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Cannes Lions

Wearable Tech Comes to Saatchi's New Directors Showcase at Cannes

Audience Reaction Gauged through Emotional Tech Platform XOX

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A Saatchi & Saatchi pulse-reading wristband at the New Directors Showcase.
A Saatchi & Saatchi pulse-reading wristband at the New Directors Showcase.

Saatchi & Saatchi handed audience members wearable tech to make them "Feel the Reel," literally, at its 24th Annual New Directors Showcase at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Thursday.

The show, as always, featured an eclectic mix of commercials, shorts, branded films and music videos from hot new directors. But Saatchi eschewed its typical splashy show-themed intro for an ongoing experience that translated audience data from more than 2,000 pulse-reading bracelets into an infographic-laden framework flanking the reel as it played on stage.

To get the audience's heart rate pumping, the show opened with Tatia Pilieva's viral hit " First Kiss" for fashion brand Wren, in which she threw together complete strangers and invited them to engage in deep lip locks. Among those who appeared in the film were Damian Kulash, lead singer of OK Go, who appeared at last year's showcase and just released his band's latest music video.

Other spots included The Sunday Times' "Icons" ad, directed by Us for Grey London, which merged iconic cultural scenes from Rodin's "The Thinker" to Don Draper in "Mad Men" in a single seamless in-camera shot, and Alvise Avati's gorgeously effected space monster spec spot "Beans."

Music videos in the show included Josh Cole's gritty depiction of kids in Manila slums for Rudimental's track "Not Giving In," which juxtaposed incredible breakdancing with street violence, Truman Cooper's angsty teen tale for Kid Wise's "Hope" and Ian & Cooper's dark family tale for Joel Compass' "Back to Me."

On the lighter side were The Sacred Egg's wild hair dance-off for Breach's "Jack," Emile Sornin's "gravitational" twist on office life for Disclosure's "Grab Her" and Vania Heymann's much-buzzed about music video for Bob Dylan's' "Like a Rolling Stone," which showed pop culture stars from both fictional and real shows, such as "The Price is Right" and "The Property Brothers," lip-syncing the classic tune. The interactive version of the film allowed users to "flip through" various TV channels to see the different versions of the video.

Mr. Heymann, an Israeli artist and director repped out of PrettyBird, also had a second entry in the showcase, the observant black and white short "Walking Contest," which illustrated the inner turmoil of a pedestrian mindful of changing his strolling pace so as not to walk side by side with another city dweller.

Other shorts continued the laughs, including Alberto Belli's hilarious "It's Not Porn" satire, Kyra & Constantin's bloated-animals animation "Rollin' Wild," and Tripp Crosby's "Conference Call in Real Life," which imagined the typical white collar phone routine if it happened in a real boardroom. On the more serious side were Ainslie Henderson's poignant "Moving On," a surprisingly touching depiction of life and loss through stop-motion animated yarn, Ed Morris' anti-bullying ad for Cybersmile and Simon Bonde & Peder's tragic father-son tale "Ghost of a Smile."

Effects-wise, Tarik Abedel-Gawad merged motion and graphics to create the magical "Box" short film, Donato Sansone twisted the idea of the photobooth to an extreme in "Grotesque Photobooth" and Kibwe Tavares delivered a gritty twist on a classic bible tale in "Jonah."

The experience was produced by Juliette Larthe at Prettybird and used a new "emotional technology platform" XOX, created from fashion tech company Studio XO, which directed the event alongside Marshmallow Laser Feast.

See links to all of this year's films below:

Tarik Abdel-Gawad Box

Alvise Avati Beans

Alberto Belli It's Not Porn

Simon Bonde & Peder Ghost of a Smile

Ian & Cooper Joel Compass 'Back To Me'

Josh Cole Rudimental 'Not Giving In'

Tripp Crosby Conference Call in Real Life

Ainslie Henderson Moving On

Vania Heymann Walking Contest & Bob Dylan 'Like A Rolling Stone'

Kyra & Constantin Rollin' Wild

Ed Morris Cybersmile #dontretaliate

Tatia Pilieva "First Kiss"

Donato Sansone GrotesquePhotobooth

Emile Sornin Disclosure 'Grab Her'

Kibwe Tavares Jonah

The Sacred Egg Breach 'Jack'

Truman & Cooper Kid Wise 'Hope'

Us The Sunday Times 'Icons' Academy Grey London

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to Wren Studio's viral video as "Kiss" by Tatiana Pilieva. It is "First Kiss," by Tatia Pilieva.

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