Technology-Driven Creative: Five Mobile Takeaways from Cannes

Given the criticism that has been leveled at the mobile marketing industry for its lack of creativity over the years, the presence of mobile technology at the premier advertising event celebrating creativity was an auspicious sign that the industry understands that we need to marry creativity with data and technology, writes Alex Moss, VP sales europe, YouAppi, exclusively for ExchangeWire.

After viewing the winning mobile campaigns at Cannes, I was pleasantly surprised by the smart, technology-driven creative. Yet, when I look at the ads in my mobile feeds, whether it’s the small size, or the smaller budgets, there is still work that needs to be done. Therefore, I have combined my list of takeaways with the mobile Cannes Lions winners in 2017, highlighting stand-out campaigns that exemplified successful and creative data, and technology-driven mobile marketing.

1. Use technology

Given all of the technology used to make advertising more effective, it’s surprising how little technology is used to make advertising more creative. Therefore, I was excited to see how Snickers in Australia, via Clemenger BBDO, used ‘Hungerithm’, an algorithm developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to monitor online sentiment and then increase or decrease the price of Snickers accordingly. The angrier online sentiment got, the lower the price of a Snickers bar in Australia. To take advantage of the price drops, users visited the Hungerithm website to obtain a unique barcode which could be redeemed at any Australian 7-Eleven store.

It’s great to see technology, which was clearly not developed for advertising, be utilised in such a creative fashion.

2. Use platforms 

In their efforts to take branding budgets from TV, the platforms are willing and able partners for agencies and marketers, yet I’m surprised by how infrequently marketers and their agencies consult with platforms when developing campaigns. I don’t know if BETC France consulted with Instagram for their ‘Like my Addiction’ campaign, but the series of photos featuring subliminally placed alcoholic drinks fit perfectly (or perhaps imperfectly) to highlight the addiction of alcohol.

For marketers planning campaigns on platforms, particularly those not owned by Facebook or Google, it would make sense to engage with someone in the platform’s creative team before finalising the campaign.

3. Use augmented reality

Following the success of Pokémon Go, it’s clear to me that augmented reality is ready to play a bigger role in mobile marketing. That’s why I was particularly excited to see Faber-Castell’s use of augmented reality, via Brazil-based David the Agency, to bring eco-friendly coloured pencils made from reforested wood to life as animated rain forest animals. It just goes to show that a fairly mundane product can be incredibly effective when they adopt mobile app technology in a creative way.

I’m still confident that we’ll see a category-defining augmented reality campaign in late 2017 or 2018 which will move augmented reality to the mainstream of mobile marketing.

4. Use location data

I’ve been waiting for a marketing campaign with a creative use of location data. That’s why LEGOLAND Florida’s ‘Quest to LEGOLAND’, an app with interactive games built around the points of interest families pass during their drive to LEGOLAND, peaked my interest. This app offers games and activities tied to places which riders are passing that are integrated with attractions at LEGOLAND to ensure that parents don’t hear the proverbial car ride question: “Are we there yet?”

Now if someone would create a similar app for the ride to my in-laws I’d be eternally grateful.

5. Be age-appropriate

Device and application usage is correlated with age and life stage. That’s what makes the ‘Snaplications’ recruitment campaign from McDonald’s Australia via VML Australia, so successful. With McDonald’s looking to fill 30,000 positions in restaurants across Australia, the company created a Snapchat lens and invited applicants to create a 10 second video about why the company should hire them. The company received 2849 Snaplications on the first day of the campaign coupled with global buzz which resonated with the target audience and beyond.

If these mobile Cannes Lions winners serve as inspiration to mobile agency creative teams and clients, we’ll all see stronger, more compelling data and technology-driven mobile advertising in our mobile feeds.