Cannes Lions Offers Best Practices For ‘Lo-Fi’ Content

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Marketers are having to produce more “lo-fi” content because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and new analysis of Cannes Lions entries has offered some invaluable best practices when pursuing this strategy.

Susie Walker, head of awards at Cannes Lions, discussed this subject during a session at the organisation’s Lions Live online event, which was held last week. (Cannes Lions is a sister company of WARC.)

Material can be described as “lo-fi” – shorthand for “low-fidelity” – if it embraces an “under-designed aesthetic that purposely rejects the stylised and consciously high-spec content that we’re used to seeing on big screens,” she said.

Walker also reported on the lo-fi best practices that emerged from analysis of 927 entries into the Film, Entertainment, Social & Influencer, Cyber, Brand Experience & Activation, and Promo & Activation competitions from 2017 to 2019.

Thirty “trends and tactics” that featured in these case studies – from brand building and platform strategies to their art direction, use of co-creation, and whether they deployed humour and/or nostalgia – were also considered.

Based on this information, Walker argued that “lo-fi work has forced us to reconsider what we think of as craftmanship”. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Cannes Lions analysis provides an insight into creating successful “lo-fi” content.)

Elaborating on this topic, she continued: “Success isn’t so much about production and technique … More important are idea, story, performance, character and casting.”

Moreover, as the lo-fi approach is often simpler to execute than traditional campaigns, these engagements can occur on a more frequent, and less formal, basis. “Small moments can have a meaningful impact,” Walker noted.

Nostalgia, she added, is a “natural fit” for lo-fi work, as the less-than-premium feel of this content can take consumers back to an age of blurry video tapes, blocky computer graphics, skipping CDs, and oversized cellphones.

This strategy can even reach younger audiences through what has been dubbed “fauxstalgia”, as people can experience a degree of yearning for a time when they were not even born.

A platform-specific approach can also be beneficial, as lo-fi content is an ideal fit for destinations like YouTube and TikTok, but might not be as well-received on the glossier digital pages of Instagram.

Walker’s advice in this area: “Lean in to the audience’s expectations of the platform you’re using to increase authenticity and resonance.”

Credit:  WARC

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