Twitter said nearly one-half of the Grand Prix- and Gold-winning campaigns at last year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity included the social network, so it teamed up with intelligence provider Contagious to study 1,856 Twitter-centric entries submitted at Cannes between 2014 and 2018.
The two companies said they identified six “pillars” that defined the type of work consumers want to engage with, share and elevate, and they then spoke with some of the brands and agencies behind that work and developed The Participation Playbook, a report they introduced on the main stage at Cannes earlier this month.
Twitter head of global brand strategy Alex Josephson said in an email, “Cannes Lions is the epicenter of creativity in advertising. Today, creativity remains the most important aspect of any ad campaign or marketing effort. Nielsen reports that the creative in a campaign accounts for 47% of any sales attributes achieved. Much of our industry has fallen victim to the guilty pleasure of buying turnkey cheap reach and relying on antiquated measurement systems to determine the ‘success’ of a campaign, but marketers who are falling victim to this behavior are turning a blind eye to the importance of getting people to care about their brands for genuine reasons—and building true brand equity.”
The six pillars follow, along with campaigns that illustrate them.
Take out your AirPods
Twitter and Contagious said that anywhere people go to talk, brands should go to listen, adding that the social network is a valuable resource for marketers wanting to know what is on the minds of their audiences.
A good example of this is The Blank Edition, from Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar and Impact BBDO Dubai, which won a Grand Prix in the print and publishing category, marking the first Cannes Grand Prix award for the Middle East and North Africa region.
Contagious senior writer James Swift wrote, “From an advertising perspective, I think this campaign is an interesting example of how Twitter has encouraged new ideas in old media. Brands now seem more willing to try innovative outdoor and print ideas because they know they have a chance of finding a much bigger—and more interested—audience on Twitter. But, more generally, I like how The Blank Edition facilitates the same dynamic that helped Twitter first make its mark on culture, by giving people a forum to voice their frustrations with those in power.”
Communication beats consumption
Twitter and Contagious said creating content is one thing, but brands that really make an impact become conduits for communication, adding that people will share content if it tells someone that they know how they’re feeling or they know something about who they are, or it implies some other sort of insider knowledge or status.
Josephson wrote, “Nike kicked off this campaign with a single tweet, followed by a full campaign and full-length film featuring Colin Kaepernick—not just on Twitter, but on every platform, website and medium around the world. But it saw twice as many views on Twitter in the first 24-hours than any other platform. The campaign’s power comes from Nike’s ability to connect to the conversation around Kaepernick as this underdog figure that people were rooting for and make him the face of this brand message that could live outside of the context of the brand and be universally resonant and empowering to any consumer.”
Get beyond first impressions
First, impressions were key for brands and agencies, and then engagements became the favored metric, but Twitter and Contagious wrote, “What will you measure or how will you define success next time you create something on Twitter? If all you can think of is retweets and comments, then you’re likely thinking too small.”