By: Katherine Nguyen, Integrated Marketing Coordinator

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicked off earlier this week at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France. The festival is regarded by creatives as the industry’s most important event of the year – with 11,000 delegates from 90 countries coming together to celebrate the best of the best in advertising and creative communications, with nominees vying for the coveted Grand Prix.

The festival is often considered a celebration of storytelling, with brands like Apple and Coca-Cola winning big for their fresh takes on advertising.

Below are four things on the future of our industry that we can learn from these brands at this year’s Cannes Lions.

Technology is Transforming Storytelling

Automation, augmented reality and social media are all reimagining the way we send and receive information. McDonald’s new “McFive”  touch-screen hand sanitizer dispenser brought home the Future Lions Award for its innovative use of light-based disinfection technology that allows customers to high-five their screens to sterilize their hands, further proving the tremendous impact technology can have on transforming the business landscape.

By enhancing creatives and serving as a platform for collaboration and innovation, technology offers endless opportunities for brands to showcase their talents and share content that resonates with people.

Advertising Needs to be Creative to Stand Out

The New York Times, Nike and Ikea took home awards for their social justice-inspired campaigns that offered a glimpse into different modes of storytelling in addition to the impact of spotlighting adversity and human resilience. Nike’s Campaign with Colin Kaepernick is a testament to the significance of taking risks and developing compelling narratives.

Image result for nike dream crazy

Influencer Marketing is a Powerful Thing

Influencer marketing is the focal point of most brand strategies because it’s proven itself to be a useful tool. In fact, there was an entire discussion hosted by Chrissy Teigen around this “trend” and its prominence as we have experienced a shift from traditional advertising to social advertising. With the ability to connect with potential consumers and form genuine relationships, it’s no wonder that this technique has become a phenomenon of sorts.

Uber Influencer and personality, Chrissy Teigen on stage at Twitter Beach during Cannes Lions Festival with Twitter CMO Leslie Berland

Branded Content Campaigns Are Most Effective

Companies have discovered  traditional “interruption” advertising does not work as well as it has in the past. Instead, brands are now opting to create content that audiences will actually want to engage with, tailored specifically to the platform on which it appears. Spike Jonze’s award-winning “Welcome Home,” short film for Apple is a perfect example of marketing camouflaged as entertainment.  

Image result for welcome home apple

With this year’s festivities wrapping up in just one day, we’re already looking forward to the next iteration of Cannes Lions and seeing more brands disrupt the industry.