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  • A rundown of underlying themes from the best campaigns of the past year
  • A rundown of underlying themes from the best campaigns of the past year
    Sport England (2015) ©

Cannes Lions 2015: changing the world for the better

What were the underlying themes at Cannes Lions 2015? From encouraging people to improve themselves through the power of shame to enabling people to improve the world through digital channels, many of this year's winners set out to encourage positive behaviour change.

Location Global

Every year the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brings together the great, the good and the gaudy to recognise the creative outputs of the advertising and communications industry. Now that the shouting has died down, and the last champagne cork has been popped, we wanted to offer a different perspective and examine the winners through our own unique lens – behavioural insight.

What attitudes did the campaigns align with? Which cultural shifts did they acknowledge? How did the winners resonate with the mindsets of modern consumers? This year there was a clear theme that connected the best campaigns – a desire to make the world a better place. 

Our world can be troubling. The threat of terrorism feels closer everyday, true equality is still an aspiration, the recession is still a reality for many and trust in our governments remains low. And for a society where immediacy has become the norm, people are no longer prepared to wait for change. Against this backdrop, brands are encouraging us to participate, to speak up, and to make a difference – starting with ourselves and proliferating outwards.

Our industry's going through significant change, and marketers and agencies need to lead. We can do good – we need to connect purchase with purpose and start marketing for people. There’s never been a better time to work together to create a bright future

Keith Weed, chief marketing officer of Unilever

When it came to personal persuasion, shame was the weapon of choice for challenging the status quo, familiarity was used to slip subtly into our psyche and empathetic understanding enabled brands to speak with an intimate voice.

Wider social change was encouraged by campaigns that elevated equality and empowered the everyday, smart thinking that turned intent into action and organisations that baked social good into best business practice.

Of course, the agencies will rightly dine out on the awards they won, and the brands will expect their bottom line to get bigger. But if all this can be achieved while doing something good... Well, that really is something worth celebrating.

Shame Changers: Using shame to spur positive behavioural change

New Tricks: Tricking people into swallowing a new message

Human Shields: Talking to people through their nearest and dearest

Hidden Help: Understanding how people live in order to improve it

Equal People: Diversity has become the new normal

Communal Codes: Visualising our values through simple, social symbols

Virtual Activism: Online protests with real world impact

Social Systems: Building social systems into everyday brands

View the presentation here:

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