By Annie Smith

Senior Content Manager,

Cannes Lions

Data and Tech Augment Creativity

Nike’s Dream Crazy will be remembered for its powerful message of personal freedom over nationalism, for its courage in taking a stand on a divisive issue and for its effectiveness in commemorating the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It”.

Dream Crazy is not work that will be remembered for its creative application of data, but behind the scenes, this was one of the fundamental reasons for its success.

Nike knew that around 67% of its customer base was younger than 35, and that this was a group that was more ethnically diverse than the average customer base (Business Insider). They also knew that even though he wasn’t currently playing, American footballer Colin Kaepernick’s official shirt was one of Nike’s top sellers (the jersey was the 39th-best-selling jersey for 2017 - NBC Sports).

Kaepernick – internationally famous for kneeling during the National Anthem instead of standing, as is customary – was popular but polarising. He had the profile to be the right figurehead for a piece of work aimed at inspiring new generation athletes with the self-belief to break conventions in their sports.

The data helped Nike take a calculated risk with an idea. The creativity is what kept the message instinctively human and incredibly emotive.

“Data keeps us honest.”

Alicia Tillman

Global Chief Marketing Officer,


This story, and many others – where data has been an intrinsic vehicle for new creative ideas, and where technology has amplified those ideas – have informed this next theme for Cannes Lions 2020:

Applied Creativity: When Data, Tech and Ideas Collide

We want to delve into how technology and data can be fused into your creative work. At what point do you start (and stop) collecting and interpreting data to inform or create your ideas? How can technology be an enabler to amplify your message? How will it help consumers interact with what you are saying?

What is so exciting about this topic is the new skillsets, expertise, partnerships and collaborations that it stimulates across the industry. New data scientists, tech-building geniuses and innovative collaborators are infusing creative ideas with intelligent insights and creating playful manifestations.

In this report, we’ll examine how well-loved brands and businesses are using technology, data and new tools to develop effective creative work.

We’ve also enlisted global experts to tell us more about how data and tech will continue to propel imagination and creativity. They share explanations and predictions about today’s best practical applications and tomorrow’s potential endeavours.