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Three Trends from Cannes that Will Impact the Next Year — and That are Good for Us in PRJune 21, 2019

BCW's CEO and Market Leader, Germany Wolfgang Lünenbürger Reports Live from the 2019 Cannes Lions.

This year was the first time I went to the Cannes Lions. I was always a bit hesitant to go, to be honest, because of what I saw on social and through video reporting. Beaches, rosé, shows — I was not so sure about this.

But it was much better than anticipated — and a true inspiration. I was intrigued by the content, especially a lot of content on the beaches which was fantastic and — at least for the bits I attended — often better than at the Palais and in windowless rooms. On a personal level, my highlights have been the great Naomi Campbell and Vita M. Harris from FCB, but the inspiration came from the three patterns, mega trends or however you would call them, I discovered as the underlying themes this year and which I expect will become trends in communications over the coming months.

  1. Inclusivity: A lot of sessions and a lot of work shown (both award work and work that is in the making) focused on inclusivity. Or, as it was often called, representation. It’s our duty as an industry to help overcome (un)conscious biases by being inclusive in our work. Even more so, since research shows that marketing that does not represent the audience does not perform well. We will see more and more of this, I bet.
  2. Unstereotyping: I would say that I have above average awareness of stereotypes and try to avoid them in my creative and strategy work. But with tools and checklists and an open discussion about stereotypes and how to avoid or overcome them, I was surprised how far away we still are from ideas and work that are not stereotypes. I saw surprising and inspiring work this week which made me think. Check out https://www.unstereotypealliance.org/en.
  3. Brand activism: For some time, it has been a trend to create campaigns for good, to use communications to change something, such as the environment, inequality, gender bias and much more. But this has changed. It’s just beginning, but brands are not only taking a stand but getting active. They not only use communications to highlight problems to solve — they take responsibility and action. And data shows the business case behind this.

All three mega trends have one thing in common: Brands, companies, their marketing and communication teams, and their agencies are working together to change real things. And for us as an agency that has a PR heritage, this is very good news — because our strengths, like getting in real conversations with our audiences, enabling and dealing with feedback, driving thought leadership, and last but not least being prepared to not only survive but flourish in tough and controversial discussions – these strengths are absolutely needed for these three trends. Suddenly, marketing and advertising need to be like PR, to engage in real conversations.

What a time ahead. And maybe it’s not by accident that the Pride Party on Thursday was the best party this year…