Influencer Marketing Is Topic De Jour at 2019 Cannes Lions

This entry was posted in Strategy, Tech on .

CANNES – The 65th annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is gently winding down to a close, and what a year it’s been! Some of our European Open Influence members have been down in the French sun, soaking up the gorgeous beach weather and learning the latest in creativity, marketing and advertising – we know, sometimes influencer marketing is a tough gig.

Since 1954, the Festival of Creativity has assembled thought leaders from the intersection of communication, marketing and design. Discussion around social media and influencer culture, specifically, has been gaining prominence over the past decade – both on the Cannes stage and the world at large. However, the level of chatter around influencers this year suggests that 2019 could be a watershed year for the industry.

But don’t take our word for it! Check out these highlights from the most interesting discussions on all things influencer marketing:

1. In A Crowded Landscape, Content Needs to Sell Itself

PJ Pereira, who presided over this year’s Social and Influencer award category, commented on the ongoing philosophical shift away from “How can we get people to watch our content?” towards “How can this content attract its own audience?

In 2019, viewer attention has become so fragmented (due in large part to the mobile revolution), standard advertising strategies are becoming obsolete. In Pereira’s words, audience attention ceased to be “buyable” when social media gave them access to near-limitless options, all for free.

So how do brands cut through the noise, and generate content worth sharing? Answer: influencer marketing. Through the authentic voices of influencers, brands can integrate their messages to fit any community or scenario. More importantly, fans actively seek out influencer content every day, meaning your ad dollars end up exactly where the people are.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Own Your Voice

Twitter presented the results from a joint-study that analyzed more than 1,800 Cannes Lions entries across five years to determine which factors help brands break through the noise on social media. Targeting niche conversations, maintaining the correct tone of voice, and not being afraid to show emotions were some of the biggest takeaways.

Indeed, displaying an emotional side can be a tricky endeavour for brands – influencer marketing presents an elegant solution by puttering literal “faces behind the names.” After all, people connect with people – not logos. And by partnering with different influencers, brands can align themselves to different values and beliefs – such as when Nike took a stand with Colin Kaepernick.

3. A Global Perspective Shows Influencers Are A Dominant Force

Forbes, who also noted the amount of chatter around influencers this year, highlighted this fascinating tidbit: advertisers in other countries, such as China, are allocating upwards of 70 percent of their marketing budget to “Key Opinion Leaders” (a common synonym for “influencers”).

This indicates the industry continues to boom, not just in the United States, but around the world – especially great news for US-based brands looking to expand into foreign markets.

4. eSports and Gaming – More Than Just a Hobby

Lastly, Esports is leading a lot of categories around the world, so it’s no surprise that it was a dominant force at Cannes. “Keeping Fortnite Fresh,” Wendy’s collaboration with video game phenomenon Fortnite, won the Social & Influencer Grand Prix.

On games such as Fortnite, the sheer amount of communication that takes place has made them (from a certain perspective), some of the biggest social media platforms around. Given that the winner for each Cannes award should represent the future of the industry, it makes sense that the winner was a massive project between one of the world’s biggest brands and one of the world’s hottest games.


Cannes might end today, but we’re already excited about what’s in store for 2020! Influencer marketing is only poised to grow to record heights in the coming years, so we can only imagine how central influencers will become in the global creative conversation. See you next year to find out!