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Cannes Lions 2015 Offers Insights into the Future of Social Media

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Cannes is well known for being the home turf of one of the most prominent film festivals in the world, but since 2013 there's been a second festival running there. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (or 'CLIFC', I guess) was founded as a means for people in creative and advertising industries to meet, network, give each other advice and win awards.

It's had a big social media focus more or less from the outset, but this year the week-long event was more pointed in that direction than ever before. Numerous luminaries from the big hitters like Twitter and Facebook turned out to speak at various seminars, as well as Tinder founder Sean Rad and Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel both making appearances. Much of the discussion surrounding advertising innovation paid credence to social media, as well as addressing subjects like AI, VR and wearable tech.

Many of the seminars covered material about the future of social media and digital marketing at large. Coke Zero impressed everyone with a Shazam-bolstered ad campaign which allowed people to 'fill' their phone screens with coke being poured from the TV in order to get a free sample coupon.  It's difficult to say what benefit there is to a robot which can read human emotions, but one turned up anyway, courtesy of Soft Bank Robotics. Named 'Pepper', the droid can both read human emotions and express his own. Perhaps the most exciting talk was the one regarding the future of augmented reality. Experts, futurists and corporate big-wigs discussed the future of it and how it would change the fabric of online culture and beyond.

In slightly more meta terms, the event blew up ON social media as well as just covering a lot of that ground. There were 15 festival-relevant tweets per minute on average for the duration of the event. Many of the seminars were broadcast via Periscope, or live-blogged at the very least. Numerous companies unveiled ad campaigns specifically for the festival which also did the rounds on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, with marketing giant Ogilvy & Mather's 'Inspire' poster getting the most online attention.
Many of the marketing campaigns and ads that actually won awards were social media-centric, the Ice Bucket Challenge won a gold award for branded content & entertainment, as did the YouTube led 'Gun Shop' anti-gun violence scheme and the Always #LikeAGirl campaign also cleaned up. The impetus certainly seemed angled towards campaigns that served a righteous cause as much as ones that made inventive use of social media outlets.

Some of the seminars even went so far as to address some of the shortcomings of online culture. Of particular note was Monica Lewinsky's talk, in which she talked about being the 'patient zero' of online shaming after her infamous affair with Bill Clinton. The seminar was extremely well received and helped further cement Lewinsky's position as an ambassador for cyberbullying awareness.

For a full run down on all the winners, head over here.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Cannes Lions 2015 Offers Insights into the Future of Social Media Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 Rating: 5

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