Cannes Lions 2018

Diversity matters... and four other learnings from the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival

As the dust settles on the 65th Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, it's time to reflect on the key trends and learnings that emerged from adland's biggest annual gathering. Here are five insights that South African advertising and media agencies should take note of if they want to stay relevant, create inspiring work, and appeal to our unique country's diverse and intricate audiences.

Since 1954, the Cannes Festival has been celebrating creativity in the marketing communications industry. Globally, these coveted trophies are recognised as the ultimate achievement in creativity and winning work from the festival “gives 54% higher ROI than non-creatively awarded work,” states the Cannes website.

Statistics like these validate the fact that prestigious award ceremonies like these pay tribute to thinking that combines creativity with insights to create work that works. In a unique country like South Africa, which comprises of various ethnicities, religions and cultures, it is important to understand the complex communities that form the building blocks of our country.

Multicultural marketing will be the new form of marketing, but without diversity in advertising campaigns and companies, our industry won’t be able to create content that connects. As the content and connections agency, MediaCom recently released a global report that highlights five insightful trends, which were based on the powerful and impactful work awarded at Cannes 2018:

1. Gender remains a hot topic

One year on from the launch of the #unstereotype alliance and at a time when the #MeToo movement is forcing many to rethink their approach, a number of brands spoke openly about addressing inequality. Perhaps the most high-profile was Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, who explained ‘sex sells’ is an outdated concept in 2018.

2. New technology is helping brands cut through... and transform lives

As Malcolm Poyton, Global Chief Creative Officer at Cheil Worldwide, explained at the event: “Consumers expect brands to use technology to connect with them because that’s how they are connected to the world.” Often, however, brands simply use technology for the sake of using something new. One of the heartening themes of this year’s Cannes was the best campaigns used technology relevant to the insight or message.

3. Diversity matters... in your ads

As P&G’s Marc Pritchard said at Cannes: “The days of general audience and general marketing are gone, and that is a good thing. People want to see themselves and to see brands with points of view – that is what is going to connect.” He stressed: “If you are not doing multicultural marketing… you’re not doing marketing.”

4. Diversity matters... in your company

Ensuring diversity at a time when data and digital are changing the roles of the marketing department – and the skills needed to successfully understand how data, technology and marketing are driving business outcomes – is no easy task. That’s because two separate areas need to be addressed; the diversity of skills and ensuring that the team truly reflects the target audience.

5. Nothing matters if people don’t trust your brand

Marketers often speak a lot about building ‘brand love’. But to get consumers to start loving your brand you first need to win their trust. To do that, you must convince them that you are authentic and sincere in what you say. Get it wrong and consumers will not only ignore your messages, but they’ll actively avoid your brand, too.

Diversity is one of South Africa’s strengths and should be celebrated in the world of communications. When approached in the right way, advertising can be so much more than simply pushing product. It can and should reflect the things that matter to South Africans, such as addressing inequality, paying tribute to diversity, and showcasing the uniqueness of its country and citizens.

If brands put people first by showing they are proudly South African, consumers will be too.

For more information, contact Claudelle Naidoo at:
Tel: +27 11 582 6745
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