It’s the 62nd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the south of France, but it looks more like a festival of technology because as far as the eye can see tech companies have taken up the beach front stands. It’s clear that they want to make sure their presence is known during a week where important questions are being asked about the relevance of brands and advertisers in the lives of consumers in a world where change is happening faster than I’m typing.

How do we as brands and advertisers make sure we become part of the data that is being consumed every day and what is the role of creativity in all of this. According to Sean Rad, the founder and president of Tinder, social media platforms that can’t deliver content at the same rate it’s being consumed at, will die but is the answer in producing content faster if more than 4.4 Zettabytes of data was produced last year alone (4.4 trillion gigabytes)?

According to Koichi Yamamoto from Dentsu in Japan, big data is the new air and that artificial intelligence (AI) is the new big data frontier. Toibot is a bot that talks like you by analyzing what you’ve tweeted before and then tweets on your behalf. Vice asked its readers on twitter yesterday if they would rather have a robot sexting them than nobody at all. There are even automated copywriters available now. Does this new tech world even need us?

But Koichi also said something really profound. He said that big data can only be used to analyse the past, that it can’t imagine the future, it can’t dream, it can only make sense of the past.

Which means that we don’t need new tech. We don’t need big data. We don’t need connected devices and the internet of things. They need us. They need our emotions, our feelings, our stories, our hopes and dreams to exist. Us being creative, experimenting, playing and dreaming up new ways of doing things is what makes them smart. That the richer and more creative the lives we live, the smarter they will become.


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It reminded me that we have to keep fighting the creative fight. That we cant resort to ideas that have been formed by analyzing past winners or coming up with solutions from mashing together old ones. That is big data’s job, not ours. We have to be better than that. And as long as we know the difference between the two, we can look the big old yellow ghost in the eye and not be afraid at all.




View all the winners from Press, Promo and Activation, Direct and Mobile below:

Contributor: Mariana O’Kelly, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg

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