After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity returned with an in-person event (as well as on-demand access) in time to celebrate its 69th year. The WGSN Insight team was on the ground to capture the key themes of the festival and to host four sessions and two panel events.
Below you can read a preview of our newly published Big Ideas: Cannes Lions 2022 report, where we review the key activations from tech companies, and highlight the 10 big ideas that dominated conversations, from financial instability and the convergence of marketing and retail, to the future of influence.
WGSN Original Image: Cannes Lions Awards Show Steps
Since the last Cannes Lions festival in 2019, the industry has seen drastic change amid a pandemic and its knock-on effects. In 2020, lo-fi and DIY approaches to advertising took off, but rapid digital acceleration followed, bringing on the age of experimentation in virtual worlds in 2021 and 2022.
The metaverse has since become a buzzword, and brands are flocking to virtual spaces to explore and experiment, which was a key focus at Cannes Lions. The evolution of relevant marketing was also discussed at length amid a changing landscape, where consumers are increasingly in control as co-conspirators of branded creative output.
At the same time, amid a global reprioritisation of values around work and wellness, people and planet commanded attention at this year's festival, with speakers advocating for greenvertising (a theme WGSN predicted would drive the industry in our 2022 Marketing Forecast) and a need to empower employees amid a talent crisis.
WGSN Original Image: Cannes Lions Terrace
WGSN’s week in review
Carla Buzasi, WGSN's President and CEO, kicked off Monday morning with a packed session on the Forum Stage, focused on the future consumer, where she spotlighted the four sentiments and profiles set to drive 2024 forward (be sure to download our Future Consumer 2024 white paper for a recap).
Tuesday was focused on digital futures and WGSN's Senior Strategist, Cassandra Napoli, took to the Discovery Stage to present Brand-building in The Metaverse: Three Simple Steps, which highlighted the three "C's of the metaverse": (1) community-building; (2) co-creation; and (3) commerce.
Head of Insight Joe McDonnell delivered a highly anticipated session on virtual influencers on Wednesday, which featured a live interview with Zero, a virtual character with 119K Instagram followers, created by Offbeat Media. On Thursday, WGSN Insight closed out the week in the south of France with Andrea Bell, WGSN's VP of Consumer Insight who expertly answered the question on every marketer's mind: how do we engage with Gen Z?
Throughout the week, attendees of WGSN talks received a Golden Ticket to The Future, which led them to download our new white paper on the 2024 Consumer. With sustainability in mind, these ‘mini white papers’ helped us work towards a more sustainable planet, by using HP Indigo Carbon Neutral presses, eco-friendly HP ElectroIns, manufactured at a 14001 environmentally certified printers on FSC sustainably sourced carbon balanced paper.
WGSN Original image: Golden Ticket to the Future
Creative tech activations
A variety of tech companies descended on the Croisette and delivered buzzy activations, providing experience-hungry festival-goers memorable moments that were both physical and digital.
Pinterest: Pinterest took over the Carlton Beach Club to host an experience that was designed to be a positive exploration of creativity, similar to the role its platform plays in consumers' lives. Visitors could explore their artistry via a sneaker customisation class, experiment with their looks via various beauty makeovers with artists, get a tattoo, and even enter a contest for a chance to win a gift for a loved one at home via its gift-giving space.
WGSN Original Image: Pinterest at Carlton Beach Club
Snapchat: the platform teamed with Vogue to host Redefining the Body, an exhibit at the Centre d’art La Malmaison. The stunt leveraged Snap's AR Try-On technology, letting visitors and Snapchat users globally experiment with designs and branded displays in the rooms of the space from seven fashion houses, including Gucci and Balenciaga, as well as the UK's Richard Quinn and Nigeria's Kenneth Ize.
WGSN Original Image: Vogue X Snapchat at Cannes Lions
Shutterstock: the stock image site is emerging as a leader in the 3D space, and hosted an activation to demonstrate this. Visitors could unlock 3D effects on their phones and also have their portraits taken by David Fisher, which were turned into NFTs to be used across social media.
WGSN Original Image: Shutterstock at Cannes Lions
WGSN subscribers can now read our full breakdown of the 10 biggest ideas to emerge from the festival, and how they will impact the future of brand-building and consumer engagement, from our Big Ideas: Cannes Lions 2022 report.