The top creative trends at this year’s Cannes Lions festival

The top creative trends at this year’s Cannes Lions festival

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, our Creative Strategy team caught up with a handful of the creative agencies and brands behind some of the past year’s most inspiring and impactful campaigns and activations. Not surprisingly, the ideas that stood out were simple, bold and made a statement.  

Here are some of the most inventive, ingenious and unexpected trends our team noticed at Cannes 2017:

Breaking the fourth wall

While McCann’s “Fearless Girl” was one the biggest winners this year, Burger King and David Miami's "Google Home of the Whopper" surprised everyone by taking home the Grand Prix in Direct. The teams used an innovative approach, breaking the fourth wall via broadcast to activate in-home digital innovations. That surprised homeowners who didn’t expect the interactivity, and broke new ground for marketing.

Pushing through the clutter

While it was a bit quirky and unusual at first glance, our team loved the Onion-like satire and creativity of the Cheetos Museum from Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Its take on the unexpected elevated the campaign into something extraordinary—while also driving earned media buzz and achieving business results. Another interesting campaign was the highly inventive campaign from Instagram and Addict’aide. They created a fake Instagram account under the name Louise Delage, and published photos to the account using a model. Alcoholic beverages played a role in every photo—sometimes as the focal point, and sometimes in the background. Turns out the stunt was created to showcase how alcohol addiction is sometimes right in front of our eyes, but we still don’t notice it.

Turning data into art

Data has been a hot topic for a number of years. From manipulating it, to dissecting it, to exploiting it. But this year we saw a shift. Campaigns became more niche and personalized, rather than speaking to the masses. We’ve seen a lot of beautiful, data-backed stories that hit an emotional chord. From Grey Brazil's Gold-winning browser plugin (The Color of Corruption) to Y&R Italy's Chat yourself app, data and technology were used as a thread to deliver impactful stories and ads, rather than serving as the main focus.  

Offline is the new online

Did you know that people check their phones 150 times a day? Pinterest President Tim Kendall opened this year’s festival with a talk about people’s addiction to their phones. Kendall discussed how people’s addictive behavior contributes to mindless consumption, rather than fulfilling activities. This theme of “time well spent” was prevalent all around the festival. For example, Lars Silberbauer, Global Director of Social at LEGO, explained the importance of looking beyond digital engagement, and also inspiring people to get offline and engage in real life. For LEGOs, that means kids playing with actual LEGOs, rather than just spending time on screens interacting with digital content. Another award-winning example came from BBDO NY with their Lowe's “Made in a Minute 360” how to-videos, where the brand teaches people home improvement skills using the 360° video format so that people can go step-by-step at their own pace. We expect to keep seeing this trend over time as more brands try to bridge the online world, with the offline world.

Our team’s favorites from Cannes 2017

Of all the wonderful work we saw in Cannes, we’ve got some favorites. We asked our team about their most beloved work—work inspired by smart and culturally relevant human insights. Here’s some of their favorites:  

  • Andy Holton, US lead, Creative Strategy: “My fave was the Pedigree Child Replacement campaign out of New Zealand. It focused on a human truth during an important life stage and was executed in a fun and compelling way that also drove business results.”

  • Alastair Cotterill, Head of the Studio: “Like my addition played with the cultural zeitgeist, reimagined how a campaign could play out over time and landed an important message to a hard-to-reach audience. The medium is the message.”

Looking ahead

Our mission at Pinterest is to help people discover and do what they love. Everything we do as a company keeps that goal in mind, and we work hard to connect Pinners with the right ideas for their personal tastes. As an industry, let’s continue to focus on time well spent, rather than time spent. Let’s continue to explore the possibilities through inspiration, action and impactful creative. Let's continue to help businesses achieve results while making memorable creative—creative that matters.

—Raashi Rosenberger and Brad Spychalski