5 Data-Inspired Creative Ideas Setting the Agenda at Cannes Lions

June 26, 2015

Russ Glass Cannes Lions

A year ago, data was still seen as the enemy of creativity by plenty of people at the Cannes Lions festival. But a year is a very long time in the creativity business. Cast your eye over the campaigns landing big awards this week, and it’s clear that data has become a central part of the most inspiring and effective work. It’s no longer just something we use to optimize creative ideas; it’s something we can use to generate creative ideas.

In an energy-filled session at the LinkedIn Clubhouse on Thursday, LinkedIn's own Russ Glass sat down with Sanjay Dholakia of Marketo, Baba Shetty of Digitas, and Jason Jercinovic of Havas Worldwide Digital, to talk through standout examples of data-led creativity. The panel also mapped strategies for brands and their agencies to deliver more of it going forward. Here are some of the award-winning campaigns that they chose – along with several others that have blown delegates and awards judges away this week:

5 Examples of Data-Inspired Creative Effectiveness at its Finest

The banner that makes you like banners

As a member of the judging panel for this year’s Media Lions, Baba Shetty had the inside track on this Silver-winning campaign for Post-it maker 3M. It “reconceptualizes retargeting”, adds value, and brings to life the inherent product benefits of Post-it notes. As Sanjay Dholakia pointed out in the Clubhouse discussion, it also shows how consumer relevance needs to be the essential starting point in smart use of data: “If it has zero relevance and utility, I don’t care how much cool data it used.” And it’s a fantastically creative expression of how an individual’s online journey can be nurtured sensitively by a brand when it starts thinking about how data makes relevance possible.

Share a Coke

A Bronze winner in the same Media category, Coca-Cola’s interactive TV ad used a simple piece of data to multiply the impact of its creative hugely. Using Interactive TV login IDs to isolate a viewer’s first name and integrate this into a Coke bottle on-screen delivered a jaw-dropping moment for judges as well as audiences.

House of Mamba

What can you do when armed with the data from Kobe Bryant’s basketball training routines? When you’re Nike and AKQA, you build a unique LED basketball court that transmits the data into visual instructions to players and uses motion capture cameras to respond to what they are doing on the court. The House of Mamba was the centerpiece of Nike’s RISE program to promote basketball skills in China – and a worthy winner of Cyber Lions Gold.

Look at Me

Part of the revolution in data-led creativity is the realization that data today incorporates far more than just numbers. The motivating power of this Gold-winning outdoor campaign came from its ability to detect the faces of people looking at the face of a victim of domestic abuse, and show how their act of paying attention caused her injuries to heal.

Sound of Honda

This Grand Prix-winning campaign from last year was still inspiring delegates in seminar sessions this time around. “Sound of Honda” used engine telemetry data from 25 years ago to recreate the sound and position of Ayrton Senna’s car as he set a record lap time at Japan’s Suzuka circuit. It proves that creative use of data doesn’t just have the power to deliver more relevant audience experiences; it can create profoundly emotional ones as well.

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