The best ad creative marries emotions with technology

Cannes Lions 2018

It is difficult to come away from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and not feel inspired. The festival has been bringing together the world’s best creative communications professionals each summer since 1954, and every year it seems to offer something new and unexpected. For many, the 2018 edition was a stark reminder that despite the great advances in technology our industry has experienced in recent years, the best ad creative continues to be driven by honesty, authenticity and emotions. The big takeaway from this year is that when technology and emotions work hand-in-hand, it can transform the entire creative experience.

This theme came up over and over, whether during one of the sessions with the industry’s most thought-provoking speakers or in casual conversations aboard one of the magnificent yachts dotting the Cannes harbour. We heard it from Marcelo Pascoa, the global head of brand marketing at Burger King, who argued that technology makes conversations with consumers more seamless, custom, personalized and valuable. We heard it from Jan Livingston, the EVP and executive creative director at Fox Networks Group, who pointed out that honesty is the most important part of creative. And we heard it from Mars chief marketing officer, Andrew Clarke, who spoke of purpose-based creative and claimed it can help drive 30% better viewability rates.

Perhaps no comments rang truer than those of Nestlé’s global head of digital innovation and service models, Pete Blackshaw. Blackshaw said that we are in a new age of “invitational marketing,” one in which the value exchange between brands and consumers has been flipped on its head. It is crucial for brands to embrace this new dynamic. According to Blackshaw, emotion matters now more than ever before, especially on mobile because the platform raises the stakes and gives greater voice to consumers. “Mobile is like water,” he said, “it is centric to all of media.”

This all echoed our own session with The Drum, in which we talked about the importance of using great mobile ad creative to drive engagement and interactivity. Targeting and relevancy are only part of the equation. The other, equally crucial part is using the technology inherent in today’s mobile devices to develop highly engaging ad creative that both inspires consumers and compels them to take action. Earlier this year we launched the Interplay Studio to design ad experiences for specific mobile environments -- mostly gaming environments -- that consumers actually enjoy. We believe that if an ad can help lift the spirit of consumers, the entire ecosystem benefits.

New advances in rich media, video, attribution, artificial intelligence and other areas have driven great advances in mobile ad targeting, relevancy and interactivity. But if there was one big insight from this year’s Cannes Lions festival, it is that even the best use of technology is meaningless for advertisers if their ad creative lacks emotion.

Lauren Baca, Director of Marketing, Tapjoy

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