Creativity works. It sells products, it drives growth and increases business value. And, interestingly, it also points towards categories that are in line for disruption.

If winning a Cannes Lions is the benchmark for creativity, the history of the retail category is instructive. The festival has been going since 1954 but it was fifty years before a retailer caught the attention of the judges: UK supermarket Tesco won a Lion in 2004. “Now the retail sector usually takes away two or three Grand Prixes every year,” according to Ascential Events CEO Phil Thomas.

And why might that be? “The time they started to win was the time that they were being disrupted, when Amazon was really starting to eat their lunch, when people were really starting to shop online,” he told the Creative Excellence and Effectiveness event (London, March 2019) organised by Cannes Lions, WARC and MediaLink. “They had to think of new ways to be relevant.”

Similarly, old media in the form of newspapers hadn’t won a Lion until The New York Times picked up a Grand Prix for a piece of VR work in 2016. Next in line is financial services, he suggested - as evidenced by ANZ’s 2016 GayTM campaign in Australia, the first time a bank won a Lion. “It’s interesting that the way to handle disruption in your market is to become considerably more creative.”