Russell Goldsmith
Russell Goldsmith 3 July 2018

Podcast - From Cannes Lions: Marketing Technology

The first of three episodes recorded at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018. In this episode we looked at looked at some of the technology on show and we were joined by: Chris Duffey, Strategic Development Manager, Adobe & Doug Gould, Partner Executive Global Experience Innovation, Microsoft on the topic ‘, ‘Human + Machine: Stronger Together in the Age of Co-Creation’ Adrian Leu, CEO, Inition & Graeme Cox, CEO & Founder, Emteq discuss ‘Biometrics and VR’ Nikos Acuña, Chief Visionary, Sizmek on what AI teaches us about creativity and the universe

Part 1 – Chris Duffey and Doug Gould

Chris Duffey of Adobe and Microsoft’s Doug Gould had presented at Cannes in a session titled, ‘Human + Machine: Stronger Together in the Age of Co-Creation’.


Russell Goldsmith (middle) chats to Adobe's Chris Duffey (left) and Microsoft's Doug Gould

The talk was about combining Human Creativity with Computational Power of technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Chris explained that AI’s role in the creation process can be that of an assistant, a peer and a muse, i.e. a source of inspiration.

Within their talk they shared a number of interesting examples including:

Project Aero - A new AR tool where you can merge the physical with the virtual world, combining Augmented Reality (AR) with AI

Doug showed a video of how a team were working collaboratively in different locations, helping the member of the team based in the physical retail space to digitally redesign it, whilst she wears the HoloLens glasses enabling her to see the suggestions from her colleagues and the AI assistant.

  • Braun Design Language

Chris talked about that they showed in their talk was how AI had analysed all the company’s product shapes and designs of every product it has ever made, identifying core shapes and geometric compositions to create, what they called a ‘design language’ for them.

Grey London + Adobe Braun Design Language 2018 from mark heap on Vimeo.

We also talked about how AR & AI can impact on a sound experience too and Doug gave some interesting examples of how that might work, which he felt isn’t as pervasive given he said people are over looking at their phones all the time.

Part 2 - Adrian Leu & Graeme Cox

Adrian Leu, CEO, Inition & Graeme Cox, CEO & Founder, Emteq discussed combining Biometrics and Virtual Reality.


Chatting with Graeme Cox (left) and Adrian Leu (middle)

Their presentation at Cannes was about showing not just what people can see when experiencing VR, but what they feel too and how it triggers different emotions, because they can then create content that has meaning, that is much more interesting and responds to emotional triggers [of the person wearing the headset.]

Graeme explained that the face is the natural human way of expressing how we feel, subconsciously and consciously continually and this can be used to understand human emotion.  His company therefore built a pair of glasses that looks back at the face of the wearer and can understand the movement of the face and the electrical activity of the muscles underlying it, as well as heart rate and various other aspects of your physical activity such as stance and head posture and translate that using AI Machine Learning into usable data.

Adrian shared some examples of where this technology can be used to overcome phobias, such as a fear of heights, with their case study from the Shard in London and from the Burj Khalifa in the UAE.

Graeme added a case study of Emteq’s where they have recently started helping autistic teenagers by introducing them to difficult social situations in VR and AR.  This works by the them being faced with an avatar that is unfamiliar and then puts them through a gamified training process that tests whether they can deliver the right emotional responses for the situation but also desensitises them to that trauma that it is for them of dealing with an unknown individual.  The actual avatar that they are dealing and experiencing as a stranger is being driven by their mum or dad who are wearing another VR headset.

Adrian added that Inition have used the technology for training at Fostering and Adoption agencies, to help parents to understand the background of the kids they are adopting and what they’ve gone through.

Part 3 – Nikos Acuña

In the final part of this episode, we spoke with Nikos Acuña, Chief Visionary at Sizmek about the presentation he gave at Cannes Lions, which was titled, ‘What AI teaches us about creativity and the universe’.


With Nikos Acuna (right)

Nikos explained that Sizmek brings together what they call the three pillars of marketing of the future:

  1. Data Enablement
  2. Creative Optimisation
  3. Media Execution

He was hoping his talk at Cannes show what the creative process really is and what it means for brands.  He said when looking at technology for marketing, it only does three things:

  1. Enhance customer experiences to make them more relevant
  2. Drive business performance to the KPI you are looking to measure
  3. Find more granular insights into who is buying your products/services and so who can connect with your brand more meaningfully

Nikos said that with any kind of brand that is looking to launch something into the marketplace, you are looking to inspire people and that with inspiration comes optimising experiences.  He therefore believes that in order to understand what inspires people, you have to look at how neural configurations within the brain are starting to form, and ask those bigger questions like:

  • Why are we here?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • How do you differentiate yourself in a noisy universe?

We also spoke about Nikos’ video series Symbiosis, which is expertly produced:

The Future of Marketing from Nikos Acuna on Vimeo.

He explained that as technological trends are transforming our brains the way that we connect with one another, he wanted people not to fear technology but be more optimistic in the future in how technology is going to be fully embedded in our daily lives.

All previous shows of the series are available at as well as SoundcloudiTunesTuneInacast, Google Podcasts and Stitcher.

There is also a growing community on Facebook and Twitter, where you can get involved in the discussion.

Finally, if you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on iTunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!

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