Frank Holland
Posted on 5/27/2014

For the advertising industry, Cannes International Festival of Creativity is a moment that matters. For the individual, winning a Cannes Lions award can change an entire career; opening up opportunities that would never have existed. For an agency, it is capable of catapulting you into the spotlight and attracting millions of dollars’ worth of new business opportunities. For the delegate, it’s listening to an iconic speech – Bill Clinton,, Annie Leibovitz, Arianna Huffington - that stays with you forever.

The same is true for our audiences. All over the world, at any point in time, there are millions of people experiencing moments that matter to them. Whether it’s watching their team score the deciding goal in a ‘winner takes all’ match, finally completing that new video game with friends on Xbox Live or receiving the email that confirms they’ve won a huge new business pitch. It is during these moments that memories are created, lasting relationships are formed, and intense bonds are strengthened.

As advertisers, these are the powerful moments that we want to be a part of. However, in the multi-screen, multi-tasking world in which we live today, this is not as easy as it once was. Driven by changing social habits and technological advances, audiences have become increasingly fragmented and advertisers have had to quickly adapt to fit the way in which modern consumers live their lives in order to stay relevant and stay engaged.

For example, a little over a decade ago, if people wanted to be a part of a big sports match they had three options - travel to the stadium, watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio. Today they can still do all of those things, but they can also stream it on PC or tablet, get live updates and clips on their smartphone or watch the whole game at a more convenient time on a host of catch up video services. As advertisers, if we want to continue to share in these moments, we must be able to tell a compelling story across all of the screens, and all of these activities.

As audiences have become increasingly digitalised, Cannes Lions has followed suit. The changing profile of the festival over its recent lifespan offers a perfect reflection of this. When Cannes celebrated its 40th anniversary, digital technology providers were notable only in their absence. Even as the festival turned 50 there were still only a handful of major tech players in evidence on the Croisette. Of course Microsoft, a headline sponsor of the festival for ten years, was proudly one.

This year, tech and digital media companies will be demonstrating just how deeply engrained digital is in the lives, hearts and minds of consumers, and how closely intertwined technology and advertising has become. Nothing illustrates this better than our announcement today that Microsoft is the exclusive technology innovation partner for Cannes Lions. Amongst other things, we’ll be turning the static Shortlist Display area into an interactive, dynamic, digital showcase, helping delegates experience campaigns as they were originally intended.

As the story of Cannes Lions is told across multiple screens this year, it’s important we remember one important truth. You don’t capture consumers on a screen; you capture them in a moment. The real currency for advertisers today is experience; and crucially, how well brands can position themselves in the moments that matter, wherever they are taking place.


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