Cannes Day 2: Empathy is a great way to start

On a big day for data, one question was being discussed across the board: how to make sense out of data for creative thinking? Anna-Lee Bridgstock (LADbible Group) kicked off the discussion with a warning: data can even “kill creativity” when used with no care.

In the Awards Show, data was used as a force for good by Warner Music and Apple Music helping children with speech therapy (Grand Prix Creative Data) and with digital birth certificates helping Pakistanis secure basic human rights (Grand Prix Media Award). It was also great to see our very own Carat Finland taking home a Gold Media Lion for “Use of Real-time Data” with the case “Your Data is Your Data”. S-Group, the largest grocery chain in Finland, used its loyalty card data to help consumers make better choices – for themselves and for the planet. The company made sure to be 100% transparent on data collection and actually used all that data to help.

A common thread amongst all data conversations was spotted in an exciting session about emotional data, led by Josy Paul (BBDO India). For Josy, this is the type of data that involves one word: empathy. It’s about confessions, an open heart and a deep understanding of people and society. It’s about having time to hear people in the real world, working as an “emotional archaeologist”. In a world so affected by fake news, where we are all in a “corner”, emotional data emerged, for him, as a gateway to authentic truth.

With a good dose of empathy, Lorraine Twohill (CMO Google) spoke with Reggie Butler (Performance Paradigm) about the year that changed everything. The CMO highlighted different actions that the company took during the pandemic and remembered the protests following George Floyd’s murder. Google shared a plea to not only make the company more diverse and inclusive but to make sure our industry is giving a voice to groups that have been systemically marginalised. Empathy made Google act and realise its role beyond comms or advertising – as a source of information in very troubled times.

To close the day, the Creative Strategy Lions debrief highlighted advertising as problem-solving and the need for a deep understanding of people, culture, and businesses to get to the real problems. The path to get there? Good old empathy!

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