Mindshare Unveils Biometric Data of Cannes Attendees Outfitted With Apple Watches for 3 Days

Lightwave program brings insights, promise for the future

Some 20 million data points were collected from 100 participants.

CANNES, France—The Cannes Lions festival needs to increase its engagement with delegates who are on their second and third visits. Agencies looking to recruit young people here should focus their efforts in the Palais, where such people are most energized. And companies looking to host (or attend) a great party should think about moving away from the Croisette—and don't even think about going to the yachts.

Those are some specific insights gleaned by MindShare and Lightwave this week purely from biometric data they gathered from festival attendees. Some 100 people participated in the program, wearing Apple Watches (linked to an iOS app) that measured things like heart rate, location and movement. Those people were asked a few simple questions at the start: whether they worked for an agency, brand or tech company; their age; and how many times they have been to Cannes Lions.

More than 20 million data points were gathered from the 100 people over three days. The data was then analyzed and presented at a Thursday session titled "The Pulse of Cannes," led by Jeff Malmad, the head of mobile and Life+ (the wearables unit) at Mindshare North America, and Rana June, CEO of Lightwave.

The program primarily measured three things: engagement, energy and emotional indicators. Engagement is when accelerometer activity is decreased but heart rate is increased, indicating that a person is physically still and focused, but excited. Energy is increased accelerometer and increased heart rate. Emotion is decreased accelerometer and fluctuation in heart rate.

Here are some findings of the experiment:
• Tech company people generally did not frequent the Carlton Hotel or the Gutter Bar
• Agency and brand people spent most of their engaged time at the Palais and in areas off the Croisette—most likely, meeting spaces.
• Participants as a whole did not make it out to the yachts on the jetty and spent most of their time at the Palais and at meetings around town.
• Participants age 18-28 were most energetic and engaged around the Palais, and were most excited along the main beach leading toward the Carlton Hotel and Gutter Bar.

These are some insights from the data:
• The age results showed a significant dip in engagement from attendees after the first year, though it picked back up again after three years. Thus, the festival might develop content to specifically engage second and third timers.
• Agencies and companies launching Young Lion recruiting initiatives should focus on the Palais, where young people were at their highest energy levels and we saw the highest engagement.
• The majority of activities moved off the Croisette and not to the yachts. The most engaged attendees overall were just off the main drag, likely in agency and partner meeting spaces.

Malmad and June presented the data together, suggesting this is just the beginning of a technology that has the power to revolutionize people's lives in a way as fundamental as electricity did—and of course, impact marketing along the way.

Malmad said biometrics creates what he termed "the algorithm of you," which will soon lead to better consumer and brand experiences. He gave examples of how biometrics could make things like driving, shopping and vacationing all easier, more rewarding and more relevant to one's physiology.

Addressing agencies directly, June said it's up to creatives to bring the promise of biometrics fully to life by dreaming up exciting applications for it, using tools like those from Lightwave and Mindshare.

"We create the current. You can be the Edisons and the Teslas of this new bioreactive world," she said. "We hope we are creating a kind of biometric Photoshop, and that this data becomes a new color to paint with."

And along the way, she added, it might just make for a better world.

"When you realize you're having a similar experience as someone else, it creates an empathy, a universality," June said. "Biometric data and these sensors can actually bring us closer to understanding each other.

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