Research Digest

This Year, Cannes Lions Was All About Branded Assets. Here’s How to Apply Them  to Your CTV Campaigns.


  • Branded assets matter. The highest performing creative shows brand assets on average +34% more often than low performing creative.

  • Campaigns that use distinctive brand assets perform +62% better than campaigns that don’t.

  • Behavioral psychology cues, like repeated exposure between stimuli and response, apply to brand assets and their audience — they’re not inherent and need to be learned over time.

This summer’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity once again sent marketers home with new themes, topics, and insights to unpack. One key highlight this year was the value of distinctive branded assets. Devika Bulchandani, Global CEO at Ogilvy and one of the jurors on this year’s panel, said, “The winning [brands] did the fundamentals of marketing in a brilliant manner. They used brand equity, and then used creativity to amplify that equity, which led to strong business results.” In this quick guide, we will take a closer look at branded assets specifically — why they matter, and what takeaways you can apply to your own Connected TV campaigns.

What Are Distinctive Branded Assets?

Logo, slogans, familiar jingles, mascots, even color combinations — taken together, all of these make up your brand’s identity. The goal for every advertiser is to drive a level of familiarity where the human brain associates these with your brand, but not to the level where they are overexposed to your brand.

However, the “System 1” school of thought designed by Nobel Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman,, as well as the general principles of behavioral psychology, both suggest that ad fatigue is only a short-term danger. Familiarity requires repeated exposure of a stimulus (branded assets) with a response (in this case, muscle memory when shopping) strengthens and reinforces the association over time, which eventually makes the response automatic. “Distinctive assets are not inherent; they need to be learned by consumers,” says Byron Sharp in his book How Brands Grow. “Until the links between distinctive elements and the brand are learned, [those elements] cannot function as a substitute of the brand.”

British FMCG brand Weetabix is an example of this. The brand reused its slogan “Have you had your Weetabix?” which led to £4.5m incremental revenue in 2017, return to growth in category, and sales exceeding £150m for the first time.

Additionally, the performance gains of branded assets are clear. Global research agency Ipsos revealed that the highest performing creative shows brand assets on average 34% more often than low performing creative, and campaigns that use distinctive brand assets perform 62% better than campaigns that don’t.

Crafting Connected TV Campaigns That Stay True to Your Branded Assets

This year’s Cannes winners proved that simplicity reigned, and that highlighting brand equity within branded assets were the foundations of a winning campaign. FMCG brand Heinz took home the gold with its Draw Ketchup campaign. The central idea? Asking consumers to “draw ketchup,” which brought to mind the iconic Heinz bottle for many. This then became the focal point of a global campaign.

Advertising channels like Connected TV make it easy to not only use these branded assets at scale but also measure their performance. For example, one Connected TV ad may house a combination of branded assets (at minimum, we recommend a prominent logo watermark and URL), but one creative best practice we suggest is to test between different branded elements in one campaign. For example, take creative A and creative B, where you keep one element constant between both ads, like a logo. On creative A, you might have an ad that plays up color schemes instead of showcasing the product. Then on creative B, you showcase your product/service and let it do the talking for you.

CTV creative solutions like MNTN’s Creative-as-a-Subscription™ make it easy to not only test between these different branded assets, but determine which element(s) and combinations are top drivers for you. Over time, the goal is to apply these learnings to your creative, which leads to better performance — and ultimately, a brand that consumers will remember.

Focus on the Foundations, Build Your Brand With Connected TV

This year’s Cannes Lions cemented the importance of branded assets. Behavioral studies show that honing in on these elements in your creative creates a strong association between your brand and consumer. Performance channels like Connected TV make it easier to identify which of these branded elements are working (or not) and hitting the mark with your audience. The end goal? Giving brands the ability to fine tune their brand further, drive performance at the same time, and ultimately build a legacy that will last for decades to come.

Subscribe to the MNTN Research Weekly

Sign up to receive a weekly feed of curated research, sent straight to your inbox.