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Cannes Lions spotlight: Colleen DeCourcy on the power of authentic, online connection

CCO of Snap Inc, Colleen DeCourcy, breaks down the brand’s new ad campaign, how Snapchat is different from traditional social media, and Snap’s presence at Cannes Lions 2024.

We all feel it. Social media fatigue. With the constant stream of perfect friends and endless content – social media hardly feels social anymore. So, the question stands: is it still possible to cultivate real connections through mobile apps? At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where the world’s most innovative minds gather to celebrate and explore the future of media and advertising, Colleen DeCourcy’s answer is a proud “yes”! Follow along as the CCO of Snap inc. breaks down Snapchat’s newest brand campaign, connection & Snap’s impactful presence at Cannes Lions 2024.

  1. Tell us how Snap’s newest campaign, ‘Less Likes. More Love,’ builds a discussion around online connection.

Well first, I’d like to zoom out a bit to build some context around the conception of the campaign, and why it was integral for us to build a better understanding of not only what Snapchat is, but how it is so fundamentally different from traditional social media. Snapchat was built during the dawn of social media, when people were starting to feel pressured to post just the perfect stuff. Snapchat was actually designed to offer people an alternative. Ephemerality, privacy and “real friends only” were early Snapchat tenets. And at the time people thought we were crazy.

The importance of online connection, or connection in general – and the lack-there-of in peoples’ lives, really came to light in the starkest of ways during the pandemic. Many have distanced themselves from real relationships as they’ve chased virality or followers. We really wanted to showcase that Snap has been one step ahead all along – we built a platform based on privacy and trust since day one. Perhaps more importantly, we created a space for people to truly be themselves. And all along we’ve been building for a future grounded in…reality!

When we launched Wave 1 of the campaign (“Less Social Media, More Snapchat”), we set out to demonstrate that Snapchat was designed from the start to be an alternative to social media. With Wave 2 (Less Likes. More Love), we want to show the world what Snapchat is. Because as we all know, the experience of getting a Snap (vs. a text or a social post), just hits different. Simply put, Snapchat is the best way to feel connected and have more love in your life. 

  1. “Less Likes. More Love,” features hilarious and striking visual effects. Tell us about some of the challenges of visualizing real connection.

The short answer: It wasn’t challenging at all. 

We had the opportunity to showcase the very heart of Snapchat. Our lives are more than the pretty and perfect moments. Like Snapchat, it’s about all the fun, silly, messy, boring, authentic moments. So that really made it easy; we could be real.

There was also a very palpable contrast between the imagery you see and share on Snapchat vs. the imagery available on other platforms. We dove into that in our first wave of the campaign. The Less/More campaign showcased real videos – content from the internet – and that’s likely what made it so compelling. We were able to clearly illustrate the juxtaposition between what we see and scroll through on traditional social media platforms, vs. what we create and experience on Snapchat.

In this second wave, we wanted to replicate the feeling of getting a Snap, a surprise message, a funny note, a hilarious Lens or filter, and utilize the real but fun, whacky, nonsensical images you’d received from friends and family on Snapchat. With our newest spot, we are showing more of what Snapchat is: a place people come to spread love and feel loved.

Less Likes_PressWithTag

  1. More broadly, what role does creative thinking play in allowing Snap to foster deep connections between users?

Snapchat is a creative platform at its core, and that has been evident in how our community of more than 800 million monthly active users use the app. Snapchat was designed to open to the camera, instead of a content feed, to encourage creativity instead of passive consumption. Additionally, the experience of getting a Snap or watching a friend’s Story is different from other online interactions. Social posts and videos are there to be seen by anyone. However, a Snap is meant for you to create, and it’s meant specifically for the people you choose to send it to: your friends, your family, your loved ones.

I can use a personal example: my mother. I live in New York, and she lived in Toronto. She and I had been having the same conversations for almost 60 years. The connection by phone was a bit strained. Our lives happened in different beats, in different places. Sometimes we ran out of things to talk about. You want to check in, but there’s nothing new since yesterday! But you pull up Snapchat, and bring a funny AR Lens into the conversation, it’s suddenly fresh and fun again. My mom recently passed, and I treasure when those memories of our Snaps pop up.

Snaps make you laugh, make you feel closer, make you want to share real moments. People are less focused on the vanity metrics, and more focused on creating messages and memories in fun and creative ways. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why Snapchat is the most fun, creative and effective, feel-good way to communicate.

  1. AI has disrupted the industry in a big way. How does Snap envision AI’s role in fostering real connection?

AI has been a huge part of what we do for years – it’s built into our Lens technology. Simply put, AI can improve the way we communicate. It can make things faster, more efficient, more realistic, more utilitarian.

Messaging and communication is a core daily behavior on Snapchat, whether people are chatting or Snapping, and conversational AI fits seamlessly into our platform. At our 2023 Snap Partner Summit, we announced the rollout of our AI-powered chatbot, My AI. My AI is an incredible tool for creativity, and we are so excited about how our community has been using it to learn more about the world through conversation — talking to My AI about movies, sports, video games, or even what to wear to prom.

We’ve since rolled out even more ways our community can chat with My AI, integrating Snapchat features directly into the experience. My AI can now suggest relevant AR Lenses within conversations, recommend specific Places from the Snap Map and, for Snapchat+ subscribers, respond to Snaps you send it with unique generative Snaps to keep the visual conversation going.

We are continuing to test the ways that conversational AI within Snapchat can lead to more engaging experiences for our community.

  1. Can you tell me a bit about how Snap is showing up at Cannes this year?

We opened up the week in style (as we do) with our Snapchat opening night event to welcome our guests at Bijou Plage. We’ll also be taking part in panel discussions throughout the week on the topics of music, sports and creators.

I’m especially excited about our partnership with Axios and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment, where we’ll be taking over the Women’s Sports House with our “Recess” sports activation during the week. I will be speaking at the ‘View from the Top with Snap Inc.’ alongside #HalfTheStory founder Larissa May on digital wellbeing and how platforms like Snapchat are bridging the online and in real life gap for our community through passion points like sports and music.

Photo : Stephane Sby Balmy

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