For the latest authoritative marketing news, trends, and stats on social media stars and influencer marketing, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity began this week to award the best in creative communications, advertising, and marketing. The Cannes Lions was first held in 1954 to recognize advertising in the manner that films had traditionally been honored at the Cannes Film Festival. Today, new categories and awards have been added to accommodate the shifting landscape of the communications industry, from one consisting primarily of print and television advertising to one which includes digital ad campaigns, social media marketing campaigns, and advertisements that leverage technological innovations to capture the imagination of consumers.
While the Cannes Lions Festival has traditionally recognized top advertising campaigns for television & print, the fast-evolving digital ecosystem—and the marketing campaigns that exist within it—has led the festival to gradually expand the number and scope of awards categories. (Note: the words “Lions” and “Awards” are often used interchangeably.)
Cyber Lions, an award section created to reflect the rapid growth of technology in the late 1990s, was first established in 1998. Later, as smartphones became an integral aspect of society, the festival added both a Branded Content & Entertainment Lion and a Mobile Advertising Lion in 2012.
In 2015, breakout app Snapchat began its ascent as a major player in the marketing landscape. Snapchat’s popularity is indicative of the vital role social media plays in both communication and the consumption of entertainment and information. To reflect this innovation, Cannes Lions now recognizes brands that have developed social media campaigns to rival and/or supplant traditional advertising methods and mediums.
To reflect the fast-evolving advertising industry and the rise of social media as an engaging advertising tool, the Cyber Lions award section now includes two new categories, the Social Business Award and Social Purpose Award, as well as a Native Advertising Lion in the Online Advertising section. The Branded Content category has also been moved to its own section and expanded to include additional awards.
The Mobile Lions section has evolved as well. Now, the Website Awards category includes honors for Best Website As Part Of A Campaign and a new Best Application category.
Finally, the addition of the new Digital Craft Award section to this year’s Lions demonstrates the emphasis on digital design in digital marketing and communication. According to a statement released by the festival, this move was made to recognize “the skill and artistry required in omnichannel digital creativity” (Cannes Lions).
Related Post: Why Every Brand Needs An Instagram Marketing Strategy
In response to the emerging trends in social media marketing, the 2016 Cannes Lions Social category recognizes advertising excellence in Content For User Engagement, Targeted Communication, Social Trends, Influencer / Talent, Social Businesses, and Social Purpose. A few of the most creative campaigns to be recognized at the festival include:
The Gatorade bath is a legendary championship tradition. In 2016, Gatorade let social media users partake in the tradition by developing an interactive Snapchat lens that premiered on Super Bowl Sunday (Cannes Lion).
Snapchat’s face swap feature is one of the hottest social media trends of 2016. Netflix leveraged the popularity of this unique feature to build an ad campaign in France that allowed users to swap faces with their favorite Netflix stars (Cannes Lion).
Taco Bell celebrated the release of the first Taco emoji by creating the Taco Emoji Engine. The interactive platform let users tweet a taco emoji plus an additional emoji to @TacoBell to receive a custom photo or GIF combining the two emojis into one clever image (Cannes Lion).