Cannes 2023 Creativity Report – Taking us into the world of AI and beyond

Pulse Issue 5 2023

"Cannes 2023 Creativity Report – Taking us into the world of AI and beyond"

Another year of Cannes Lions has come and gone… and in the wash-up, we are left to contemplate where next?

Remembering that the Cannes Lions Awards are all about celebrating creativity, AI played a larger role than ever before, being referenced in the case studies of over 8% of the winning entries as either a key driver of the creativity or a vital tool that helped ‘enhance creativity’.

Other emerging themes included getting back to the fundamentals of building brands and leveraging what makes a brand unique. Part of this move involves authenticity – and brands that showed up as genuine ‘community partners’.

In both examples, this seemed particularly evident in the pharma and health & wellness sections, where involvement in communities often means a better life experience for patients, and can be a starting point for building more effective brand engagement.

A quick glance at the work that won the highest awards shows how innovation and pushing the creative boundaries are still a non-negotiable, but clearly the rise of AI innovation and a more ‘community first’approach, show a seismic shift toward altruistic marketing – delivering tools and services to help raise standards in healthcare – and better outcomes for patients – BEYOND THE MEDICINES.

A great example of this was the Pharma Grand Prix winner, from Brazilian multinational pharmaceutical corporation Eurofarma .

Together with global creative agency Dentsu, they created an AI-powered facial expression recognition experimental tool enabling patients with Parkinson’s disease to practice their prescribed facial exercises doing something they love doing – controlling their social media engagement using facial expressions.

In association with the Brazil Parkinson Association, they developed ‘Scrolling Therapy’, a Facebook and Instagram integrated app which, through the use of AI encourages patients to navigate the feed through their smiles, mouth, nose, forehead and eyebrows movements, and other facial expressions. It’s designed to stimulate vital face-muscle exercise, complementary to other treatments focused on their condition.

See it here

Gold winners in the Pharma category also utilised AI and AR technology, but not as the sole idea behind the campaigns.

The Most Beautiful Sound was a project aimed at getting people to be more aware and bring a new notion of hope to cancer research for ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology). In a left field and very novel way, they re-focussed attention to the cause (of research toward cures for cancer) by inviting people to listen to the sound of cancer cells being destroyed. Contained on its own (stunningly simple) website, you can explore and take a listen here:

Winning silver was a ‘disease awareness’ initiative Outside-In Experiment’ aimed at bringing home the pain of uncontrolled gout to HCPs. While I’m not sure how effective it might have been in getting them to actually recommend the Horizon treatments, it certainly pushes the ability of AI to generate content and in this case take the viewer to a world that resembles an Heironymous Bosch painting!

In the Health & Wellness category we get a little ‘closer to home’ as we look to the Grand Prix winner – an entry from New Zealand. Titled The last Performance’ utilised a brilliant strategy to make us sit and take notice of life insurance in a format we know and understand well. And while there is no clever use of AI or technology, this idea really shows the power of a simple idea done very well, goes a long way to create great interest and even greater results, with web visits up a massive 132% during the campaign.

See what they did here:

And finally one of our favourites (not surprisingly generated by the Havas Global network!) While it’s not commercial in the sense of generating sales, it does a brilliant job raising awareness in a beautifully simple way. It’s also the kind of work that gives us hope in a better world, and wish more clients would think laterally and embrace ideas that we can all share.

In this case, rather than create a beautiful ad, or generate innovative tech, it instead generated incredible interest and piqued curiosity, simply by changing one word to give new meaning to an international icon, which in turn made an iconic difference to a worthy cause.

Take a look here:

This case study really does remind us that simplicity is often the best solution. It also reminds us that if you commit to a strong idea – do it well! The ‘official’ nature of this execution is breathtaking and the attention to detail is spectacular! Can you imagine if they had shortcut on anything? The idea would have fallen short… goes to show that one powerful idea often takes a massive team effort to execute to perfection.

There are so many other examples of great work that can be seen from Cannes. A quick visit will show just how much quality work was nominated, and the worthy winners, which are all worth a closer look.

Cannes Lions Awards 2023

If you’d like to know more – and walk through our ‘Best of Cannes 2023’ presentation, get in touch. Who knows, it could be the start of seeing your brand nominated for the 2024 Cannes Awards…


 Simon Davies
M: 0402 425 545

 Bruce Williams
M: 0407 359 582



We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.