Catalyst

An immersive experience awaits

Vivek Bhargava | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 16, 2017
Creativity unbound The Cannes Lions celebrate vision and inspiration.

Creativity unbound The Cannes Lions celebrate vision and inspiration.   -  Shutterstock

A first-time delegate on his hopes and expectations from the International Festival of Creativity, which starts on June 17

June 17-24, 2017 will be a dream come true for many an advertising professional as it’s that time of the year when the advertising industry the world over flies into the French Riviera to see exciting international work, meet new people and most of all, celebrate creativity.

As a Cannes Lions virgin, my thrill knows no bounds and as I gear up to experience this phenomena first-hand, I truly hope it lives up to its reputation. I have heard great things from my colleagues who have been to Cannes.

Every year I do things and gain experiences that I have never done before. This year, the new experience for me is the Cannes Lions festival. In its 64th year, the International Festival of Creativity is sure to be a pot pourri of various cultures. Each of the 600-plus world-class speakers across 18 stages will have an interesting story to tell over eight days when we can expect truckloads of inspiration, innovation, ideation and inquisitiveness.

Of AI and machine learning

So what’s the part I’m most looking forward to? It has to be the identification of the threats and opportunities of the digital advertising industry. Digital revenues have now reached 50 per cent and above of total revenues for most of the networks – this is the tipping point. I’m excited about having dialogues around this with the top 20 heads of advertising at Cannes and seeing what they have to say. I’m keen to discuss topics such as how machine learning is going to disrupt multiple industries.

They say when you copy from one, it’s plagiarism, but when you copy from many, it’s research – so my agenda is to do as much research as I can at Cannes about how this industry is going to move forward. With artificial intelligence and machine learning everything is going to get affected, which is one thing that keeps me awake at night. In my opinion, the future belongs to exponential technologies. Great digital transformation will take place on this front.

Technologies will eventually intertwine to make a single virtual ecosystem. Robots, drones, 3D printing, nano technology, block chain are a few, amongst others.

Artificial intelligence software solutions are likely be the top disruptors of technology in the coming decade. Cloud computing and machine-learning algorithms have fuelled the jump in artificial intelligence solutions. It’s interesting to note that no two machines make the same mistake. However, machines can only replace the functions human beings do, not human beings themselves.

Impact and insights

Virtual reality provides an immersive experience. I am extremely excited about the possibility of virtual reality as an advertising format, as that pretty much increases the screen size to infinity. Imagine falling off a cliff into a large net with the logo of a brand, you will never forget the brand after that experience! Today, smartphones are accessed 180 times a day on average. Considering this, merging technology with physical contact can be a great way to captivate the consumer. These ‘phygital’ technologies effectively target niche audiences. In the last two years alone, 5 billion GB of data was generated which accounts for 90 per cent of the world’s data created till date. Creating actionable insights through this data and its applications will prove to be a game-changer and enable wealth creation. I’m eager to gather thoughts on these subjects.

This is what creativity is to me – exponential technologies, data revolution and solving a problem. Creativity is not necessarily limited to something that you can see, it’s anything backed by innovation. When I started Communicate 2, now iProspect India, two decades ago, digital was growing at a snail’s pace in India. Today digital plays a role across almost every single facet of any organisation. How this shift from conventional to digital is changing business models is intriguing.

Cannes offers plenty of opportunity to converse with some of the best minds in the world. Then there is the opportunity to experience the best work short-listed in every category. The biggest favour Cannes debutants can do to themselves is go there with an open mind and just keep observing and absorbing. As they say, you’re never too old to learn a new thing. I expect the learnings at Cannes Lions to be superlative, to say the least. I’m sure every second is going to be so worth it!

Vivek Bhargava is CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Performance Group

Published on June 16, 2017

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