News & Insights

What went down at Spotify Beach in Cannes

Cannes is back, baby. This past week, Spotify returned to The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity to celebrate the only way we know how: with evening concerts, daytime panels, and star-studded nights that rocked the Croisette. Together with thousands of our closest friends, we had a front-row seat, so now we’re bringing all the intel to you - in written and audio form (obviously).

If you want to hear about the trends that took center stage (or if your boss is asking you to put together a Cannes recap), then read on or listen below. And not to play favorites, but there are some added gems in our audio recap for all you listeners out there...

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Listen to Jenny Hoffman and Emma Hopkins, creative leads on Spotify's Creative Studio, as they recap this year's Cannes Lions top trends.

Cannes sounded better than ever

At almost 1000 entries, the '22 Cannes Lions saw more action in the Radio + Audio categories than ever before. At Spotify, that’s music to our ears - and apparently also for Lions jury members.

The Grand Prix Winner in Radio + Audio was Vice World News and Dentsu Webchutney, Bengaluru and Mumbai, for their Unfiltered History Tour of the British Museum. Gold Lion winners in Radio + Audio also included: Savanna Cider’s Jab Jab by Grey South Africa and Dell for I will always be me by VMLY&R New York.

Here at Spotify Advertising, we were proud to take home our own Gold Lion (our first!) for our much-celebrated B2B campaign “A Song for Every CMO”, created with our partners at FCB New York. If you need us we’re still celebrating…

Reacting to the number of audio entries, Lions jury president Mariana O'Kelly of Ogilvy US remarked that the sheer variety of audio content proved the ‘limitless potential’ of what has always been a fairly traditional category. ‘We saw audio being used in NFTs, we saw branded radio stations inside games, we saw it inside WhatsApp, on product… So audio is definitely not a traditional channel anymore. It is pervasive and organic in its use.’

This celebration of audio continued at Spotify Beach as we put a spotlight on "Batman Unburied", the Spotify Original podcast. Chief Content & Advertising Business Officer at Spotify, Dawn Ostroff, hosted a discussion including Winston Duke, the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne, Hasan Minhaj, voice of The Riddler, and Peter Girardi, Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming for Warner Brothers Animation. The foursome explored why audio was the perfect platform to tell this iconic story. If you’ve already made your way through season 1, fear not: season 2 is on its way, faster than the Batmobile to a crime scene.

Craving more of the actual Spotify Beach experience? Listen to an audio postcard from the team who made it all happen (on very little sleep) on Spotify's For the Record podcast.

Representation: Outside Voice IRL

Representation in the industry was a through-line for many discussions down the Croisette and on the Spotify Beach. To amplify historically marginalized voices, we brought one of our audio-first programs to life IRL. Our Outside Voice panel featured journalist and host of the Spotify Original podcast "Jemele Hill is Unbothered" Jemele Hill, and voice actor and Society of Voice Actors Co-founder Joan Baker. The discussion, called "Representation Behind the Mic", explored how to uplift voices from historically marginalized communities, and how Hill and Baker as women of color create opportunities for others. Season 3 of Outside Voice is now available on Spotify, along with previous seasons featuring 21 impactful curators who use their platforms to create meaningful change.

Moderated by Spotify’s Global Head of Marketing Taj Alavi, the women discussed the importance of diversity and ongoing efforts to bolster inclusivity. Hill shared, “I think outside voices are driving culture. I think when you think of the history of this country, culture has always been driven by marginalized communities.” And Joan Baker reminded listeners that representation doesn’t mean one-size-fits-all: “There are all kinds of voices of color; not everyone has to sound stereotypical to be a Black voice.”

During the Batman Unburied panel on Wednesday, Winston Duke shared his own experience of taking on the role of a typically white character and reclaiming it as his own. Duke reflected,“It’s always been joked that Bruce Wayne’s superpower has been white privilege, and I had to go through this period of really imagining and setting myself free to find a way in. This man who completely distrusts the justice system so much that he decides to take it into his own hands—this feels a lot more than the diasporic Black experience that I knew."

The next generation

If you follow Spotify Advertising, then it should be no surprise that we're pretty taken with Gen Z. In fact, every year we set out to hear from Zs themselves and publish what we learn in Culture Next, our annual global trend report.

Spotify’s Global Head of Public Affairs Dustee Jenkins moderated the panel “Who is Gen Z Really?” with Teenager Therapy podcast co-hosts Kayla Suarez and Thomas Pham, and JUV Consulting Founder and CEO Ziad Ahmed. They unpacked findings from the 2022 Culture Next report and focused on how Gen Z is listening and creating on Spotify as they navigate early adulthood. They also shared what this means for brands that are trying to reach them.

Suarez shared, “With Gen Z, we want brands to be authentic and honest about their values and their fallbacks too. Gen Z can see if they’re trying too hard or being fake. And that doesn’t mean perfect. We aren’t perfect either, but you have to tell the truth. It goes a long way with building a foundation of trust and honesty.”

Ahmed reflected, “Mental health being top genre for Gen Z—it doesn’t blow my mind. It is surprising to me to meet a Gen Zer who self-identifies as happy. Especially coming out of the pandemic. Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? A lot of people came out of this with really mixed conclusions, and we had nowhere to turn for the next step . . . platforms like Spotify help us feel heard, seen, and inspired.”

That's a wrap

We hope you enjoyed reading (or listening) to our 2022 Cannes Lions recap. If you want to make something creative with us (and maybe be featured in next year's recap), get in touch using the form below. Or you can explore how to create ads using our self-serve ads manager. Until next year...

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