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By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

June 23, 2022 | 3 min read

Wunderman Thomson’s AI-powered custom color generator for architects has won the highest prize for B2B creative work.

The first-ever Creative B2B Grand Prix was awarded today at Cannes Lions to Wunderman Thompson for an AI-powered tool the agency developed for paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams.

‘Speaking in Color’ is an AI-driven solution created for architects to generate custom color palettes. Developed by Wunderman Thompson’s Minneapolis office, the application prompts users to describe their ideal color. They can explain it explicitly or evoke a sensation — “start with a memory, a place, a feeling – anything that inspires you,” the brand says on a website for the app. The solution then employs machine learning capabilities to come up with a one-of-a-kind color palette. Users can make modifications to the palette they’re presented with by requesting minor adjustments until their dream hue is created.

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Speaking in Color diagram from Sherwin-Williams

The app bagged the coveted Grand Prix in a category that was introduced to Cannes Lions this year. The festival said it introduced the B2B Lions because it’s witnessed an uptick in B2B winners in recent years. “It’s time [B2B] finally had its own spotlight on the global creative stage,” the organization said in a blog post.

Across the industry, B2B marketing is gaining steam. Per recent LinkedIn data, close to 90% of marketers say that brand-building is as important for B2B brands as B2C brands when it comes to ensuring long-term growth. The sentiment has been evidenced in upticks in marketing spend for B2B brands — and campaigns that increasingly mirror those of B2C brands. ClickUp, Intuit, Squarespace and Salesforce all shelled out for multimillion-dollar spots at Super Bowl LVI in February. LinkedIn — which served as a partner to Cannes Lions in introducing the B2B award category — itself unveiled a new marketing push earlier this month.

Paul Hirsch, chief creative officer at Doremus + Co and the jury president of the Creative B2B Lions, agrees that the B2B space is moving in the direction of B2C. “B2B often follows in wake of B2C,” he reportedly said. Hirsch called ‘Speaking in Color’ “an incredibly robust piece of technology” and said he sees expanded applications of similar tools in B2C. “What was developed here is a brand experience that is specifically tailored for a niche market, but one that is explosive and could be adopted by B2C in a second.”

Check out all the big winners at Cannes this year.

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