The gritty and the glitzy - the 2016 Cannes Lions

4:38 PM, 25 July 2016

2016 Cannes Lions Traditionally synonymous with glitz and glam, the Cannes Lions festival also reminded us of the gritty issues surrounding the state of advertising and marketing.

So what were the key issues raised in Cannes this year?

Under the influence

As more and more people are ignoring brands (mirroring the increase of ad-blocking), marketers are now turning to social media influencers to regain trust and restore connection.

Popular influencers are characterised by their authenticity, passion, and the high level of trust they get from their followers. Tapping into their "influence," marketers are partnering with social media celebrities with the hope of bridging the trust gap between brands and consumers.

This proved to be pay off for Unilever, who recently used Kendall Jenner in their Magnum campaign - this collaboration resulted in a 3.2% lift in sales.

Another perk of collaborating with influencers is the access to their varied channels. Influencers live and breathe social media and can therefore provide brands with original perspectives when it comes to newer platforms such as Snapchat, Vine or Periscope.

Serve the purpose

Purpose is not a new theme. It, however, has really gained momentum over the last two years.

At this year's festival, a fair share of the Grand Prix Winners presented work with purpose at its heart. Here are three examples:

  • Unilever Hindustan's light-hearted 6 Pack Band promoted equal rights for transgenders and received a Glass Lion ( which celebrates culture-shifting creativity).
  • Pearson's poignant Project Literacy was launched to fight against illiteracy worldwide and received the Health and Wellness Grand Prix.
  • Philips' emotional Breathless Choir showcased people with severe breathing problems gaining back their voice and their confidence -- winning the supreme title in the Pharma category.

The (virtual) real deal

Virtual reality (VR) made its presence known at the Festival through keynotes, off-stage demos and the Awards ceremony.

New York Time's The Displaced campaign won the Grand Prix in the Entertainment category with its VR experience that puts users in the shoes of refugee children forced to flee their countries.

The VR environment is a discovery experience where the user feels, rather than sees. Through its immersive nature, it has the potential of transforming and amplifying the power of storytelling.

Most big organisations today are trying to keep up with the pace of change driven by technology and new consumer habits. Going into untapped territories can be scary but groundbreaking projects don'™t happen by chance.

For the full list of golds, silvers and bronzes, click here.

Have consumers truly tuned out brands? Are we delivering enough purpose in our content? Which award-winning works struck a chord with you? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to

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