The Lowdown On #CannesLions2016


Cannes Lions 2016 is currently underway, the biggest gathering of creatives, designers and innovators. With a wide variety of talks this year involving brands such as Spotify, Twitter and YouTube, I’ve taken a look at what’s happened so far:

In the fast-food industry, it doesn’t get much bigger than McDonald’s. However, it was at their expense that Burger King won the Print and Publishing Grand Prix this year for their open letter to McDonald’s.

For world peace day, Burger King decided to call off the rivalry for one day to propose the creation of the ‘McWhopper’, a fusion of McDonald’s Big Mac and Burger King’s Whopper. The ceasefire was offered but McDonald’s gave a pretty standard shut down response. Spoilsports. As a result, the ad went viral and was hijacked across social media. It created a buzz which people wanted to be a part of. People were arguing which burger they preferred – some even tried to create their own McWhopper.

Burger King’s aggressive marketing brings me to another point, which has been discussed in Cannes – Can Trolling Be A Positive Force In Advertising. Instead of shutting down trolls, Ami Hasan (Hasan and Partners founder/chairman), a speaker at the event argues that brands should try and engage with this type of media coverage. It should be noted that you can’t control trolling, but you can control how you react to it. Finnish activist artist Jani Leinonen, who spoofed campaigns by Kelloggs and McDonald’s told stories about how he was shut down for his efforts. But could brands have used the media attention surrounding these events in a positive way? Some argue that, yes, embracing satire is key for brands who want to maintain a strong social media presence.

Tesco Mobile are a great example of this. Whilst this may not generate many sales leads, it definitely creates a personality for your brand and means your followers will pay attention to what you say. They remember you and can relate to you.


Elsewhere, it also looks like Spotify is looking to ramp up it’s advertising with Chief Executive/Co Founder Daniel Elk speaking at Cannes for the first time on Wednesday.

Whilst Spotify has roughly 30 million paid subscribers, the focus on advertising will be on the 100 million active monthly users who sit through the ads. Being able to target users through their music choices represents an attractive proposition for advertisers looking to reach new markets.

However, with adverts on Spotify limited to 30 seconds, advertisers must be clever to engage immediately. This was discussed in the daily panel show in Cannes, with a discussion over how long brands have now to retain focus on the message. It was discussed how consumers are only prepared to give brands a limited amount of time, meaning there has been a shift towards monitoring consumer attention, even if they don’t purchase. Whilst consumers are only willing to part with little of their precious time, this doesn’t mean your message can’t be useful. Long-term brand building is built up of many different micro-moments and prompts which could form a decision over time.


What next?

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Author: James Murphy

James is a recent Business Marketing University Graduate. He’s been immersed within our agencies Digital Marketing team to work with existing clients and support the development of AB’s profile through social and content marketing.


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