Revolutionising marketing with generative AI: Power hour at Cannes Lions 2024

Experts shed light on exciting opportunities with the integration of GenAI in marketing and urge faster AI adoption by setting examples through personalisation and content creation

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Cannes: At Cannes Lions 2024, a "Power Hour" session titled "AI: The Multifaceted Impact on Creative Industries" showcased how AI is not only reshaping creative practices but also transforming marketing strategies and media landscapes.

Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at L'Oreal, took centre stage to unveil L'Oréal's pioneering use of generative AI to augment marketing strategies. Drawing on L'Oreal's 115-year legacy of innovation, Dubey emphasised the company's commitment to staying ahead of the curve. "We are a 115-year-old company," she said, "but our sense of purpose is to create the beauty that moves the world. It is in our DNA to innovate and to seize what is starting. We are continuously reinventing beauty experiences to shape the future of beauty."

L'Oréal's innovation strategy hinges on three pillars: science, technology, and creativity. Dubey highlighted generative AI as a new frontier where these elements converge: "We are excited because, with generative AI, we are at a new frontier of technology where creativity and technology are coming closer together like never before."

The company has established a dedicated "CreaTech" lab, a safe space for experimentation. Here, generative AI sparks collaboration between copywriters, 3D artists, and marketers. Dubey explained, "The best outputs are a combination of human creativity and GenAI tools." CreaTech focuses on building brand-specific AI models trained on massive datasets. This ensures that the generated content aligns perfectly with the brand's visual identity. "We can scale production of our product shots because Gen AI multiplies our capacity to create a high volume of content at high speed," said Dubey.

As the discussion unfolded, experts from across industries further weighed in on the broader implications of AI. Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President, AI at Work, Microsoft, echoed Dubey's enthusiasm, highlighting AI as a tool to empower creators.

Spataro stated, "AI is a brand new and exciting tool to broaden the creative aperture, giving you more time, more space, and more capabilities to bring your stories to life in truly compelling ways."

However, Guy Marks, CEO of PHD Worldwide, cautioned against slow adoption. He emphasised the need for actionable insights and practical guidance. Marks proposed a three-stage framework: experimentation, acceleration, and elevation. He stressed the importance of educating and re-skilling workforces alongside technology adoption. "The next era will be that of AI elevation," said Marks. "And to be able to prepare for that, you've got to go through the stages of that pyramid to educate your organisation and re-profile that talent."

Wesley ter Haar, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Content at MediaMonks, urged the advertising industry to embrace AI for faster content creation. Lamenting the slow pace of innovation, Haar highlighted the potential of AI to bridge the gap between insights and activation. He pointed out, "AI makes digital a lot more human. It helps us to start delivering on the original promise of digital: personalisation at a massive scale, close to real-time, high in context, and sequential." Haar provided the example of a "voice of the customer,"  a digital proxy created with AI that allows marketers to have real-time conversations with their target audience. 

This streamlines the process of gathering insights and informing content creation, enabling the creation of 10 times more content compared to traditional methods. From L'Oréal's pioneering use of generative AI for content creation and brand alignment to broader discussions on navigating AI adoption and harnessing its potential for faster, more personalised marketing strategies, the session painted a compelling picture of the transformative power of AI in the beauty industry.

AI L'Oréal Generative AI Microsoft Cannes Lions 2024 Marketing advertising branding