Social Media and #LiveStorytelling at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

cannes lions

Hootsuite landed in Cannes for the Cannes Lions, International Festival of Creativity, on 15th-21st June 2014. More than 12,000 delegates from 95 countries gathered on the French Mediterranean coast for week-long programme of exhibitions, screenings, and talks by global marketing and advertising thought leaders. We joined them to be inspired by creativity, learn about social business, network with inspiring people, share successes, and stay ahead of the curve.

Hootsuite executives from across the globe settled into our apartment across from the Palais as pictured above (which we dubbed the HootHouse), for the duration of the week, hosting a schedule of social and educational events. We met with boutique agencies, international media giants and aspiring Superbrands, now the dust has settled, here’s what we learned:

Social creativity recognised

With 37,000+ submissions for this years awards, categories spanned media, PR, design, film, content and innovation. However this year, a welcome addition was social—with dedicated awards for social effectiveness in ‘real-time marketing’, ‘influencer/blogger outreach’ and ‘community management/building’.

The new category rewarded focused executions with social at the core of the work, considering levels of engagement, social reach and the creative use of social networks and activity to successful commercial effect. It is clear the landscape of marketing, advertising and communication is rapidly changing and converging. Integrated communications is at the core of any good idea and reflected in the volume of winners that spanned multiple award categories for individual campaigns with social media playing a huge part in the virality of winning campaigns.


With a week packed full of networking and building relationships, it was great to see the marketing community understanding that creativity and communication is also about building authentic relationships with consumers. A huge theme this year was #LiveStorytelling, with celebrity storytellers such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Kanye West and Rob Lowe on stage discussing how they have used digital platforms to communicate to their fans, engage with them on a deeper level, inspire and entertain. YouTube also took the Cannes Lions opportunity to announce a new subscription model for their platform to enable brands and talent.

It was also great to see agencies and marketers alike discussing that creating content that tells a story is no longer enough on its own. To really grow and nurture relationships with consumers, marketers need to understand their audiences by developing niche communities and one-to-one relationships.

Omnichannel communication

With all the talk of building relationships and engaging communities, it was clear that a multi-channel strategy, including print, digital, mobile, PR and social wins the day. adam&eveDDB’s “Sorry I Spent It on Myself” Christmas campaign for Harvey Nichols which won Grand Prix in four categories: Film, Integrated, Press, and Promo & Activation.

Composed of talent from from advertising, design, digital, technical, and social media backgrounds, adam&eveDDB was also recognized for omnichannel excellence with an Agency of the Year title. Top agencies and marketers are developing campaigns around a core idea, then executing through an integrated communications plan: channel-agnostic and aligned with the true needs of the audience.

The social conversation

There was certainly plenty of conversation to be had, both offline and online. Throughout the week we tracked #CannesLions mentions through uberVU via Hootsuite and published a daily report with some of the key trends. Garnering 209k hashtag mentions driving 297m impressions, here are just a few of the conversational highlights:


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