How Does Cannes Lions Deal With Innovation?

Celebrating innovation in creative industries


In creative industries, innovation is vital. Brand experts need to ensure their marketing skills are up to date with recent trends at all times, new approaches need to be continuously mastered, and all initiatives should reach the end consumer with maximum impact. But sometimes, one may find oneself struggling with creativity.

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world's biggest event bringing together advertising and brand practitioners from all over the globe, and the aim is to provide inspiration, along with some cutting-edge ideas, and turn it into a celebration of innovation.

At present, innovation tends to be increasingly linked to technology, to the extent that they are almost inseparable. Tech advancements and new solutions can allow companies to become more efficient at creating and launching their products, as well as helping to unleash their creative potential.

We spoke to Rob Dembitz, Global Head of Innovation at Cannes Lions International Festival, who is speaking at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in London in April. Rob shared with us:

'Innovation is at the very heart of everything we do. It reflects what’s happening within the industry we work with. For this reason, everyone thinks about the tech angle and how that can make people’s lives and experiences better and more seamless.'

With this vision in mind, last year, for example, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity saw an increasing number of applications submitted to attend their annual event. Out of 24 categories, growth was evident in 18 categories, where product design was the most popular. As for specialist streams, the newly created Lions Entertainment stream (formerly Branded Content and Entertainment) managed to grow by 32%.

Today, Cannes Lions operate across multiple divisions, where their specialist streams - Lions Health, Lions Innovation, and Lions Entertainment, are becoming increasingly popular amongst advertising and brand specialists. So, what is at the core of these?

Lions Entertainment

Acknowledging that the entertainment industry is growing fast and can offer a lot for the customer, Cannes Lions bring together leading experts in filmmaking, record label executives, TV commissioners, sports promoters, and gaming entrepreneurs. The concept of the event creates an ultimate networking experience, where attendees can collaborate and set up new partnerships for future projects, or learn more about their industries from masterclasses.

Lions Health

In healthcare and pharma, branding is particularly important because decisions we make regarding our health are the most personal. A brand's mission, in this instance, would be to provide a strong sense or reliability and trust.

Though promotion and branding in pharma and healthcare can be tricky. It's no secret that the industry has a large number of regulations to comply with, and this is another challenge for companies who want to expose their products and services. In order to improve communication channels and allow for the better reach of patients and clients, Lions Health stream holds technology and health-centric exhibitions, so attendees can have a glimpse of what the industry feels like from the inside.

The program also involves two specialist awards for pharma and healthcare communications. The former is designed to recognize companies who think up the most creative approach for communications in the industry. These must be capable of informing and engaging patients, health practitioners, and targeted consumers. The Health & Wellness award, on the other hand, is there to honour creative excellence in consumer healthcare, such as branded products, awareness, and public health services.

Lions Innovations

The stream is all about the celebration of data-driven solutions and tech innovations. The mission of the stream is to bring together startups with potentially disruptive product ideas and translate these into customer value in the form of branding. Too often, young companies may have revolutionary ideas, but many of them fail due to poor knowledge of marketing tactics and how to work with the customer data. Through networking and the help of more experienced members of the jury, some answers to the most painful branding questions can be found.

Man on the phone small

Read next:

What Can Dumb Innovation Tell Us About The Market?