Redefine the relationship between people and brands

Moving from touch-points to trust-points

Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

If you are working in a creative field, you might be dreaming of winning a prize, a recognition for your work, something that will show your future clients how good you actually are.

However, what is the most important award for Design and User Experience?

I have tried to analyze the Cannes Festival, one of the most glamorous festivals in the world, in order to understand how the event has changed over the years. My focus was on possible correlations between the prize itself and its impact on the market.

Cannes Festival is a potential career-changing event for those working in creative communication, advertising, and related fields.

Since its first edition in the late 1940s, the Festival has changed considerably. Formerly “International Advertising Festival,” it was rebranded “International Festival of Creativity” in 2012. Throughout this evolution, the organizers have had to address some relevant market changes. That’s how new categories were introduced, such as Design Lions in 2008, Mobile Lions in 2012 and Innovation Lions in 2013.

But the Cannes Festival is not all about Lions; it hosts numerous events and conferences and people from all over the world gather to discuss topics related to the creative industry. These people have long been used to talk about advertising and marketing campaigns but they have only recently started to address products, services, and technologies. In 2018 entire sessions were held on innovation and topics like Blockchain, Data-driven creativity, and Artificial Intelligence.

The most significant breaking point dates back to 2012, when RG/A won a prize with the project Nike Fuelband
Fuelband was not a marketing campaign or traditional advertising. Fuelband was a device that tracks all your daily activities and converts them into a universal metric called “fuel,” which can also be compared to somebody else’s. Nike Fuelband was simultaneously a product and a service, a highly functional experience that can stimulate users and leverage Nike to an even more powerful position in the sport industry.

Credit: Nike

The 2018 winner was Today at Apple, an educational project available in more than 450 stores, where everybody has the opportunity to learn more about Apple products. This is much more than promotion, it is a significant example of how to make an impact and engage with users

Today at Apple Credit: Apple

This year’s Grand Prix for Brand Experience and Activation went to McCann New York for its Microsoft campaign “Changing the Game.” 

Changing the Game” promote the new Adaptive Xbox controller. A project that not only transforms the relationship between people and brand but created real change, it has a big impact in people’s lives in terms of generating things like confidence.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller — credits: Microsoft

Cannes participants have drastically changed over time, advertising and creativity make way for design and innovation. Several major events from the last Festival were hosted by tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. High-Tech companies have developed a strong design culture, as shown by IBM IX — the strategic design and technology-oriented department of IBM.

 IBM IoT Tower — Credit: IBM

So what’s next for Cannes and its Lions? Constant change is key to survival, a strong move towards innovation is exactely what the market needs and requires.

Lions Categories have increased in last ten years, but when the core is innovation, it is difficult to define categories. Projects will have fewer boundaries, brands will embrace the bigger picture, without focusing on single assets, moving from “touch-point” to “trust-point.” 
Advertising companies have been going through profitability deterioration and their way of making up for this market loss is acquiring design firms. Big companies are doing more, they are creating a design culture within their organization.

Real winners have a strong culture, and culture lasts longer than festivals.