This year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was populated by campaigns looking to eradicate discrimination, raise awareness of global issues and, well, sell products. But what about the behaviours and trends that underpin the messages?
We've identified the behaviours that run through this year’s winning campaigns to reveal how the creative work connects with the attitudes of modern consumers. Five strong themes have emerged this year.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. But people aren’t exclusively nostalgic for times in their own pasts – ‘anemoia’ is nostalgia for times you never personally knew. At the 2016 Cannes Lions, brands used music, art and technology to encourage viewers to connect to the recent past, further back, and to things they couldn’t have experienced for themselves the first time around.
People may say they want the truth, but that’s not always the case – especially when the truth is hard to swallow. A number of winners at the 2016 Cannes Lions spoon-fed information regarding subjects like illiteracy and immigration, softening the discomfort surrounding these issues via cartoonish aesthetics and narratives that read like fairy tales.
Studies show that our ability to empathise has diminished over the last 30 years. And technology has been cited as a key factor; between smartphones and social media, we’re all too busy thinking about ourselves. But brands are changing that. For fun and philanthropy alike, tech is being used to literally see the world through somebody else’s eyes.
In an era of news feeds and comment threads, the ability to communicate with society at large has been democratised, and people are exercising their right to be heard. But some spaces are still censored. Numerous winners took control of the mic by encouraging people to speak their minds, circumventing existing policies to change behaviours and perceptions for the better.
Often limited by length, TV adverts can struggle to build complex characters. Instead, they’re often required to revert to stereotypes. But modern beliefs have outgrown these representations. And in light of this, businesses are subverting stereotypes – reconciling the cultural banks of association with the progressive values of contemporary consumers.