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The 2013 Cannes Lion festival celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. It wrapped last Saturday after almost of week of recognition for, and inspiration from, some of the world's most creative thought leaders and brands in the communications industry.

So what's trending this year? Technology. It not only powered many of the winning ideas, it inspired the festival to introduce an Innovation category for the first time. The Innovation Lions were designed to reward and acknowledge technologies such as platforms, apps, tools, programs, hardware, and other products that enabled communication with consumers in ways never before possible.

In some cases, brands created their own apps, and in others they leveraged existing technologies to bring their ideas to life. Inspired by the Cannes Lions, here is my top three list of brands using new technologies to drive earned and social media coverage this year:

Laser beam football

Nike recently partnered with Doubleyou and launched a campaign in Spain called #MiPista. Recognizing how difficult it can be to find somewhere in Madrid to kick a ball around, Nike decided to give consumers what they were looking for. Using an app or the company website, soccer players could request a visit from Nike's laser-equipped van. With a specialized crane, the van projected a digital soccer field onto an urban landscape.

This stunt was an effective way to get consumers to try Nike gear by giving them a place to use it. It also created a buzz in the communities where the games were happening, driving both social and traditional coverage. It was fresh and new, and as the pickup games started in non-traditional locations, crowds of people watched and shared their photos and videos.

Jay-Z fans go on a scavenger hunt

How do you co-ordinate a scavenger hunt for millions of fans across New York City? Jay-Z turned to Twitter and Instagram. In the days leading up to his July 4 Magna Carta Holy Grail album release, an anonymous member of his team used the platforms to send thousands of fans on a hunt for 100 binders hidden throughout Brooklyn. The binders contained the titles to all of MCHG's tracks, which had not been previously released.

The results were impressive. In record-breaking time #MagnaCarta was trending worldwide and the stunt earned global coverage in numerous traditional media outlets.

Corona borrows the moon

Corona Extra – the beer famously enjoyed with a lime wedge – worked with top universities and planetariums to design a billboard that used the moon as the lime wedge in the top of the bottle. By utilizing the technical know-how of the participating scientists, Corona calculated exactly when the moon would appear behind the billboard and complete the brand's iconic "lime wedge in the bottle" image.

Dubbed "Luna Corona," this simple but brilliant stunt drew attention from media and marketing personalities and proved that technology is enabling the PR industry to be more creative and innovative than ever.

Today, creativity and technology go hand in hand. If you can dream it up, odds are the technology exists to help you see it through. The most admired brands are using innovative technology to bring their ideas to life, enabling extremely powerful and memorable consumer engagement. There are no limits.

Push your thinking and chances are there will be a way to make it happen.

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

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