Data and creativity are often considered at odds with one another: the science and rigour that data brings is said to kill the magic of creative ideas.

Award entries at the first Cannes Lions Innovation festival show this mindset is shifting.

As brands and agencies we have access to increasing volumes of data and we are using these to make our customer experiences more relevant, more interactive and more effective.

The inaugural Cannes Lions Innovation festival which took place this week reflects this shift and shows us how brands and agencies across the industry are achieving this and provides a glimpse of innovations to come. 

More than 600 entries were submitted to the new festival under the Creative Data Lion award, which will be a permanent fixture at the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to celebrate the intersection of data, technology and ideas.

The award covers a broad spectrum of categories, including the use of real-time data, visualisation and technology to enhance creatives and consumer engagement, but a key trend from this first year of submissions has been the use of data and insight to drive targeting and personalised experiences, in particular the use of real-time and social media data.

There was no Grand Prix awarded for the Creative Data Lion this year. No entry stood head and shoulders above the rest, however individual category winners set a benchmark for industry and for next year’s entrants.

These include: 

Netflix: Inspired By You (France)

Netflix launched in France in September 2014. To ensure success the business used text mining and machine learning to analyse two years’ worth of digital conversations.

This analysis provided granular insight into the French population’s needs, desires and interests to inspire relevant and contextual creatives and messaging for Netflix’s outdoor campaign, a campaign which the organisation overlaid with real-time contextual data such as weather to further tailor messaging and increase relevance.

The campaign reached 120m and increased brand awareness from 25% to 68% in just three months.

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development: One Minute Vacation (USA)

To encourage local tourism, Tennessee Tourism used demographic and travel data to identify 11 local markets that were within a short drive of Tennessee’s biggest attractions.

They mapped out 24 specific road trips from these markets with minute-long video banner ads to illustrate and market each. Using social media location, interest and conversation data these ads were delivered as part of a highly targeted campaign.

When the user clicked-through they were shown the exact roads to take to get from their location to the destinations advertised.

In five weeks the campaign generated 17,000 hours of video views and resulted in 26,000 holiday guide downloads, an increase of 27% over the previous year.

The campaign contributed to a 10.7% increase in travel volume to Tennessee that year.

EA Sports: Madden Giferator (USA)

The makers of Madden, the NFL-based video game, had seen its popularity decline in recent years.

The business was seeking to reverse this by tapping into the excitement and team rivalry of the NFL season to reach the 157m NFL fans in a real-time and relevant way with the creation of the Giferator.

This dynamically generated GIFs in real-time, layering headlines and stats from NFL games as they happened with video game artwork featuring the relevant players.

These GIFs were then distributed across sites where fans were known to be looking for game updates and were targeted according to team loyalties.

Fans were also given the opportunity to create their own GIFs, resulting in more than 420,000 GIFs shared online by fans and players.

Mercedez Benz: Crossword Targeting (Japan)

Mercedes-Benz sees 8.5m visits to their website each month, but few are hot prospects.

To reach their target audience Mercedes-Benz used signals from search data to deliver targeted display advertising.

In total it identified 4.6m combinations of search keywords that indicated the user might be a hot prospect to deliver ads against. For example, search keywords which when combined indicate a car accident or repairs.

The click-through rate for the campaign was 1070% higher compared to traditional targeting.

Melanoma Patients Australia – Melanoma Likes Me (Australia)

More than 1,500 Australians die from melanoma each year, it is the most lethal cancer for 15-30 year olds.

The Melanoma Likes Me campaign was created to raise awareness of the dangers associated with sunbathing amongst this younger and harder to reach audience.

A real-time tool was used to respond to popular hashtags such as #sunkissed, #tanned and #beachside and geo-located images on social media with likes and messages from user _melanoma.

Information on how to check for melanomas was also provided when users clicked through.

Make sure to check out The Masters of Marketing, Econsultancy’s new awards hosted in partnership with Marketing Week.

Covering the key marketing disciplines and industry sectors, don’t miss out on this opportunity to highlight your work.