Unlocking new possibilities at Facebook Beach, Cannes

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Challenge

More than 15 thousand people head to the French Riviera each year for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – the largest gathering in creative marketing.

For the five-day festival, Facebook tasked us with building an experience that would unite their diverse platform offerings with an integrated design, helping them demonstrate the best of their family of apps and services, reinforce their commitment to community and creativity, and encourage visitors to explore how Facebook could unlock new possibilities for their campaigns.

Insight

Facebook leaned into their brand purpose and started with one single idea: bringing people together is what Facebook does better than any other brand.

Facebook Beach at Cannes needed to be a space that manifested this reality – by bringing people together through conversations, connections, and community. It needed to be an environment that welcomed and engaged diverse communities to discuss, and be inspired by, the creative conversations and experiences all made possible through Facebook: a platform that brings people together.

Idea

Facebook Beach – a series of state-of-the-art experiences designed for purposeful engagement in an open, inviting and inclusive space.

Experience

Filled with open-seating for networking and colorful gradients representative of Facebook’s apps and services, the space offered a dazzling series of experiences for visitors to explore. Each was crafted to appeal to the creatively-minded audience, ensuring that they spent time with Facebook despite the many other calls on their time.

The activation included elements from across Facebook’s platforms, including the Facebook Community Hub, arts and craft station, the agora amphitheater for talks and thought leadership, VR for Good, an aura portrait experience, and integration of Instagram’s “Where the Rainbow Ends” glass art installation.

The Agora

In ancient Greece, the Agora was a public open space used for assemblies and markets. We harnessed that idea to create the main stage at Facebook Beach. Daily programming included a variety of hot topics and presentation styles, including fireside chats, panel discussions and Q&A’s. The Content Studio was located immediately next to the Agora main stage and served as the backdrop for the main Agora screen. It was a hub of activity where content was created, edited and displayed – all in real time – by content curators.

Where the Rainbow Ends by Instagram

The first thing visitors saw as they entered the space, Where The Rainbow Ends was a color-LED light and photo experience, designed in collaboration with Amsterdam based artist Germans Ermičs. Housed in a custom-built, mirrored glass pavilion, this gorgeous installation was inspired by the ethereal nature of rainbows and reflects Instagram’s continued commitment to supporting diverse communities and culture on its platform.

Simple messaging gave further insight into the experience and established the link between this stunning initiative and the Glass Lion award. Reminiscent of modern museum gallery text, elements such as materials, lighting techniques and the fabrication process were detailed on the panel. Once inside, small groups could explore the space and take photographs of the gently evolving light experience.

Stories XPerience

Visitors were able to enjoy this interactive and mesmerizing Instagram Stories experience, made possible by a number of automated screens housing inspiring content. With the press of a button, multiple screens exploded into life and moved outwards, showcasing content from the next generation of cutting-edge content creators and illustrators that Instagram Stories is home to. The screens then glided back together, completing the experience and encouraging users to select another story. All controlled via an intuitive tablet interface, visitors were able to select from a vast array of different themes.

VR for Good

The VR for Good experience was the first activation visitors encountered when entering the restaurant area. The glow of floor-to-ceiling screens drew the eye toward a large cylinder. Within the cylinder, visitors were treated to a three-minute trailer highlighting the breadth and depth of the VR for Good story.

At the end of the trailer, brand ambassadors encouraged guests to put on headsets to view their favorite story in its entirety, with Oculus Go headsets available for visitors to use. Once attendees had finished with their headsets, brand ambassadors guided them to the Made for St. Jude installation, located on the outside of the cylinder. The first of 5 screens explained how this VR for Good program was devised to help fight childhood cancer, in support of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and involving the work of four creative agencies, whose concepts were showcased on the subsequent screens.

Facebook Community Hub

Every day at the Facebook Beach, visitors were invited to gain a deeper understanding of how communities such as AdColor, Working Not Working, Miami Ad School, and many more, function, operate, and build value, bringing people together around the topics, interests, passions and causes that drive change. Visitors were invited to learn more about topics, interests, passions and causes that bring us all together, through a series of compelling presentations. This space also hosted a workshop filled with a number of hands-on creative learning sessions about Blueprint and Messenger, which were open to everyone.

Impact:

Key results include:

  • Thousands of visitors over four days. A significant percentage increase in check-ins over the previous year. In particular, the brand directly reached more businesses and a larger global audience than in previous years.
  • The brand achieved a significant number of global press articles about its presence in national and trade media.
  • The space was more conducive to facilitating conversation and community than ever before (ancillary events mainly occurred all over Cannes than specifically at the Beach or Hotel spaces).
  • A fully integrated and cohesive brand design was woven into all activations in order to represent Facebook’s full family of apps and services.