What Shaun McIlrath Learned Judging Innovation Lions, Where Actions are the World’s Best Ads

“Innovation is communication. The things we do say so much more about us than the things we say.” Shaun McIlrath discloses that the root of all the judges’ questions were consistent: Is it a breakthrough? Will it endure? Can it change lives? Have a look at his standout ideas, which for the most part had to do with innovation in the service of people and communities. The Grand Prix went to  What3Words, a universal addressing system designed on a 3-by-3 meter global grid. Each of the 57 trillion squares has been pre-allocated a unique three-word address, which is then turned into precise coordinates by a geocoder. In a world where 75% of people suffer from complicated, inconsistent or non-existent addressing systems, this simple and memorable system can benefit not only business, but also communities in remote locations where access to w ater facilities or refugee camps are sometimes impossible to locate.

Artificial Intelligence Among One of Cannes Lions 2015 Top Trends

​Mike Cooper from PHD referred to us as being at “11.59pm on the eve of AI”. Over $57bn has been invested in AI to date, and that number is increasing 60% every year. Japanese mobile carrier Sof tBank showed off its emotional Robot Pepper at the festival, which by the way, sold out in only ONE MINUTE when its first batch of 1,000 went on sale last week.

blu eCigs Helps to Create ‘Sensory Cinema’ Experiment

Within 15 years, we will be able to taste and smell movies while we watch them, according to Charles Spence, an academic at Oxford University. Collaborating with blu eCigs, a competitor of BAT’s Vype e-cigarettes, Professor Spence created a ‘sensory cinema’ experiment in north London; some were vapours inhaled through e-cigarettes, while others were food and drink that the audience were prompted to consume at certain moments.

Multi-sensory experiences are a big trend and can make the brand experience more effective and memorable for the consumer. Research shows that sensory stimuli such as flavours, aromas and physical sensations can have a direct emotional response to what we see. With emotion being the most important aspect of the customer experience, let’s think about how multi-sensory experiences could work for our brands!

Calibrating Chinese Creativity

China is taking a global lead in two areas of innovation: in improving consumer products and the business models used to sell them; and in making manufacturing processes cheaper, quicker and better. Chinese firms now outsell foreign rivals in categories such as household appliances, Internet software and consumer electronics.

China has also been innovating new business models in the advertising industry, which is only one-eighth the size of America’s. While Western online firms generate most of their revenue from advertising, Chinese tech firms have had to find new ways to monetize consumers time spent online. For instance, Tencent (a giant that could potentially rival the likes of Facebook and Amazon) generates 90% of its revenue from online games, sales of virtual items on social platforms and e-commerce. Lessons can be learned from how Chinese firms are able to integrate all of these aspects to create an amazing user experience.

Why Social Media is no Longer a ‘Dunk in the Dark’ – 5 Steps to Rewrite the Social Playbook

Social networks have evolved to become powerful media platforms with the ability for scale, reach and more sophisticated targeting. But with it has also come the even greater competition for consumers’ attention and participation. So how do you win in social?
social media marketing
Social needs to be considered early on in the planning stages and integrated with the rest of the campaign strategy. If it’s only used as a standalone tactic at the end, we’re missing a big trick. Sophisticated targeting means its no longer high frequency, but rather fewer, bigger activations and campaigns that will drive better results for brands. Paid social will also help to reduce waste and put the right quality, campaign-based content in front of the right people, scaling the story you want to tell. If used effectively and measurement results are invested in and incorporated into the campaign, social can drive better engagement and higher ROI than other channels.
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Meerkat’s First Big Implementation to Participatory Media

Meerkat app which was recognized as “the” app at SXSW earlier this year, has implemented new features in line with its vision of participatory media. With rival Periscope on Twitter, Meerkat has teamed up with Facebook, and is therefore shifting away from a live ‘broadcast to’ towards a ‘broadcast with’ your friends. Its new cameo feature lets you invite those watching your stream to take control of it for up to 60 seconds. The streaming app is becoming more intimate and allowing you to take part in events, conversations and moments with people and brands that you’re probably more familiar with.

This feature creates a unique opportunity for brands to build stories together with their fans. As opposed to a passive behaviour of watching live streams, fans can now have collaborative experiences all on video on their phone. But again, like it’s parent social media sites, you need to understand and leverage the platform that is right for your campaign.

New Simple Buy Buttons Aim to Entice Mobile Shoppers

With so much time spent glued to our phones, people’s shopping behaviours have shifted to mobile in profound way. Yet, the vast majority of online shopping is still done on desktops and laptops. Consumers complain about product images not being large enough to see or find it’s too difficult to type through shipment and payment options. Now big tech companies like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google are trying to bridge this gap between time spent and dollars spent on mobile with a simple buy button. If these tech companies become the middlemen between retailers and consumers, we could see reduced traffic to retailer websites and possibly loyalty to those stores as well.

We have to recognize these types of behaviours through our understanding of the PDJ. This can help identify where potential sales are being lost and lets us think of how we could turn this into an opportunity. Consumers want quick, simple transactions on mobile and if a brand can’t provide that, we risk losing them to someone else.

‘Nude’ Baristas Take Over a Coffee Shop for Nestlé’s New Creamer Campaign

Coffee creamer. It’s not really the most exciting product to talk about. All Nestlé really knew when trying to promote their Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss, was that consumers only really cared about wanting something natural in it. So how did they try and grab consumers’ attention in a way that linked to their product benefit? Together with 360i, Nestlé opened a one-day pop up café called the Natural Bliss Café as the foundation of its digitalcampaign. People who entered the café on their morning coffee run were soon shocked to realise that many of the workers were paid actors and performers who were ‘nude’ – or rather, only covered in body paint.

The content captured from this one-off event is now being pushed on the brand’s digital channels, scaling its communication. Sometimes shock value is a good way to spark conversation about products that consumers aren’t necessarily excited about. At least the café gave away the coffee for free, which was more surprising to some of the local New Yorkers than the fact that the workers were nude!

New Wi-Fi Aware Will Make Phones ‘Aware’ of Their Surroundings

It’s a new breed of proximity marketing. Wi-Fi Aware will let devices automatically find and connect to each other in nearby locations by continually scanning its surroundings, opening the door for even greater contextual awareness messages.


Better than beacon technology? Wi-Fi Aware doesn’t require the retailer or service to install special equipment, like Bluetooth transmitters for instance. Instead, it uses a procedure that allows mobile devices in proximity to find one another using “publish” and “subscribe” messages, and then lets end users enable connection-based services and apps.


This technology could help retailers and brands discover a consumer’s location in the real-world and send personalised, timely, (and opted-in) content like coupons or ads. There is big potential for on-site or event advertising and social gaming. For instance, a social gamer could be alerted when someone playing a similar game walks into the room, prompting them to set up a face-to-face match. On top of creating social experiences, this technology could give brands the ability to deliver simple information to consumers based on their location to help make their lives easier.