Cannes Lions 2017: Highlights from days three and four


With Cannes Lions well underway, we look back at the last couple of days at the festival, with a growing focus on how data is supporting creativity.


During an Alibaba talk, Chris Tung made it clear from the outset that they were a business who sees themselves as a place where buyers and sellers meet, as well as the seller’s data manager.

Addressing the elephant in the room of all ‘big data’ discussions, he rightly challenged businesses who claim to have ‘big data’ but still have gaps in their knowledge about their customer. The relevancy to marketers in this is the question of how much they really know their customer.

He then revealed Uni Marketing – a product Alibaba created that feeds from the data infrastructure they have for their big data. It provides an online account for marketers to go in and track real-time campaign performance, but also the behaviours of their customers. Alibaba have a whole installation in Cannes Innovation about it that delegates can engage with. It really could live up to Tung’s claims about it revolutionising marketing, but Alibaba is still dominated by Asian consumers, so will be most relevant for these markets for now.

Meanwhile, IBM’s Watson talk looked at how AI was being used from diagnosing cancer through to helping people through tricky legal processes. At premium fashion event The Met Gala, Watson fed data from social media platforms to the dress of Karolina Kurkova whilst at the event. Online comments about the dress determined the colour of its lights. Alex Da Kid enriched the session with his views on the technology ‘not many music producers have access to such technology’ he said, perhaps hinting that many would use it if available to them.

Prejudice and the use of data in marketing are both controversial topics. The latter of these seemed to receive larger audiences today, perhaps because the former has been talked about in previous years and we now need to take action. What was clear was that successes come from even the simplest of actions: Alex Da Kid playing around with IBM’s Watson resulted in a top-10 Billboard hit and Mindshare’s formation of Bollywood and pop-band Brooke Bond Red Label: 6 Pack Band brought some of the band members out of poverty.

Video highlights from day three:

On day 4 fashion photographer Mario Testino provided exclusive and unfiltered access in to his career history this morning, which paved the way for MARIOTESTINO+, his marketing agency.
Meanwhile, Diageo gave a well-structured and intuitive lesson on purpose marketing, answering some difficult questions and admitting failure - "If you don’t put your hand up to admit failure, you’re either not a creative or your lying… as we all fail, we might as well talk about it". A perfect blend of examples, theory, take-aways and encouragement, this was an especially useful presentation to watch.

Tuesday also marked China Day, and the Cannes Lions pane discussed the rise of Chiona’s top cyber celebrity Papi Zhang. When the session started it became clear quickly that Papi Jiang and her team, represented on stage by her agent Ming Yang, had achieved extraordinary success in launching her own social media platform – Papitube.

Video highlights from day four:

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