough Turban are beautiful and inspirational examples of embracing cultural relevancy and having an audience-first mindset to solve real world problems.

Brands that provide meaningful solutions for their audience are winning not only top honors at Cannes, but more importantly, the hearts and minds of their audiences.

Healthcare is Consumer.

The pandemic brought healthcare into the mainstream. Once a niche for communications and Cannes alike, healthcare is now a de facto consumer domain, along with mental health and wellness. And while, at times, Cannes felt like a tech conference, there were countless examples of consumer and healthcare brands tapping into the metaverse, gamification, and augmented reality to create new opportunities for consumers and find new ways of bringing communities together.

Healthcare is an area that is blending seamlessly with technology and innovation to drive meaningful change. At Cannes we saw wonderful examples of organic integration of high science and entertainment to create an experience and deliver a message exactly where it’s needed. We saw many award-winning examples in the healthcare space of integrated gamification that is educational, like the Grand Prix for Good winner, Lil’ Sugar. Other campaigns including Project Convey, Stabyl, and Dell’s I Will Always Be Me, prove that tech is creating vast potential for brands to flex creative muscle while doing good, especially in healthcare.

Consumers Crave #IRL & Levity

Three years into the pandemic, marketers shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that consumers want offscreen connection and interactions. Innovation can create immersive virtual experiences, but balance is important. Technology, especially augmented reality, allows brands to offer audiences both virtual and in-person experiences—really the best of both worlds. Simple and straightforward campaigns are still relevant. Tried and true campaigns based IRL are having a cultural renaissance alongside technology and innovation.

Consumers are also craving levity. Humor and creativity – like JIF’s Lil’ JIF Project – can be impactful ways for brands to grow their base or reinforce brand strategy. Simply put, we all need a little laughter!

Brands must be both Disruptive and Inclusive.

In today’s rapidly evolving market, where culture and the zeitgeist are constantly shifting, brands must be disruptive to stand out. But disruption needs to have purpose—it’s about creativity for good that reinforces brand strategy and mission. Engineering purpose inauthentically (what we like to call “campaignifying” purpose) doesn’t resonate or have lasting impact. Inclusivity is another important benchmark for brands, in particular for reaching the Gen Z audience. This is an audience gravitating toward brands that are welcoming, sustainable, and inclusive.

In a sea of sameness, you need to be disruptive to make movement, and inclusive to remain on top.

Learning and insights provided by:

  • OIga Fleming, Global President, Marina Maher Communications and RXMosaic

  • Ivette Sanz-Osso, Chief Client Experience Officer, Marina Maher Communications and RXMosaic

  • James Ferber, Executive Creative Director, Marina Maher Communications

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