Mobile is an incredibly diverse category covering everything from social to apps, and data to websites. Despite this category being a mini Cannes Lions Festival in its own right, there were three key trends that came through in the work for 2016.
#1. Tech for humankind
Perhaps the biggest trend this year was safety first. We saw a huge number of entries that solved real world problems in new and creative ways. Helpmet, a helmet alerting emergency crews when a motorbike rider is unconscious, Dot – the first braille smart watch, safe & sound music player, slow down GPS, Parkinsounds for Parkinson’s and Sea Hero Quest – gaming to aid Alzheimer research – were just a few among the innovations designed to help. Mobile features of geolocation, accelerometer and connectivity were all leveraged to enable services that were previously inconceivable.
While many were charity initiatives, we also saw brands sponsoring utility to play a meaningful role in consumers lives. In a world where broadcast communications are simply not as effective, big brands are embracing utility and creating emotional connection with mobile for good. Toyota Landcruiser emergency network, Estadao songs of violence, and Samsung Blind Cap all seek to have an impact on both the world and their brand perception. I can’t think of a better way to spend marketing dollars.
#2. Physical Connection
A world addicted to mobile phones has its advantages for brand communication. This we saw the ‘Tinder’ization’ of everything; from bacon lovers to runners, apps that brought people together featured heavily. But social connection didn’t stop there. For a device that is infamously anti-social, the jury saw a stack of work that was designed to be a face-to-face experience. Connected screens brought entertainment to life and people together. Disney parades, firecrackers and music videos – the more friends with screens, the more entertainment. Cornetto’s wearables were a stand out – commitment rings utilising NFC tech to overcome the very real problem of your partner watching the next episode on Netflix without you. Genius.
#3. Hacking the platform
My favourite trend, hacking the platform was all about bending, breaking and shaping existing social networks. This trend is the digital equivalent of ‘ambient’ cleverly turning existing structures into fresh experiences or useful pieces.
Instagram was a prime target with Old Spice, Canon and many more using tags and multiple accounts to create a rabbit hole of content for consumers to explore. This twist on the visual platform allows for storytelling way beyond the intended single image.
The Gold Lion winning #comeonin used geotags with Sydney opera house exterior pics posted on Instagram to target tourists. The real-time campaign responded to posts with video, inviting those with a large number of followers to experience and post inside the venue. A triumph in location based co-creation.
Hashtags were hacked for good in Peru, bypassing cumbersome sign-up forms to create a database of blood donors. Participants put their hands up to donate simply by posting their #bloodtypeperu. Snapchat stories were hacked with a tap and messaging platforms transformed into school rooms, WhatsGerman leveraging WhatsApp as an education platform with daily language lessons for refugees.
Mobile has changed the game for communication but it doesn’t take high tech to be high impact. Human insight, empathy, creativity and above all simplicity make for big winners at Cannes.
Claire Waring was one of the jurors at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016 in the Mobile Lions category