Cannes Lions 2015

By Richelle Robbins. Published on July 14, 2015.

Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

If you’re in the marketing, advertising, media or tech world, chances are you have heard about the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. With the event held in the South of France during the beautiful summer month of June, what professional wouldn’t want to grow their career while playing in the sun? For 2015, I was one of five students selected by the American Pavilion to attend the Festival. With the American Pavilion’s credo, I was granted a Student pass that allowed me all-access into the Festival’s seminars, networking functions, workshops, and award shows. In addition, my pass got me into many of the popular hotspots including the Facebook and Google beaches.

Evan Spiegel of Snapchat

Of the seminars I attended, there were two that really stood out. Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan interviewed Evan Spiegel, Co-Founder and CEO of one of the world’s largest social media apps, Snapchat. With the seminar entitled, “The Millennial Mind: Creativity & What It Means to the World’s Largest Living Generation,” Coles asked Spiegel questions about the history of Snapchat, its current position in the marketplace, and where he saw it going in the future. Although she was a tough and thorough interviewer, Spiegel remained calmed and seemed genuine in his responses. When asked why he chose Snapchat’s signature ghost logo he replied, “I drew it in my dorm room.” Likewise, when asked why he chose yellow as Snapchat’s background color he replied, “My friends and I noticed not a lot of other companies use yellow.” In describing Snapchat’s differentiators in the social media market, Spiegel referred to Snapchat as telling a story from the beginning to the end, whereas competitors like Facebook and Twitter organize their content from newest to oldest. Also, he spoke about advertising on his social media as something owners can opt-in to as they choose whether or not to open an advertiser’s story; unlike Facebook, however, where advertising messages are constantly mixed in with organic user content.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Another seminar that left questions in my mind was “Sentience: The Coming AI Revolution” with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, developer of the World Wide Web. In his seminar, he spoke briefly about the importance of privacy, the ownership and control of artificial intelligence, and the possible benefits and dangers of human robotic technologies. One quote I vividly remember him saying was that, “Data is more important to me than it is important to you.” I believe he meant that individuals can benefit more from their own personal data, such as with health statistics and life behaviors, than large advertising companies can by holding and selling all of this data. People will be willing to give up privacy if they have a product that can use their personal data to change their lives for the better. While Sir Berners-Lee envisions AI as having personal assistants connect and communicate with each other, he believes that AI can be controlled by forces as big as militaries and as small as criminals. “We will program the very core of their nature” he said, which should send shivers up your spine as it did to mine. He ended the seminar with his thoughts on how AI could hurt human existence in the future: “If robots get the same rights as human beings, we have gone too far – [that will be] the red line.”

Marilyn Manson

Other seminars that piqued my interest included: Marilyn Manson’s interview about the importance of personal branding (behind sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll); renowned chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver’s perspective on “Innovation: When New Just Isn’t Enough” and the alarming number of unhealthy and malnourished people in the world; Emilie Baltz and Billie Whitehouse’s ideas of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to create and experiment with completely new mediums; and Keith Reinhard’s interview with Mark van der Heijden, known as the Backpacker Intern, where they explore creativity through different places and cultures around the world.

Google Beach

Besides attending the seminars and learning from some of the industry’s most innovative leaders, I also had the best networking opportunities on the beaches and at the awards shows. The Google Beach had a relaxed atmosphere where you could “code” to get free drinks, design your own Android at the water bottle station, and play volleyball in a week-long tournament. The Facebook Beach was much more business-oriented as the food spread was professionally crafted, the daily talks were hosted by most of Facebook’s own, and the design of the overall space was very trendy.

Awards Show

The award shows were my favorite part about the Lions Festival as you got to see the work that granted a Lion. Winners came from a variety of brands and causes, such as States United to Prevent Gun Violence’s “Guns with History,” The ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” (which also received a standing ovation from the audience), Burger King’s “Proud Whopper,” and many others. The most prominent trend I saw from these and other award-winning campaigns was that they sought to address a large social issue. In fact, the Festival created a new Lion this year called the Glass Lion which was awarded to “work that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice through the conscious representation of gender in advertising.” Procter and Gamble’s Always brand was a Festival favorite for its campaign “#LikeAGirl” which won a Glass Lion, the PR Grand Prix, and many other Gold Lions.

Past attendees warned me that, “You can’t do everything in Cannes,” but I certainly tried my best.

Gold Lion for Agency of the Year

Do you have a favorite piece of work that won a Lion at this year’s Festival? If so, leave a comment about it in the section below! For more information about the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, please visit their homepage here or feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.


Is it ethical to encourage impulse or unplanned purchases?

Retail atmospherics

In the marketing world, there is a debate about whether encouraging impulse purchases is ethical or unethical. Retailers use five different approaches to persuade unplanned or impulse purchases: 1.) Merchandise complementary products together, 2.) Encourage “add-on” purchases, 3.) Create an emotionally charged atmosphere, 4.) Make things easy to buy, and 5.) Provide a discount. As a marketer and a consumer, I believe that encouraging impulse purchases with these five marketing tools is ethical.

Often times, consumers do not remember exactly what they need to buy at a store. Marketing tools such as complementary and add-on purchases trigger a consumer’s memory to buy the products and services that they need as well as enjoy. Furthermore, complementary purchases might help a consumer in his or her original purchase decision by adding value. For example, a consumer who is throwing a barbecue party might not need potato chips or condiments to go with hot dogs and hamburgers, but it is a likely side guests might expect. Likewise, retailers and store owners can often get consumers to spend more money by providing a relaxing or exciting atmosphere. As long as consumers are enjoying their time in these establishments, I see no reason why marketers can’t use tools such as atmospherics and discounts to get consumers to stay longer and thus spend more money. Recently, I visited a Mexican restaurant with my family. We had arrived fairly late (around 10:00PM) and saw some of the servers already closing up sections of the restaurant. Although it was late and the workers probably wanted to go home, everyone treated us extremely nice and allowed us to take our time in eating our meal. I also noticed that the work crew had dimmed the lights to a reddish glow, and I read somewhere that red light prompts hunger in the human body. I used to believe that restaurants were either very dark or extremely well-lit by coincidence, but I now know that these types of environmental changes instill some sort of reaction in the consumer; whether it is to stay longer and order dessert or to eat quickly so that the next guest may have a table.

Do you believe encouraging impulse or unplanned purchases is unethical? Write your opinion in the comments below! Tune-in next week to catch the latest discussion in marketing and advertising trends.

Generation Z Microculture

Generation Z

In this week’s blog post, I will examine how microcultures are formed from generations. As a millennial and a marketer, it is no surprise that the media is focused on my generation since the older generations made up of Generation X and Baby Boomers are dying off. My generation holds the near future’s political leaders, engineers, scientists, and workaholics. My generation also includes major cultural and demographic trends such as declining birth rates, increasing consumer affluence, increasing life expectancy (and aging consumers), and increasing cultural diversity (Harris & Babin, 2015). With all of these major changes happening, it is no wonder why marketers and advertisers are so obsessed with my generation. However, I like to think ahead and I have a feeling that Generation Z, or the group of people born after 1995, are going to quickly surpass the importance of millennials.

Generation Z

As mentioned earlier, Generation Z is comprised of consumers born between 1995 and 2005. These consumers are currently in their teen years, or as most psychologists would note, their “formative years.” With this idea in mind, pre-teens and teenagers are highly influenced by the messages around them; this intake of information then leads to their actions such as buying behavior and purchase decisions in their future lives. These messages can take a variety of forms such as: parental guidance, friends’ recommendations, peer pressure, and local and national advertising displayed on their preferred media devices. While Millennials are indeed the next generation to drive the future, Generation Z is the next set of people to drive marketing and advertising initiatives. Described as “KGOY” (kids growing older, younger), Generation Z will be the “most educated, diverse, and mobile group to date” (Harris & Babin, 2015). It’s time to move faster than Congress, in terms of marketing and advertising anyway.

Follow my blog or comment below to join in on the Generation Z Microculture discussion! Need to stay in touch with all of the latest trends and topics in marketing and advertising? Tune-in to my blog next week for another look at consumer behavior and how it affects marketing and advertising messages.


Harris, E. G., & Babin, B.J. (2015). Consumer Behavior (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.