CANNES — We live in an amazing time. The world seems to be in exponential progression, and its progress waits for no one. In the span of a few dozen years, computing technology has worked its way into virtually every part of the world’s daily life.
Like a wizard’s wand, our digital devices accomplish amazing feats with such ease that we come take them for granted. Here at Cannes Lions, brands and agencies are witnessing that power and ubiquity of technology first hand: Many of this year’s Lions are being awarded to agencies and brands that have tackled problems with technological solutions.
I sat attentively listening to the award ceremonies these past nights — and filtering everything through the lens of an innovation strategist, the position I currently hold at 360i.
As the case studies of Gold and Grand Prix Lions flickered on the massive displays in the Palais, I took notes of my favorite executions and wins. I jotted down things like "Smart solve," "great ‘a-ha!’ reveal" and lots of phrases like "how did they do that?" As a person with a deep passion for science and technology, I found myself frustrated by the lack of detail in many of the winning entries regarding how so much technical wizardry was pulled off.
Sure, a few case-study videos noted how they’d worked with a research lab, a university or a startup — but few gave any legitimate view into how they brought their idea to life. It was soon after Tuesday’s award show that I realized 99% of the world doesn’t care about the "how" behind the magic. Instead, it’s much more of an appreciation for the "what." You don’t really know how Uber can provide you a taxi with such speed and accuracy. Instead, we simply appreciate the output and value. It’s a funny paradox to me: the incredibly elaborate "how" is seen as boring; the "what," on the other hand, is always much more amazing.
I believe the ad world will have to deal with this paradox in coming years. Want to be a digitally relevant brand or agency of the future and truly make modern marketing magic happen? Cultivate a balance of talent that understands the "how" that gets you to an amazing "what."
Fitz Maro is innovation strategist with 360i and winner of Campaign US’ "Fearless Thinker" contest.