The 8 post-digital cases that won Cannes 2019

by Lucas Mello
Jul 12th, 2019 » 8 (Creativity)

In the Post-Digital Age technology evolves at high speed, relentlessly, unpredictably and in natural symbiosis with human life. Symbolically, this movement began the moment more than half of the global population were connected to the Internet, in the historic year of 2018. Today, more than 56% of the world’s population has access to the web and, in 10 years, this number could reach 90% — a rate similar to the current reach of electricity. 

From now on, our integration with technology will develop exponentially and have an ever-increasing impact on our way of life. It’s time to collectively establish a healthier relationship with it and to intensify our connection to everything that truly differentiates us from machines.

We’ll need to deal with its diverse side effects, such as fake news, intolerance, personality disorders, screen addiction, the growing levels of youth depression and the superficiality of relationships. 

In a world increasingly dominated by ‘artificial intelligence’, creativity will be the last frontier between man and machine. It is the one true ability that differentiates us from everything artificial and it has the power to write the new narrative that we want for our future. 

Creativity means imagining possible futures, which have collective value and are radically unpredictable. 

In business, progressively more digital, brands will be the human interface connecting companies and people. For Generation Z, brands that can’t demonstrate authenticity, clear values and a visible position regarding modern society’s dilemmas will simply disappear in the next decade. And I bet there’ll be lots of them.

Creating for the post-digital word is creating with a focus on maximising human potential. With this in mind, I’ve selected 8 winning ideas from Cannes 2019, which contribute positively in shaping the future.

1) The truth is worth it (The New York Times)

One of the most serious side effects of the Digital Age is what we call post-truth syndrome. Known by many as ‘fake news’, this means false information created and distributed mainly through social media. This ‘news’ has become our time’s main tool of mass manipulation and has the power to interfere in democratic processes around the world.

‘The Truth is Worth it’ campaign, created for The New York Times, translates beautifully and precisely the importance of freedom of the press, investigative journalism and reliable sources in the Post-Digital Age.

2) Dream Crazy (Nike)

The Digital Age increased the social pressure for companies. Worried about displeasing consumers, most current brands abandoned stating their politics, becoming neutral in the tireless quest to avoid risks to their reputation. In the Post-Digital world, most of these brands will become irrelevant until they disappear completely.

To celebrate 30 years of ‘Just do it’, Nike showed that the courage to take a stance is great for business. A word of advice for brands: believe in something, even if this risks everything.  

3) Google Creatability (Google)

Believing in the power of technology as a tool to expand human creativity is the key principle of post-digital thought. Building more accessible ways to connect humans and machines is one of the most effective ways to amplify our collective capacity. 

‘Google Creatability’ is a series of experiments exploring how creative tools can become accessible to all, using the web and artificial intelligence as allies. 

4) 5B (Johnson & Johnson)

Studies about the post-digital world speculate about the impact that technology will have in our lives from now on. At the same time that experts say artificial intelligence will replace around 800 million jobs until 2030, there’s the almost unanimous belief that professionals such as nurses, caregivers and psychotherapists will retain their fundamental place in society.

In this respect, the documentary ‘5B’, commissioned by Johnson & Johnsnon, has never been more relevant. It tells the story of the early days of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and how health workers were real warriors in the arts of care, love and empathy. 

5) Changing de The Game (Microsoft)

The games industry is growing at a fast pace and is already valued at 130 billion dollars. Gaming is an entertainment form, but also a socialization tool for millions of people around the world. In the Post-Digital Age, games will increasingly take the place of social media.

The ‘Change The Game’ project, developed by Microsoft, created new controls so people with special needs can play, compete on an equal level and, mainly, socialize with others. This strengthens their self-esteem and promotes inclusion through the use of technology in an effective way. 

6) An Open Mind is the best look (Nordstrom)

This is only a film created for the retail chain Nordstrom, but could also be considered a post-digital manifest. Broadcast during the Oscars’ commercial break, at a time when everyone is commenting on (and coveting) the red carpet looks of celebrities, the film brings human connections to the forefront. A simple and deep approach that values the simplest of abilities, encouraging being present and trying to soothe the anxiety that the fashion industry can create in people.  

7) Step out of your head (Bianco footwear)

In the age of screens and apps, one of the side effects of our time is the loss of proficiency in eye-to-eye interactions. The Digital Age has left us less brave and articulate when we’re not behind our screens. This film for the footwear brand Bianco captures this concept and stimulates courage in social interactions.  

8) Blink. And they are gone

In the artificial intelligence world, remembering ancestral and indigenous intelligence connects the past to the future. Nothing is more post-digital than this connection between times and spaces that seem distant. The celebration of traditions will be one of society’s greatest assets to tackle the complex problems of modern life, especially in environmental issues. The video series 'Blink. And They are gone', by protographer Jimmy Nelson, shows how indigenous tribes’ lives are at the same time rich and fragile.