Cannes X TikTok: What motivates the new partnership?

The sometimes surprising partnerships between media and consumer brands have been big news in recent years. For The Drum’s deep analysis of digital advertisingSamantha Kamiel, Senior Digital Strategist at Momentum Worldwide, discusses the industry’s next big collaboration: TikTok x Cannes.

Crisp red carpets, the best dressed in Hollywood, and a Riviera beach sunset. Every year, Cannes sets the stage for film debuts.

In 2018, the French association banned red carpet selfies, removing candid connections between stars and viewers. But with a new partnership in 2022, TikTok will bring back behind-the-scenes access to Cannes.

With 1.1 billion users worldwide and eight new users joining every secondTo say that TikTok is growing rapidly would be an understatement. Positioning itself as aentertainment that connectsplatform, TikTok has become the fastest growing social media network in history. The TikTok x Cannes Film Festival partnership is a better match than Benifer 2.0.

TikTok’s algorithm, which focuses on content of interest first (v followers), provides global reach for the European festival. And for TikTok, Cannes’ storied reputation in the film industry allows TikTok to showcase the creators built on the platform while talking about culture-making moments.

Along with the partnership, TikTok will perpetuate its reputation for supporting emerging creators with the launch of #ShortTikTok, a global competition to inspire creativity and support emerging talent that has already reached 1.4 billion views. These associations keep users on the platform by connecting them with culturally relevant moments and ultimately generate interest within niche internet communities.

Exclusive expansions

“Exclusive media rights are nothing new,” says my colleague Jared Wall, director of sponsorship consulting at Momentum Worldwide. “We are seeing very close 10-figure battles for media rights for properties like the English Premier League. However, we are not used to seeing social immersion in this space. With social media, the next generation of these battles is the fight for content that drives consumer retention and loyalty.”

What’s exciting here is the expansion of exclusivity into the social space. It’s not just Pepsi bringing you the Super Bowl halftime show; becoming an exclusive social partner means innovative content. An all-access pass to unscripted moments provides a VIP experience that can be shared live with millions of active users. To sweeten the deal, exclusive rights (without the interference of competition) allow TikTok to portray itself as a cultural trendsetter.

We’re seeing a trend as other social platforms seek partnerships for exclusive joint experiences. On March 29, 2022, sports and fitness tracking app Strava announced an official multi-year Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes deal with Zwift. This brought the largest sports community in the most iconic cycling events in the world. As part of the collaboration, Strava is creating a content hub dedicated to telling the story of athletes through uploads and photos of their daily activity.

social access

Why are platforms so interested in providing exclusive access to their users? For social platforms, your end users are the most important point of contact. 65% of TikTok users only see other people’s content (Globalwebindex, 2019). Without an audience, there would be no need for creators, content, or ads (the ones that make money). If they stay on the platform, users expect one thing: access to content that can’t be found anywhere else.

These associations play on that expectation. Social networks are not filtered and are published in real time. Although paparazzi can get photos of the best dressed, they don’t get the instantaneous interaction capable of creating memes where Lady Gaga tells Caitlyn Jenner she changed barista (which received 1.8 million views in 48 hours). Anyone with a phone can become a creator, so a 10-second video could become the latest viral internet sensation with the push of a button. Consumers no longer satiate with online coverage or reading about an event the next day. They want to be a part of it.

“Our creator-consumer audiences are not satisfied with just consuming content,” says another colleague of mine, Linda Xiao, director of digital experience design strategy. “By turning their own comments into content, they can create resonance and allow the moment to endure. And you always want this interactivity and immersion to happen at all levels of distribution so that your brand becomes an enabler of social buzz, not just the megaphone.”

Through this partnership, TikTok is making a move to emphasize its platform and positioning (lightweight video aesthetics) to show behind-the-scenes and real moments at events. Exclusive partnerships combined with the right technology deliver what audiences want: unfiltered event experiences that users feel like they are a part of.

Being the go-to platform for engaging in major cultural moments means increasing the time spent on the platform, and uniquely, the platforms ensure those conversations start on the app. So if you didn’t make the Cannes guest list this year, TikTok has you covered.

Read more of The Drum’s latest Deep Dive on our digital advertising center.

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