Creativity, Innovation & Inspiration from Cannes

“There’s never been a more important time to be aspirational; to tell a story and tell it from the heart, so if we can unite brands with that purpose and come behind them, I think we could change the world, and save people’s lives.” ~Sir Ian McKellen

For a week each June, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity brings together creatives, technologists, advertising executives and brands from around the world to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France to celebrate creativity and inspire innovation. Initially started as a smaller, more intimate awards ceremony to recognise advertising films in the 1950s, the festival has evolved into a global festival attracting today’s leading creative, political and tech leaders such as IMF’s Christine Lagarde, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and photographer Mario Testino.

This year, our team was invited to present our Ada personal health companion app on the Cannes Lions Innovation stage with our brand partner KBS Albion and was honored to be awarded a Silver Lion in Innovation at this year’s festival. Launched three years ago, the Cannes Lions Innovation event was created as a forum to explore the growing convergence between, data, technology and creativity and recognise ground-breaking tech. There were a diverse range of entries in this category ranging from cause-led innovation projects like Los Santos Pride to more technical applications like Google’s VR Tiltbrush.

The diversity of Lions nominees and Festival Talks highlighted the fundamental shift in attitudes of the Festival toward how we define and approach creativity, collaboration and the important role brands can play in shaping political discourse, cultural trends and people’s daily lives. And whether you love this festival or hate it, as a first-time attendee our team was inspired by the themes of consumer empowerment and social innovation.

We sat down with our Head of Marketing, Marvin Rottenberg, to get his perspective on the key themes he took from Cannes and what he sees for Ada in the future.

Interview with Marvin Rottenberg, Head of Marketing at Ada Health

What were your key takeaways from Cannes?

This was my first year attending the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, but I’ve always tried to follow what new trends emerge from Cannes each year. And while this year there’s been a lot of talk about whether Cannes has gotten too big, expensive or dominated by large tech companies, I was inspired by a lot of the submissions and talks I saw at the festival. To me, regardless of whether you work for an agency, a big brand, are an entrepreneur or in the arts, there were some important key themes to take away from the festival that shouldn’t be lost.

  • Harnessing creativity to make a real impact: The most successful and innovative brands and initiatives are those where impact is built into their DNA and are driving creative solutions to tackle important global issues. For instance, two entries that really stood out to me were the Fearless Girl and Amnesty International’s Refugee Nation campaigns. Both really went beyond advertising campaigns and aimed to take hard stands on two very timely and important global issues.
  • Collaboration & Empowerment: In times of uncertainty, division and rapid innovation, it is now more critical than ever for entrepreneurs, brands and creatives to leverage their skills to unite, inspire and empower. Brand engagement is so much more than just marketing a product, telling a good story or driving business results, it’s about building meaningful relationships that will last.
  • Commitment: Innovation often requires risk, so even if you hit a bump in the road, it’s important to embrace it, learn from failure and keep pushing yourself and your brand to do more because users and consumers expect to be at the center of innovation.

What do you think about Ada resonated with the Cannes judges?

In the marketing world, winning a Cannes Lions is one of the highest honours you can receive, but the Innovation category is really special. It’s a fairly new category, not just recognising innovative campaigns, but brands that are truly innovating. I think what resonated with the judges is the reason why I joined Ada and the reason why our team continues to do what we do every day — helping people with their health is embedded into every aspect of our DNA — from our technology, our product, our brand, everything.

From a marketing perspective, what do you enjoy most about working at Ada and what’s next?

Before joining Ada, I was at Google, focusing on digital growth strategies for some really well-known, global brands. And while some of what I’m doing at Ada is to raise awareness for our personal health companion app and grow Ada’s community of users, I’ve been able to contribute to our company’s growth from the ground up, and the results are more than just numbers, they’re far more rewarding. I am able to connect people with a tool that gives them help within seconds — all around the world, at any time and for free.

Every day, we receive thousands of reviews from people whose life has been positively impacted, sometimes even saved, by Ada. It’s exciting to be building a brand that is enabling more people around the world to have access to credible health information and personalised care.

Since launching, we’ve already had well over a million assessments performed on Ada. In the near future, we’ll be rolling out some new features that will enable us to help even more people, and we’re starting to engage Ada’s community of users with new content, resources and community groups around important health issues, and in their own native languages. Our goal is to not just drive brand awareness of how Ada can help people with their health, but reach people before they are actually in need. We want to be the most personalised, trusted place that everyone in the world can turn to when they have health questions or concerns, at every phase in their health journey. There’s a lot more to come and we’re really just getting started.