Tech This Week: Cannes, Brexit, Tesla: Full of big strokes

By : |June 25, 2016 0
Data has never come more close to creative camps. The Cannes fest stamped that well. And a leave note stamped other questions

INDIA: Deep learning software, geometric proportions’ analysis, algorithms to understand strokes, height maps, facial recognition data: and all that coming together to create a masterpiece of art, again?

Well that has happened and gotten a lot of pats and gongs at France this year.

Cannes, the Mecca of advertising and creativity, has celebrated, among other examples of imagination – the coming together of data, technology and right-brains with quite a stir.

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And that’s not just with Cyber-Lions but with the top coveted rung of Grand Prix trophies too.

The J. Walter Thompson campaign done in teamwork with Microsoft, Delft University of Technology, the Mauritshuis and the Museum Het Rembrandthuis and done for ING bank, sets the mood this year unequivocally. This campaign, that was about hand-holding a computer to paint like Rembrandt to create a real 3-D printed portrait in Rembrandt’s style—won two Grand Prix awards here tonight. The fact that one category was the Cyber Lions and the other the Creative Data Lions at Cannes Lions 2016, says so much more.

This year while on one hand the debate got intensified about the distance between creativity and data’s increasing impact in advertising (with trends like heightened roles of data scientists, DCO or Dynamic Creative Optimisation gathering more steam) ; there were many in the jury who nodded with quite an appreciative eye on what data can actually do for ads.

The technology was seen to be turning so seamless as to be almost invisible, as one of the jury chiefs mentioned.

The Rembrandt (A painting that deployed used of AI, neural network software and 3D printing techniques) and other campaigns made the point well in this direction.

Next, there was Justino: a three-and-a-half-minute film about an endearing y security guard in a mannequin factory with a narrative of slices of every day selfies and slices strewn across the virtual world as he moves on to show how kindness toward his coworkers is repaid eventually.

The Spanish Lottery’s animated ‘Justino’ by Leo Burnett Madrid was hugely praised. The ability of the story to grow in texture, in dimensions, and interactions across YouTube, Facebook, Instragram etc was a high point apart from appreciation that it was still at the level of a Pixar movie.

More in this realm were campaigns like Symantec’s ‘The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet’, GE’s ‘GE Podcast Theater Presents The Message’, Airbnb’s #LiveInTheMovies, Google’s ‘Choose Your Side’, ‘Verizon in Minecraft’, Samsung’s ‘Voices of Life’ and Canon’s ‘Photo Coach’.

There is another category relevant for technology here that is gaining fast traction: the ‘Creative Data Lions’ which intends to celebrate creativity enabled by data. This fresh award category, introduced in 2015 to recognize excellent work that leverages data; saw winners like Lockheed Martin’s ‘The Field Trip To Mars’, a virtual reality work planting a school bus with VR cameras so that children can have a feel of a trip to the red planet; the Tennessee Department Of Tourism Development’s ‘Vacation Matchmaker’, Microsoft’s ‘Make What’s Next’ and Spotify’s ‘Spotify Singles’

As that was happening, big news on the reel was of course Tesla’s turn into the SolarCity. Even after the details settled down, the debate refused to.

The pro-camp argued that such moves can solve the ecosystem gaps that the clean energy market is notorious for. Batteries and solar systems would make definite sense. So would a bigger, integrated strategy for this fresh market. Two heads better than one, eh? It’s just that with Musk on both the tables, the head seems to be only one.

On the anti-side of the scene, thus, were criticisms about the very ’synergy’ of the deal given the obvious conflict of interest between the two companies. Watchers from the financial lanes even attributed this to a debt-rescue manoeuvre by Mr. Musk. SolarCity’s business model of long leases for rooftop systems and hence slow, stretched paybacks also came under lenses.

The week had to end with Brexit though. With that a Pandora’s Box has opened on what happens to data laws and privacy regulations now that EU’s Safe Harbor stance will take a new posture for UK firms. Incidentally, the US and the EU are progressing on some kind of a privacy shield presently to sort out trans-Altantic data transfer issues.

As to Brexit, till the ensuing uncertainty untangles, concerns over BPM contracts, immigration, employment, margin-impact due to Great British Pound’s fluctuations will stay.

The paint is still wet on that.

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