If you were looking for trends at Cannes, it wasn’t hard to determine that artificial intelligence was the buzz-phrase of the festival. The idea of a machine with a mind can sound chilling, but agencies found creative ways of making it seem warmer – or at least entertaining.
Take the Digital Craft Grand Prix winner. There are few sights more vividly “alive” than Serena Williams in action. For Nike, AKQA used AI to line up a match between 1999 Serena, when she won her first Grand Slam title, and the Serena who conquered the 2017 Australian Open.
“Transparency” and “privacy” are words that often crop up in the digital realm. This next idea (a Gold winner) plays with both of them. Since Brazilian politics is a sea of corruption, the project – once again from AKQA – allowed everyday Brazilians to spy on leading politicians, perfectly legally, in order to keep track of how they spent public funds. No app was required; the tool utilized the mobile wallet on users’ phones.
Mastercard and McCann have been pushing the boundaries of creativity in recent years, with initiatives like “True Name” and “The Touch Card”. This year they won a coveted Titanium award for the “Where To Settle” app. As refugees from Ukraine crossed the Polish border, the app analyzed data to show them the towns where they were most likely to find a home and a job.
Is the digital world inclusive? Not the world of “digital influencers”, who all look scarily perfect and conform to imposed norms of beauty. To combat this, Down Syndrome International partnered with Forsman & Bodenfors in Singapore to create a non-stereotypical influencer. Meet Kami.
Staying with inclusivity for the moment, here’s a project from Vaseline and Edelman Worldwide, who found that Black people with certain skin conditions were under-represented online. So they created “See My Skin” to help redress the balance.
Here’s a pitch: you want to become a live sports commentor, but you’re blind. How can you follow a fast-moving sport like basketball? The answer lies in haptic technology, which allows you to “feel” the movement on the court. The awesome project from Michelob Ultra and FCB New York won a Bronze. We would have given it more.
Advertising and gamers have not always got along, but relevance and creativity are thawing the relationship. This shortlisted project from Ogilvy Thailand and the country’s tourist authority combined the richness of local legends and superstitions with a spooky game. But there was an additional layer too: an e-shop that allowed players to buy real-life talismans and sign up for tours.
Also on the shortlist: David Bowie. These days we’re used to pop stars’ tendency to reinvent themselves, but Bowie was the original chameleon. It’s a shame we can’t all take on a new persona from time to time. But wait! We can: thanks to Adobe and the agency Dentsu Achtung, who created digital tools that allow us to try on new skins and alternative identities.
The Titanium Grand Prix, perhaps the most prestigious prize in Cannes, was also a digital initiative. It couldn’t be more topical, or more alarming. A low-lying Pacific country that may find itself wiped from the map due to rising sea levels, Tuvalu decided to preserve its culture for future generations – by becoming a digital nation. The campaign (by Sydney agency The Monkeys) generated enormous PR buzz and made the climate threat as a whole feel real, urgent and immediate.
To go further, see all the winners here