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Carat Cannes Lions Wrap Up

July 5, 2023

Lucy McKillop, Global Brand Director, caught up with Bram Meuleman, Senior Strategy Partner, Carat Global, about his key take aways from Cannes Lions 2023. 

It’s always fun catching up with Bram. Those who know him and have worked with him know that they will come away having sniggered at some excellent GIF usage, sharp pop culture references and of course a deeper understanding of what his dog looks like. I jest, well – it's true but you will generally come away with much more than that too. I distinctly remember, in my early days in the Carat Global office watching multiple people struggle to use the penny sweet machine that sat on top of one of our communal tables. Person after person went over to it, struggled to use the dispenser, tried for a bit, sheepishly gave up, and walked away. After about three or four people did this, I saw Bram cotton on to what was happening. He watched, and then, got up and with an air of deliberate confidence, walked over to the machine and took the lid off, freeing the sweets for all to access. A simple, but effective solution that freed up the general office population to access the tasty snacks. This, I thought at the time, was a brilliant everyday example of the strategist’s view of the world. Look at the problem, see the connections, find the solution, and make it happen.  

So, when I was told Bram was creating a Carat Cannes Wrap Up for us this year, I couldn’t help but be quietly excited about what to expect. And of course, when he showed me his work, I was pleased to find that he had taken an alternative view of what to share. He has created an overview of research presented at the 2023 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, and as a result we now have a truly Carat take on media focused trends for the Global community, using data and insight to guide these thoughts and takes. With his Designing for People hat firmly on, his wrap up deck takes us on a journey through talks, data sets, and presentations he saw armed with a pass to the Palais.   

While of course all these things are important, and will rightly be reviewed and analysed by others (you can look at the dentsu broad Cannes review here), what you will not find in this deck is:  

  • A review of the winners 
  • A review of the work 
  • A review of the trends that everyone was talking about. 
  • Analysis of the impact Generative AI is having on the industry. 

Instead, what you will find is Bram getting his geek on. He spent his time going to talks from a multitude of data, research, and analysts. They could be seen by some as tough to process, dry, even, and through this wrap, returns them into usable insight, easy to digest and relevant for Carat’s media experts.  

He did this so he could dig in and unearth insights which will be immediately useful to us - the planners, the strategists, the marketers, the account people who make up the Carat Network community - and help us hone our craft as we plan our work and guide our clients in the modern media landscape.  

In the deck and accompanying talk Bram looks at the following talks and research pieces, and I am going to attempt to summarise each section: 

  1. The triple opportunity of attention - where we uncover the truth about which came first, the chicken (creative) or the egg (media); spoiler alert: the egg wins! 
  2. The 3rd age of effectiveness - as digital matures, what does that mean for our ability to impact ROI? 
  3. Connected experiences building brand power (our own talk) – the opportunity to connect with people is in the delta between viewership and passion.  
  4. Budgets under siege – where we found out that what’s making marketing lose prominence in the boardroom is its unwillingness to prioritise making friends. 
  5. Think different – a pilgrimage of Kantar’s annual and ever-strengthening case that when it comes to building brands that deliver for the bottom line, “difference” really does make the difference.  
  6. Is marketing transformation a transformation – where the biggest venture capital firm in the world explains exactly how they move brand further upstream in their value creation process. 
  7. Future of innovation – where we learn why accessible design creates many more opportunities for innovation that changes the world for everyone. 
  8. Building your brand as an operating system – exploring how thinking about brands as an OS is a far more fruitful brand building approach than sticking to static, outdated “brand bibles”. 
  9. Strategy is constipated, imagination is the laxative - looking at the role strategy is playing in the homogeneity of everything…  

 It’s fair to say that this wrap up is incredibly far reaching, but the result, for me at least, was feeling like I had a deeper understanding of where the research, data, attention, media, brand and budgets intersect, what they mean for our teams, and how teams can apply them in the day-to-day. 

 If there is one thing you should take away from this blog post (and the deck!) it’s that it’s well-worth reading about and exploring the more niche and geeky subjects, because that’s where the genuinely cool stuff happens. 

 We hope you enjoy flicking through the presentation and the topics it covers, and of course if you want us to come and present it to you, please do get in touch.  

Download the deck here | View the recording of the presentation here