• Transform magazine
  • July 18, 2024


Learning from the Lions

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With Cannes Lions 2024 drawing to a close, Transform magazine editor Jack Cousins looks back at his favourite moments from the festival.

Insightful, rip-roaring, hectic, but never boring, the 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is drawing to a close. The week had a bit of everything, from inspiring panel discussions on the power of the circular economy to Elon Musk showing up as a surprise guest and enlightening a filled-out Lumière Theatre on how AI will shape the future creativity, business and society.

With Cannes Lions a favourite event amongst creatives from all around the world, not even torrential downpours of rain – which resulted in the early closure of the outdoors Terrace Stage midweek – could dampen people’s spirits.

As always, there were ample brand design-based events for Transform to get its teeth stuck into. Accenture Song’s creative chairperson, Nick Law, wowed listeners with a rousing speech on what great work looks like when creativity is truly utilised as the great connector. Being on the verge of a “technology revolution” due to the advent of AI, Law believes creative people absolutely must get involved with this technology in order to optimise creative output and therefore solve clients’ biggest problems.

A particularly interesting session saw Reddit CEO Steve Huffman argue that it is far more preferable for brands to have a presence on his platform than on social media websites. “What you find on Reddit is people’s real thoughts and feelings,” he says. “Reddit is organised by communities which means there’s no incentives to pretending to be someone else.”

With people showing their more vulnerable, true side, Huffman thinks this creates a valuable opportunity for brands to get involved in the platform’s (literally billions) of posts and converse with their audiences directly. This would no doubt offer brilliant opportunities to brands with strong tone of voices to forge closer bonds with their target audiences directly.

Transform also had the chance to sit down with Cannes Design Lions jurors Mayuri Nikumbh and Jonathan Johnsongriffin of Conran Design Group and Google respectively. Discussions with the two covered a wide range of topics from the lack of brand design work being shortlisted at the festival to the tension between AI and creatives. Stay tuned for those interviews to go live on Transform’s website next week.

Elsewhere, WPP CEO Mark Read (fresh from interviewing Elon Musk at the festival) chatted to Transform publisher Andrew Thomas about WPP’s investment in AI, its employer brand and the difficulties brand designers have at Cannes. You can watch the unmissable full interview here.

Landor’s global chief creative officer, Teemu Suviala, sat down with Transform editor Jack Cousins to discuss how multi-sensorial brand design had a role to play in his agency’s work for the Milan Symphony Orchestra.

“We've entered a time where brands need to be connecting with consumers and their audiences in many different ways,” Suviala says. “We've had this sonic renaissance for a few years now. It started with streaming services, smart speakers and podcasts and audiobooks, and generated this space where people are interacting with sound more and more and in more different ways.

“As we move forward, you need to think beyond visual. As a brand you can also do that through visuals and motion, through haptics and, eventually, through smell as well.”

It will be interesting to see what Cannes Lions has in store from a brand design perspective in the coming years. With few brand design winners, some in the field may start to wonder if Cannes Lions can look beyond mere design and focus more on strategy. Either way, it remains an epic epicentre of creativity on the European continent.