#CannesLions day one: zombies, Tinder, China and more

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicked off in the South of France today with a wealth of content spanning storytelling and new platforms for distribution through to generating fresh ideas. Here’s a highlight of some of the best bits.

1. Combining zombies and data
It might have been a bit of a shock to the system being welcomed into the Grand Audi on the first morning of Cannes Lions with clips of the zombie apocalypse, but it certainly grabbed attention. Those videos were from AMC’s hit TV show The Walking Dead, with insights overlaid from MediaCom about how its content framework can be compared with the cultural dynamics of different countries in order to see how best to market to them. The results show that the populations of the UK, USA and Canada have high individuality and like making their own decisions, for instance, while those in Spain, Turkey and Brazil don’t like uncertainty and scored low on pragmatism. When it comes to messaging therefore, the first cluster would respond well to asking “Who will survive?”, while the second would be served better with a simple statement of just “Survive”.

2. Tinder as a creative platform
Tinder might well be one of the apps getting the highest usage at Cannes this week (ahem!), but its founder, Sean Rad, took to the stage to encourage the largely advertising-based community to start using it creatively for branded content too. He said consumers are essentially using the platform to discover content, and they’re open to brands being there. “They are there digesting randomised information, so it’s a great environment to introduce brand messages. [The consumer] is in a frame of thought where they’re looking to absorb things.” But he warned brands that to get people to “swipe right”, which essentially means to like or accept them, they have to provide something that is exciting. “It’s about [offering] something raw and new and special. What excites me the most is brands that say they’re going to launch some exclusive piece of content.”

3. Creativity out of vulnerability
Every year at Cannes Lions brings new schools of thought around how to inspire creativity. Failing fast, taking risk and creating white space for ideas have all been key buzz phrases in the past. According to artist Emilie Baltz, this year it’s about going out to embarrass yourself. “Do one thing everyday you haven’t done before,” she said. “Think about one place you feel vulnerable and try to do 1% of it. Embarrassment actually means new; it means you haven’t done it before. Putting yourself in a place of that discomfort often means you’re there before others. It’s a place of innovation.”

4. Social media will be Chinese
Peter Kim, chief digital officer of Cheil Worldwide, provided 10 insights into things that will change in social media over the next 10 years. The focus on China particularly resonated. The only reason global social media isn’t yet Chinese, he said, is because of language and local growth. The GDP growth of the country (up 8% in 1990-2000 to 38% in 2010-2020) is one of the single biggest indicators of this change, he highlighted. Singles Day was also referenced – Alibaba’s e-commerce sales day that drew in a huge $9.3bn in a 24-hour period in 2014, which is more than that of every other e-commerce site worldwide between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday in 2013. China is expected to continue as a big theme across this week in Cannes, with numerous other sessions dedicated to the subject.

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