Cannes 2015: On Innovation, Data and Tech

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“Exclusiv report from our speaker at the congress Martin Wolf, (Y&R Labstore Austria Shopper Strategy Director) about Cannes 2015.


“Do you remember the first time you bought a festival or concert ticket? How long did you wait in the line?”

That was one of the introductory questions raised by Facebook’s Adtech expert David Jakubowski at the first ever Cannes Lions Innovation Festival. I´ll come back to the answers, and it’s meaning for the new festival later – but first things first:

There are three core topics you can find next to the Lions Innovation banners all around the Palais: Data x Technology x Ideas.

This crossover approach was setup across three stages: Inspiration, Discovery and Experience. The audience was a well-balanced mashup of technology experts, brand representatives and creatives.

The range of speeches was broad and tackled topics such as “Scientists vs. Poets – Data-Driven Storytelling,” “Robots in Retail” and “Identifying Potential Dangerous Asteroids with Your Mobile Phone.” To be honest, at first I wondered if all this could really fit under one “Innovation” umbrella – but, it did!


On the common baseline approach, of all speeches I saw, some core findings seemed to be the glue holding the different innovation approaches together:

Internet of Everything (commonly known as the Internet of Things) has started already: 15 billion connected devices are out in the market, 200 billion mobile searches were done last year, and the variety of connecting things is nearly endless. Connecting wine bottles with chips that allow you to offer premium content after opening the bottle to retail shelves that fill themselves or fridges that know your eating habits. Everything can be connected and used to solve marketing challenges for sales-conversion, loyalty and after-sales or brand exposure.

Andrew Davis, COO of Tapit, said it very straight forwardly: “If you are not in – at least in mobile-first approaches – in the next year, your competitors will be and they will take away your big profit potential!”

“If you think – we have big data – expect it to be multiplied by 15-20x in the coming two years” said Samsung’s Senior Vice President Steve Stanford. It perfectly summarized the result of more and more connected devices. A solution for this data-increase was shown with IBM´s analysis solution Watson (who´s name is a reference to the assistant of literary detective Sherlock Holmes).

Watson can create real-time profiles of your personal mind-set, your engagement-triggers, behavioral patterns, and even give a recommendation on text or postings you would be interested in. Every available data source could be used – no matter if it is login data files, videos from your last birthday party you uploaded or wearable data from your Apple Watch or Fuelband.

Only having first indications on the real level of insights – it is still already clear that this will be a game changer in creative ideation and it´s expected rollout in the next 5-10 years.

Bringing together the Internet of Things and this Big Data aspects – we end up in the third, and for me most essential, finding:

“We have to focus on consumer behavior-based marketing – considering the patterns of consumer’s lives as an ecosystem of potential touchpoints.” The excellent professor Jerry Wind, gave a preview of his newest management model based on the idea that “every touchpoint has to create value for consumers, brands and sales channels.” Others called it Consumer Experience Optimization – but at the end the finding was the same: Forget about channels, forget about media – there is only the individual ecosystem of the consumer you should rely on.

And to summarize it a bit more in depth I´d like to come back to the initial quote from Facebook’s Jakubowski:

“How long did you wait in line to get your first concert ticket?” Pretty sure much longer than just one-click or a couple of seconds!”

We accepted the fact that we had to wait. This has changed and a lot of mindset changes have happened since this time. And it changed the business models – not only in the music industry, but also when we think about Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix.

Technology, Big Data and creative ideas have the chance to do something – something that innovation stands for: Change the way we do something for a new, needed benefit!

Based on the private insights we receive from consumers, we can make advertising a positive interaction in their daily lives by understanding their needs, behaviors and mindsets better. Probably so close to real-time, that the interaction happens as if it appears we predicted it.

Martin Wolf, Y&R Labstore Austria Shopper Strategy Director