Cannes Lions Live 2021: A media shortlist jury perspective

Note: Verizon Media is now known as Yahoo.

Susanne Persson, Country Manager, Sweden, Verizon Media

Cannes Lions is here, and I have had the honor of being appointed as a member of two juries this year; Media Lions Shortlist and Young Lions.

It’s been weeks of evaluating amazing work which inspired me to sum up and share some of the trends and tendencies that I see in this year’s creative work and media distribution. Trends and tendencies that I also recognize from my work as a jury member at the Dubai Lynx and the Festival of Media Global Awards earlier this year.


Unobtrusive in-game advertising

Interesting to see so many high quality gaming entries. Most of them indicate an acceleration of consumption due to the pandemic but also that the ad industry is beginning to see the advantages that gaming offers in terms of consumer attention and engagement.

Those gaming entries showcase how to reach audiences that do not want to be targeted or need to be targeted in an unobtrusive way. Dynamic in-game advertising as well as gaming and eSports partnerships are, when done right, examples of media solutions that allow for seamless integration. They present the key to engaging with an audience that is notorious for using ad blockers. Considering how +70% of the adult population have played a game at some point, it is inspiring and necessary to see the many examples of creativity that unfold within this platform.


Co-branded campaigns as a force for good

With entries also representing times of a pandemic there seems to be a rise in co-marketing efforts with brands collaborating for the greater good. It is so wonderful to see big brands doing good for humanity while at the same time promoting their products. Some campaigns showed competitive brands sharing forces - co-branded messages or activities - in order to make the campaign message more impactful. You even saw brands supporting other brands’ campaigns to help make a difference.


Media technology is great, but not always

Clearly technology plays an important role in the execution of many campaigns. You see many great examples of innovative thinking in the form of hacked commercials or media. In many cases the use of technology was more dominant than the idea itself with a clear lack of coherence. Still, this year also presented cases that used technology to enhance a story, showing a magic synergy between idea, strategy, and results.


Communicating in a meaningful way is the essence

I believe that media technology will continue to evolve and play an incremental role in creativity in the future, but the essence of a great campaign will continue to be how a brand connects with their audience in a meaningful way.


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