Cannes Adds New Data Award Next Year

Big data is moving even more into the mainstream. Companies using it to drive creativity will now be able to compete to find out who does it best at the world’s most prestigious festival – the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the South of France.

In June 2015, big data will get its own category at the festival. Last June, Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas told AdAge, “We’re talking to people about whether they believe there’s something in data and analytics and customer insight that’s building a bridge to great ideas. The industry is telling us it’s an important element. The question is: Can data drive creativity?”

The answer is yes, according to an Oct. 30 announcement from the festival. The Creative Data Lions will be a part of new two-day Lions Innovation Festival, which will include the existing Innovation Lions. It will be held June 25 and 26.

In addition, awards will be added for standalone and branded technological solutions, adtech platforms and models. And like last year, Omnicom will likely be competitive in many of the new areas. The firm took home more awards in 2014 than any other holding company.

The Creative Data Lions will likely be the only full category to debut at next year’s festival. Though festival officials say they are mulling others – particularly shopper marketing, music and b-to-b. Those will probably be added to existing categories to get around the new category fatigue that has been plaguing festival attendees in recent years.

Paradoxically, while many have complained of category overload, festival officials say that doesn’t stop many from lobbying for new ones they want to see.

“It’s the industry coming to us. And people at the other end of digital say, ‘You should make a statement and get rid of Press,'” Thomas told AdAge in June.

Even though many marketers have work to do in marrying creative and data, some are doing it well. In a piece for the New York Times, Claire Cain Miller points out there is still a lack of trust between the creative and those who work with technology and data. Those who can bridge the gap are more likely to effectively integrate big data into advertising.

In October, this blog looked at a few companies who were doing it well, among them AT&T. Read that post here.

AT&T’s blockbuster campaign, starring comedian Beck Bennett and a classroom of adorable young costars, won hearts and minds on TV and across social media. All the data the team crunched wouldn’t have yielded the runaway success of the campaign without the brilliant but simple creative, which was in turn driven by the data team’s findings and years of study.

The bottom line: Data isn’t going to replace a good creative director anytime soon, nor should it, according to experts. However, it may help you to improve your creative or help you to win an award at Cannes Lions next year.

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