City of Cannes

Cannes Lions recap: AI, creators and creative

Like many digital marketers and brand agencies, our team spent the last week of June in the south of France, soaking in all that the Croissette has to offer with clients and friends. It was an action-packed week, taking in inspiration from across the industry and it’s left us not just reflecting on all that we saw, but imagining how it will impact the future of brand marketing.

We started the week eager to unpack the impact of AI on the industry (aren’t we all), hopeful that human-centric creative will prevail in a world where tech continues to reign supreme (it does), and curious where the creator economy stands in the midst of all this change (they are thriving).

We left with a feeling of optimism, that tech and creative are far from a zero sum game but rather an exponential equation. That by harnessing the power of each, we can rapidly scale the ability for digital marketing to reach and resonate with audiences (see: our belief in the forest AND the trees). That connecting these dots is HOW we make digital marketing work.

Here are some of our takeaways.

AI is here to stay, and that’s OK:

It’s been around for years, but seemingly 2023 is the #SummerAITurnedPretty. And we’re all trying to figure out what table it should sit at in the cafeteria.

Understandably, it was the topic du jour at Cannes – with brands, adtech platforms and technology providers themselves all weighing in on where AI plays a role in creative, strategy, deployment and measurement. Turns out, AI can have lunch with whoever it wants. And it’s not just desserts.

It was clear that marketers across brand marketing, performance marketing and marketing attribution are seeing the value that AI can provide to enhance – not replace – their efforts. With the embrace of the technology, in all its forms, we’re excited to see the impact that AI will have to better allow our industry to understand consumers’ behaviors and actions.

The #creator economy is alive and well

It’s not news that social media and influencer culture has transformed the way brands connect with their audiences. Collaborating with influencers on both organic and sponsored campaigns has become a vital component of successful marketing strategies.

At the festival, there was a palpable buzz surrounding the potential of influencers and creators to drive engagement, brand loyalty, and culture itself.

In a world where the power to create culture has never been more democratized than ever before – we love to see our industry embrace a new D2C model: direct to creator. It’s how we help brands find the throughline between culture, conversation and commerce, merging the #memeoftheweek with commercial success.

Creative as a revenue driver, not an afterthought

The paradigm shift we’ve all been waiting for! This year’s festival emphasized the importance of viewing creativity as a revenue driver, rather than an afterthought

(see: Our Approach – Creative That’s Not an Afterthought) Since the end of the Don Draper era and the rise of digital marketing’s ability to track ROI – creative ideas have become secondary to strategic considerations, resulting in campaigns that failed to captivate and convert.

Not anymore! Now, both things can be true.

Cannes Lions 2023 highlighted the need for a holistic approach that unifies creativity and business objectives. By merging compelling storytelling, innovative design, and strategic thinking, brands can create experiences that resonate with consumers and drive measurable results. Don, if you’re looking for a role, we have a performance marketing specialist we’d be happy to pair you with.

Till next year, Cannes!