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5 lessons from Cannes Lions 2018

As the dust settles on the 65th Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, it’s time to reflect on the key trends and learnings that emerged from adland’s biggest gathering.

With a jam-packed agenda featuring the biggest names in marketing as well as the latest tech start-ups and digital pioneers, it was a week of inspiration and insight.

Complementing the main festival programming, MediaCom remained in its familiar home at the historic Martinez Hotel, hosting a specially curated programme of intimate fireside chats and panel sessions.

These exclusive sessions were designed to add depth to some of the major themes discussed on the main stages as well as revealing intriguing new perspectives.

In this report, we share the key lessons from the week, the work that epitomises their power, and the insights that will keep our teams and our client partners thinking long into the future.

We can summarise our learnings into five lessons for brands:

1. Gender remains a hot topic

One year on from the launch of the #unstereotype alliance and at a time when the #MeToo movement is forcing many to rethink their approach, a number of brands spoke openly about addressing inequality. Perhaps the most high-profile was Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, who explained ‘sex sells’ is an outdated concept in 2018.

2. New technology is helping brands cut through… and transform lives

As Malcolm Poyton, Global Chief Creative Officer at Cheil Worldwide, explained in the Palais: “Consumers expect brands to use technology to connect with them because that’s how they  are connected to the world.” Often, however, brands simply use tech for the sake of using something new. One of the heartening themes of this year’s Cannes was the  best campaigns used technology relevant to the insight or message.

3. Diversity matters… in your ads

As P&G’s Marc Pritchard said at Cannes: “The days of general audience and general marketing are gone and that is a good thing. People want to see themselves, and to see brands with points of view – that is what is going to connect.” He stressed: “If you are not doing multicultural marketing, particularly in a place like America, you’re not doing marketing.”

4. Diversity matters… in your company

Ensuring diversity at a time when data and digital are changing the roles of the marketing department – and the skills needed to successfully understand how data, technology and marketing is driving business outcomes – is no easy task. That’s because two separate areas need to be addressed; the diversity of skills and ensuring that the team truly reflects the target audience.

5. Nothing matters if people don’t trust your brand

Marketers often speak a lot about building ‘brand love’. But to get consumers to start loving your brand you first need to win their trust. To do that, you must convince them that you are authentic and sincere in what you say. Get it wrong and consumers will not only ignore your messages, they’ll actively avoid your brand, too

To find out more about these lessons, see the work that demonstrates their power, and uncover insights that will keep you thinking long into the future, download the full report.

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