The third day of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity was also the mid-point of this event. Many more awards were announced. The creativity on display from across the world was fabulous.

The most impactful advertisements were all based on fresh new ideas which touched an emotive chord. I came away impressed with brilliant campaigns such as Anne De Gaulle Airport, the Marmite Baby Scan, and Adidas Runner 321 — all of which won either a Gold Lion or the Grand Prix. Do check these out online.

In the midst of an artificial intelligence-dominated festival, Unilever delivered a brilliant session on building brands that last.

The Chief Marketing Officer of Dove highlighted how the brand’s platform of “Real Beauty” had not just been refreshed, but had been beautifully adapted to periods such as the pandemic, platforms like gaming, and even putting across a strong point of view in the world of social media. This has led to consistent growth and enhanced consumer loyalty for Dove.

The Chief Commercial Officer of Unilever urged marketers to focus on long-term brand building rather than short-term performance marketing.

She made the point that brand building if executed very engagingly and across platforms, can both nurture the brand and deliver sales. “Be unmissable,” she said, “and become part of the culture. That is how long-lasting brands are built.”

Amarás’ rise
A Peruvian hair care brand which challenged the giants and won

A Peruvian hair care brand which challenged the giants and won

A very different but equally insightful and inspiring session later in the day came from a Peruvian hair care brand called Amarás.

This regional brand took on global beauty Goliaths like Unilever and Procter & Gamble, and built for itself a double-digit share of the personal care market, as well as the best-selling brand of conditioner and the third leading brand in the entire category.

Amarás did this by putting Peruvian women at the centre of its universe in everything that it did — including sourcing local Amazonian ingredients which resonate better with these consumers, developing products that solve the challenges posed by Peruvian weather, and using only Peruvian models in advertising.

The entire session was an excellent case study in sharp consumer insights and innovative product development.

The festival also features some interesting workshops every day. I wanted to discover what these held, and so chose to attend a workshop conducted by Hyper Island and Bra Futures on hacking creativity.

It turned out to be a very good investment of time, with a focus on how to design our own mindset for the maximum creative output. I learnt some practical techniques which I can use, and the workshop has also led me to reflect on my own creative style.

Building trust
The author, Harish Bhat, in conversation with Raja Rajamannar, CMO of Mastercard, on the subject of Trust

The author, Harish Bhat, in conversation with Raja Rajamannar, CMO of Mastercard, on the subject of Trust

I also spoke at a session organised in the stunning Mastercard Villa, located a short drive away from the venue of the festival. This was an engaging conversation between Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing Officer of Mastercard, and me, on the subject of trust.

I examined this all-important area through the lens of the Tata brand. It was my privilege to talk about this timeless brand that I am part of to a discerning global audience at Cannes.

I would like to end by mentioning that there was so much wonderful ice cream on sale next to the beaches of Cannes. This is perhaps because of the ongoing hot summer. I ate a delicious caramel ice cream in a cone and felt totally at peace thereafter.

(Harish Bhat is Brand Custodian, Tata Sons. These are his personal views.)