Humanity Reigns Supreme at Cannes 2016

July 14, 2016

By Christina Cubeta — Quantcast, Vice President, Global Marketing

Just a few weeks ago, all corners of the marketing community descended on the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. What has historically been a close knit landing pad for the celebration of creativity and big, great ideas, has exploded, drawing technologists, media agencies, social good companies – but chief among them, marketers. Despite the larger than ever crowd, insights for building a brand in the age of big data felt clear.

Creativity and Big Data Officially Collide: but Humanity Reigns

As the consumer's ability to skip, block and fast-forward through a brand's message increases, everyone is thinking about 'content' much differently, from the approach, to media delivery and formats, to product messages and to creative. Not surprisingly, hyper-relevant creative, charged with a brand's purpose and masterful storytelling, ruled across the award winning work. In particular, how creativity and data come together to achieve this was a mainstream conversation. A look across the winners in the newer category of Creative Data featured a powerful combination of these to advance countries and purpose.

As marketers today, we have the most sophisticated tools ever invented to do our jobs. Of the most powerful data driven work, as in business and culture shifting, a singular and loud message was clear: big data's most powerful partner is humanity. In particular, these brands instinctively bring humanity to the digital world by applying what I think of as the "Five Digital Senses" to their data and asking themselves to answer five questions from the audience's perspective:

Sight — Can Your Brand See Me?

Today, we expect brands to really get us. We want them to be intuitive, anticipate our needs and find us at the right moment.

Toyota's Japanese iDrive worked to solve overcrowding through new, small vehicles that compute and communicate gps and driving data to create maps of available parking throughout the city. The future of mobility?

Sound — Can Your Brand Hear Me?

Data allows us to turn up the volume when an audience speaks, and to respond in real time.

The Costa Rican Second Scoreboard introduced alongside soccer scores brought visibility to the rise of domestic violence that occurs during matches and reduced reports by 40%.

Touch — Does Your Brand Feel Different?

John Hegarty, founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, advocates for the power of creativity in an increasingly homogenized world. "Ultimately, creativity is going to be the thing that makes the difference. [...] I thought the idea of a brand was difference. So that's what you've got to pursue, the power of difference."

The Irish Military used data and relevancy to find the difference amongst its citizens and ultimately the those with the right fit for its defense force.

Smell — Is Your Brand Authentic?

Today's data-driven, always-on, social-media centric world has activated one consumer sense more than any other. Audiences have the ability to sniff out when a brand is being authentic or manipulative. Data is an early warning system that tells a brand when it's strayed from the things that matter to its audience.

The Live Logo in Ecuador used data and creativity to communicate with its citizens and raise awareness about important economic factors from unemployment to availability of housing to clean water and more.

Taste — Does Your Brand Leave Behind a Memory Or the Demand for Mouthwash?

It's easy to use data to turn up the short-term effects on sales. But over indexing on price and the latest deal leaves a bad taste in the mouths of consumers. Research shows that while response campaigns drive short-term addictive results, they can ultimately degrade preference. A combination of both brand and response drives the best long term results, and is the difference between a memory and mouthwash.

Titanium Grand Prix winner, REI, chose a powerful e-commerce moment in time to make a brand play, refusing to open on America's biggest shopping day and encourage people to spend time outdoors.

In a digital world, where data and technology are constantly reinventing the advertising model, I am inspired by the work of our industry and excited by what next year's campaigns will teach us.


"Humanity Reigns Supreme at Cannes 2016." Christina Cubeta, Vice President of Global Marketing at Quantcast.

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