The Top 5 Things to Take Away From Cannes Lions

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Ethan Davies

Marketing Coordinator for Liberty Marketing Group

Cannes Lions 2017 was a force to be reckoned with.

The cream of the crop were on hand to give advice, share their insights and above all, give out some fancy looking awards.

Even Nick Jonas was there!

If you’re looking to de-compartmentalise and aren’t sure where to start, here are our top 5 lessons from Cannes Lions.

Innovation is Rewarded Above Everything Else

Ever wondered how to market shoe polish without a generic video of someone polishing their leather boots?

Quite the challenge isn’t it?

That’s the exact image that Ogilvi Chicago, an American digital marketing agency, wanted to avoid.

Instead, they took their campaign to the next level, and integrated a favourite subject of Cannes judges into their campaign: classic art.

The campaign, aptly named ‘Portraits Completed’, took the art world’s most famous portraits, including ‘The Mona Lisa’ and ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’, and painted the bottom halves, complete with shoes to match the original aesthetic.

Alongside this, the campaign was partnered with a museum app, which replicated the experience using augmented reality, as well as providing a combination of real art history and brand information.

This marketing masterclass, which took a relatively yawn worthy subject matter and made it interaction worthy, is exactly why the campaign took home both gold and bronze Lions awards.

Augmented Reality Takes on Gender Equality


Stop by and get #thewholestory at Cannes. Coco is outside the Palais. #canneslions2017

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Think back to the last five statues you saw, were any of them female?

From war heroes to poets, it would be easy to believe that women haven’t contributed anything to the world, judging by the fact that 92% of statues are male anyway.

Thankfully, by combining innovation, gender equality and augmented reality, Y&R New York in partnership with Current Studios sought to change that percentage, one digital statue at a time.

The Whole Story app, which was launched at this year’s Cannes Lions festival, allows users to locate the virtual statues and share the images via social media.

Historical icons such as Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel and Nina Simone are just a few of the figures who have been awarded their arguably long awaited virtual statues.

While there’s a long way to go before that statistic is balanced out, it’s pretty great to see the female icons of yesteryear getting the platform they deserve.

Socially Aware Advertisements Win Awards

Marketing has long since moved passed the days of superficial branding, and in an effort to reward emotive campaigns, Film Lions gave golds to those advertisements that made us…well, feel.

Channel 4’s ‘We’re the Superhumans’, Heineken’s ‘Jackie’ and Nike’s ‘What Girls are Made of’ were particularly well received, with the latter linking in nicely with this year’s festival favourite – The Fearless Girl.

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Emotive advertising has become somewhat of a trend of late, *cough cough* John Lewis *cough cough*, but socially aware advertising is proving that taking a stance is no longer a taboo. More than that, an advertisement goes so much further than simply selling a product.

Augmented Reality Just Got a Little Bit More Real


When a #geek and a #fashionaddict lives in one body! #mynewbie #spectacles #wearabletech #snapchatglasses

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Social media platform Snapchat’s step into the physical world has appeared to have been successful, as they took home three gold Lion’s for their innovative ‘Snap Spectacles’.

The focus on design, user experience and youth resonance was a hit with judges and audiences alike.

However, while the social media giants did come away with their fair share of awards, they didn’t quite manage to snag the Grand Prix.

In keeping with the festivals social conscious, the Columbian project ‘Payphone Bank’ took home the top brass.

Created by telecom brand TigoUne in collaboration with agency Grey Columbia and production company La Octava Bogota, the campaign looks to convert unused payphones into banking and microlending stations for those who can’t afford traditional banking.

You can take a look at the case study below:

Finally, Why Agencies Shouldn’t Focus on Cannes


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Cannes Lions may be the pinnacle of marketing success, but many agencies agree that winning at the festival should not be the focus of your strategy.

Marketing is first and foremost about the business. Getting a failing company back on its feet, a small brand into the mainstream or changing an audience’s perspective on a product; whatever the goal, an award is an added bonus, not the centre of the strategy.


Credit:@ cannes_lions

As the international festival for creativity, Cannes Lions rarely disappoints, and this year was no different.

I mean heck, they had Nick Jonas!!


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Ethan Davies

Marketing Coordinator for Liberty Marketing Group

Ethan started off his marketing journey in the third-sector. Working in-house as a Marketing Executive, across all digital marketing channels. He later moved into the private sector, again working across different digital marketing channels to help a range of businesses with their marketing strategies. Currently, Ethan is managing the marketing efforts of the Liberty marketing…

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