Content Brief: should advertisers can Cannes Lions Festival? Plus other content news you might have missed

Goodbye, June. We hardly knew you. This month, we wonder if advertisers should abandon the Cannes Lions Festival and why it is that consumers love branded content, but can’t remember it. Here’s what happened in content marketing this month.

Should advertisers can Cannes?

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity has always been a little overlooked, culturally, in comparison to the Cannes Film Festival, which occurs a month before. But no matter! The Cannes Lions Festival is the time when advertising is the star of the show. (Well, next to all of the celebrities invited to the event.) And yet, a curious thing happened this year: tech was the star, instead.

First, the number of entries for the Cannes Lions awards this year dropped 4.5 percent. Agencies sent fewer people in advertising to the event. But while advertising executives may have skipped this year’s Lions Festival, tech was everywhere. There was Snapchat with a giant, yellow ferris wheel at the festival’s entrance to remind you to experience their Spectacle wearable tech. There were the beachside cabanas rented out for the week by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to host meetings and wow business partners. There was Google’s keynote speech, which offered an explainer on how machine learning is providing insights into human behavior. There were stations asking you to create content with their products and experiment with their tech.

The festival may have been too big for some. An article from Campaign Live suggests that an “alternative conference” could occur to just focus on advertising. But advertising relies on tech these days for everything, especially in the digital ad space, where these tech companies have a monopoly. It’s yet another reminder of how reliant the ad industry is on tech.

If you’d like to see the actual advertising that captured the imagination of this year’s judges, check out the winners here.

Everyone loves branded content, but they don’t remember it

Good news for brands: everyone loves branded content if this Time Inc. study is to be believed. The study asked three generations (Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z) their feelings on “custom content” (a.k.a branded content) and the results were very positive.

  • 90 percent of respondents like the idea of custom content.
  • 89 percent believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the clutter.
  • 93 percent of Generation Z want brands to connect with them in “new and interesting ways.”
  • 88 percent indicated that custom content feels like a good way for new brands it hasn’t heard of to reach them.
  • 84 percent agreed that custom content is a way for brands to engage them.
  • 72 percent wanted video and infographics to better explore a story or data.
  • 56 percent like that brands are not just trying to sell, but are sharing something cool or teaching them.
  • 56 percent appreciate brands that partner with sources they trust.

These are possibly the best-looking numbers for branded content yet, in terms of studies. The bad news? People may love branded content, but they forget it about quickly, or can’t even recognize it at all. According to a report commissioned by Prezi, 80 percent of consumers forget branded content after only three days, and over half can’t recall a single detail.

So while people have warmed up to the idea of branded content, brands still need to teach them how to remember it. One problem solved, another challenge to conquer! Feel free to cut and paste some of these stats to your boss before your next budget meeting.

Image: KVN1777/Shutterstock

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