Creative Opinions: Unpacking the “Cannes of Worms” at Cannes Lions 2018

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Cannes Lions 2018 was a more reserved affair than perhaps we were used to, but it was no less inspiring. Indeed, many found the atmosphere this year to be a little more relaxed and a little more open. Whether this was by happenstance or design, it resulted in a festival that shaved away a lot of the unnecessary pomp and circumstance and focused on exactly what we are all about here at Creativepool; the work.

To reflect on what we learned from the festival this year, and what it has still to teach us, I reached out to those that attended this year. Their thoughts are as eclectic (and often incendiary) as the various pieces of work that were celebrated and rewarded this year, but they all seem to agree that this year was very much a year of change for the festival. A transitionary year, if you will. It's also a year that, for me, revealed two pervasive themes; how creativity and technology are becoming inexorably linked, and a genuine drive for change, both societal and within the industry.

So, if you didn't manage to make it to Cannes this year and want to digest some of the major takeaways from it, or simply wish to examine what your peers thought of the big changes and the big winners this year, read on. Also, remember to keep checking back over the course of the next week as we add more comments from more creative thought leaders and influencers.


Jose Papa, Managing Director of Cannes Lions


For us, the definition of success is creativity being recognised as one of the single most effective paths for the development of our industry and thus the world. This edition focused on what matters the most. Great work and inspiration. Connections that last a lifetime. Learnings that stretch our minds and trigger new cycles of ideas and relationships. Through our digital pass and the launch of “the work” we have expanded further our purpose. Our motto that “creativity matters to drive business, change and good” has never been so accurate.


Maria Giacobbe, Commercial Director at Conversant


Cannes Lions is always a jam-packed event, but this year, it’s clear there’s been one topic at the forefront of everyone’s minds – AI and data. AI is so much more than just a bunch of algorithms. This is what is going to help transform the industry, aiding not inhibiting creativity, and it’s AI that could hold the key to revolutionising that all-important customer experience. That’s why Diageo’s session ‘Story Tellers or Data Lovers’ and “Who wants to be Human?” drew the biggest crowds, demonstrating just exactly what AI can help marketers and advertisers do. After all, that’s what this kind of event should be about, showing and sharing insights and ideas to stop stagnation and keep the industry moving forward.

For that reason, Cannes Lions does still have it place and role to play. If it stops being a catalyst for development and change, that’s when it may be time to set sights elsewhere.


James Street, co-founder of Whalar


Cannes, like the advertising industry itself, has to embrace technology that enables creativity. Whalar combines technology, creativity and diversity and were allowed to create the first Influencer Marketing Gallery at Cannes in a prominent position in front of the Palais. It was also the first year there was an Influencer Marketing category in the Awards. Influencer Marketing is just one aspect of combining technology and creativity that Cannes is embracing but it seems they are certainly open to change which bodes well for the event as a whole.


Aaron Brooks, Co-founder and CEO of Vamp


This year's Cannes Lions Festival saw a shakeup for the first time, with a new social and influencer category added into the mix, putting creative contact back into the heart of the event. But the scepticism that surrounds influencers is nothing new, and as co-founder of an influencer marketing platform, I see it every day. Influencer marketing is cost-effective, and since it works best as part of the marketing mix, it definitely deserves a place in the awards schedule and to be included in the biggest international festival for creativity.


Alex Marsh, Associate Director at Ketchum London/comms lead for Grand Prix winning campaign #bloodnormal


I learned two key things at Cannes this year, number one being the power of an integrated team. The success of #bloodnormal at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is proof that integrated communications is the future. We can no longer operate in silos if we want to create well-rounded, impactful campaigns that resonate with multiple audiences. We were lucky enough to partner with our sister Omnicom agency AMV BBDO, which meant we could seamlessly collaborate on different elements of the campaign and ensure a consistent communications message was conveyed across all brand touchpoints. For us, nurturing a strong interagency relationship turned out to be absolutely key; to work as one team, face challenges together and show the client that we are coming at the brief and challenging it as one fully integrated team resulted in the trust and confidence from the client that enabled us to execute this campaign the way we did.

The second thing I learned was the need to communicate fearlessly. Don’t be afraid to do work that provokes. Pushing boundaries isn’t always comfortable, and it’s important than when you start to feel this way, you don’t shy away from the subject. Instead, delve a little deeper, share your thoughts with colleagues – because you may well be on to something. It certainly made us feel uneasy speaking about periods openly in the office and asking our male colleagues their opinion on showing period blood. But we knew we were scratching the surface of a very important topic – and if we shied away from the crux of the subject, we would never have communicated it so coherently and diligently.


Ruth Yearley, Director of Insight & Strategy at Ketchum London


There was no huge overall winner at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018, no campaign that dominated all the categories as we have seen in past years. In general, the work has become more niche and targeted and speaks more closely to its audience. Data has allowed us to do this. Marketing has always loved a typology and has always looked for a universal truth that unites people.

As it becomes increasingly hard to find something to unite people, something that everyone relates to; the tech allows us to do the opposite. Go specific, targeted, segmented and intimate. This was really well exemplified with Nike's 'Nothing Beats a Londoner Campaign' – where the brand was able to speak to Londoners directly, in a way that made every one of us in the capital feel we were understood. So don’t go wide and shallow. Go narrow and deep.


Luke Judge, CEO of NMPi


Cannes Lions Festival is where creativity meets technology, meets agency, meets publishers. This year’s event saw the who's who of the advertising space come together for a week of fascinating, informative, exciting and occasionally sobering discussions about the present and future prospects for the advertising industry. The event offered up a host of brilliant talks by the industry’s finest brands, tech companies and agencies amongst others and was a great space to connect with people who know their thing in advertising, all whilst in flip-flops!


Lauren Winter, Head of Brand & Consumer Marketing at FleishmanHillard


If last year was the year of AI then Cannes this year was the year of NI (Not Interested). As I paced between panels and talks it became very clear that we’ve all out talked each other. Marketing speak to marketing people means very little in the eye of the Croisette storm and faced with ones peers, advice on how to get your views up on a piece of ‘content’ really didn’t cut the mustard this year. There seemed to be a cynicism when people started to tell the audience “how.” The people who really won were those who asked, “why?”

When IKEA creators explained they thought about what mums really needed in a high chair (not for kids to eat, but to make a mess no stress) that intel didn’t come from a spreadsheet, it came from real people, and the winners this year spoke from the heart and about what moves us. Take the Skyn condom brand CEO. He didn’t talk about sex, he talked about being a relationship brand and why we don’t need sex ed, but tutoring on how to have relationships from a young age. He talked openly about where we are today and with meaning - meaning that will move the bottom line no doubt.

Talking of protection, there was a lot of talk about looking after ones self and ones brand. Well, as critical as our audience at Cannes was, so are the wider public. When discussing the dirty value of influencers, value and risk are inextricably linked. With great value comes great risk. What people need to ask themselves is who, why and what they are taking that risk for. As I once heard our very own CEO say, “If you’re going to jump across the river you don’t take two steps.” Well, it’s the same for making an impact. When Skittles dared to spend all their prime time dollars on an advert that would only be shown to one kid did they realise the true power of taking a risk. Only when KFC took a leap of faith and followed the human wave of FCK, did they truly win. On and off the stage.

In the main, purposes-led campaigns continued to rule. In the current climate though, how long can the creative world flit between ROI and true good for goods sake? It’s time brands trusted their gut, made the world better because they can, and realised at the end of the day, it’s all a risky business.


Greg James, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Havas Media Group


I’d say it was a pivotal year at Cannes Lions 2018 as we saw definitely a decline in the ‘mania’ of the past few years and it felt somewhat more subdued and proactively more focused on the people, the work and the quality which is a good thing. As a judge within the media category, there was certainly some vibrant work entered that made us of technology and data, but our focus was drawn to work that went ‘back to basics’ – focused on creativity, consumer insight and clear media strategy combined with planning excellence. If, as an industry, we value Cannes for its eye on creativity, and surround that with sound discussion and exploration of great, data-driven insight, then gathering in the sun annually has a great future.


Konrad Feldman, CEO of Quantcast


The level of focus at this year’s Cannes has made it the best in my experience so far. It has enabled us to focus on what matters - understanding how we can add value to our clients’ businesses. No matter how you slice the drop in attendance, our meetings have been much more productive than in previous years. I’ve also noticed that conversations have shifted more away from service costs towards value creation. All too often we talk about the process but not about outcomes; it's right that the latter has become a primary concern for brands and publishers. The use of live insights, understanding real behaviour and delivering messages accurately and consistently, creates tangible benefits for clients.

The industry also continues to contemplate the role of creativity and technology, and it was encouraging to see more evidence of how the two go hand in hand in the AI Creative Council that Quantcast hosted. Technology is not to be feared, it will free creatives and planners up from the repetitive tasks that prevent them spending time on the storytelling. AI derived insights will inform the development of creative and supercharge the ability to understand audiences and their motivations and personalise messages accordingly.

One topic that was conspicuous by its absence was GDPR. It may be that Cannes was a brief distraction for some, but brands and publishers need to stop thinking they have time to sort things out. Whatever the reason, putting consumers first is non-negotiable; the industry needs to urgently embrace new systems, campaigns and channels which put their customers at their core. We are working with the industry to do just that.


Rebecca Sykes, Global CEO, MOFILM


Cannes 2018 again showed us incredible creativity...from 1% of the world's creative population. Imagine if we could harness the rest of it? It’s a fact that there is still vastly more creative talent sitting outside of the advertising industry than inside of its institutions. It would be great to be celebrating how technology has unlocked the diverse brilliance of the 99%. The future of Cannes would be irrevocably changed if we recognised that technology is not an idea but an enabler which can create and deliver more inclusive, people-powered creativity.


Tom Pepper, Head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, UK


With less ad tech presence and more marketers than ever, the 2018 Cannes Lions took us back to what the Festival is really all about: creativity. And it’s been a week of fruitful conversations, with a focus on ROI and an air of getting down to business. While KFC’s Apology; LadBible’s Trash Isles and a host of Christmas ads have scooped numerous awards, B2B marketers have eschewed quiet confidence this year, with IBM’s Pundit Watson #WhatMakesGreat campaign my favourite winner. Refreshingly, it seems we may be nearing an end to the clear delineation between B2B and B2C, with marketers across the board coming together to discuss and debate solutions to some of the key challenges faced by the creative industries.

How to overcome the conflict between art and science, leveraging data without forgetting creativity, was a key debate along the Croissette. Authenticity and trust quite rightly remain industry buzzwords in an age of transparency, with LinkedIn’s country manager Josh Graff, observing “trust is built in drops and lost in buckets” during a Dentsu Aegis Network panel. And the idea of driving emotion through storytelling really stood out this year, with both consumer and B2B brands building successful campaigns around intuitive, human decision making.


Richard Dutton, Chief Marketing Officer at Engine


The glamorous Instagram stories of pool parties and celeb spots may have gone, but what has Cannes Lions 2018 left us to look at longer term? There were a number of key themes that jumped out at this year’s Cannes for me:

1. We need to combine creativity, technology and data to give our clients a competitive advantage, as evidenced by some of the best work we saw at The Palais.

2. We are responsible as an industry for stamping out sexism – both in our work and in our work-place. It was reassuring to hear how so many brands and agencies were taking action.

3. Brands need to disrupt the disruptors – businesses need to look at how they can change within to regain the advantage.

4. Clients are re-looking at how they work with agencies – they want agile agencies that can operate as an ecosystem of specialists. The large, cumbersome holding companies are becoming increasingly undesirable.

Cannes will be back in 2019 – the tech giants will continue to dominate everything from La Croisette to the conversation, and hopefully, we will see a further evolution of how creative, tech and data can work so effectively in unison.


Julia Smith, Director of Communications, Impact


This year saw the welcome omission of the Snapchat Ferris wheel and the much-derided yacht and hotel passes. However, what was still ever present was the clear division between tech and creative companies. The Cannes Innovation speakers, awards entrants and winners were made up of the creative / media leading companies. The lack of presence of the martech and adtech companies on stage was mitigated by the overwhelming dominance of these companies on the beaches, in the hotels and in the villas.

However, this state of play has resulted in cementing Cannes as the place for tech companies and their clients to unite and pivot this event into one that actually delivers results, and has been the global meeting point to network and do real business. All we now would welcome is the inclusion for both sides in the conference and on the yachts. After all, we are all working towards the same goals of results, performance, innovation, trust and transparency.


Lincoln Bjorkman, Chief Creative Officer, Rauxa


The influence of Google and Facebook at Cannes is as palpable as their influence in the ‘real world’, which is to say ENORMOUS. It’s certainly notable that a number of brands and platforms won awards with very little or no mention of an agency partner (e.g. Spotify for Top Media Brand and Apple with 2 Grand Prix). Talking with colleagues and reading Cannes press, it seems the festival is quieter, downsized and moving away from agency dominance. And it doesn’t seem as though anyone’s surprised – concerned maybe, but not surprised. The best part of Cannes remains the high bar for winning, and the extraordinary work coming from all different directions. It’s encouraging too that so much creativity is still focused on doing good. That’s reassuring.


Tim Smith, President at Chemistry


This year, there was a lot of talk about the good old days and the wilder parties when agencies ruled and the platforms didn’t take over all the yachts. That being said, when you bring creative minds from 90 countries together, great things happen—deep learning, invaluable connections and yes, wild parties. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr would say, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Chris Gorell Barnes, CEO/Founder at Adjust Your Set/Co-Founder of BLUE Marine Foundation


For me, one of the big take-outs from this year’s Cannes was the fact that the plastics debate was everywhere and in every guise. From the Design Grand Prix being awarded to AMV’s ‘Trash Isles’, to panel sessions like the pro-ocean ‘Can Creativity Save our Oceans?’ (featuring yours truly), the festival’s inaugural ‘Sustainable Development Goals Lions’, and the world’s first-ever underwater awards ceremony in honour of positive ocean awareness; it’s clear that our industry is on a mission to use its creative skills to protect our oceans by tackling plastic pollution.

But not only was the issue high on the official Cannes Lions agenda, it also permeated the events that I attended. Google’s events, for examples, were consciously – and mercifully - free of any single-use plastic. For a festival that used to be synonymous with grotesque excess and self-congratulatory backslapping, it’s refreshing to see some environmental good come from it. And this leaves me hopeful for its future.


Marie Owen, CEO at LS Productions


People seemed genuinely excited by Cannes. They were in a positive frame of mind, not only about their own businesses, but about the industry - no doom and gloom! It was full of opportunities to bring business back from the festival. Going every year has really enhanced our time there personally and professionally. You know people better. The networking felt really tight-knit.


Sarah Drummond, Executive Producer at LS Productions


This year, it was quality over quantity, and a lot more relaxed. Stronger connections were made when the networking was taking place. The villa parties hosted by the likes of Camp David and RSA were a good mix of people and companies, and a great chance to meet new people. Not only was Cannes fun, it was incredibly inspiring.


Alex Shifrin, Managing Partner at LP/AD


Last week, Saatchi&Saatchi New York took home the Grand Prix for the “It’s a Tide Ad” ad, which in the context of Publicis’ ban on festival entries this year, makes the award all the more satisfying. Publicis announced that their agencies were not going to participate in celebrating creative to make way for an automated HR algorithm technology. Um, what?

This year, at the moment of creativity’s lowest point, when it felt like the beige was taking over, Saatchi came through and I couldn’t be prouder. What should have been a write-off year for the agency became a banner year at Cannes. While I haven’t been a part of Saatchi for just over three years now, having left as CEO in Russia to return to Canada and start LP/AD, I felt nothing but pride when I heard that they won the Grand Prix. It just goes to show – there’s always relevance to good creative and the maverick spirit. And Saatchi still has both.


Paul Reynolds, Managing Director of MassiveMusic London


There were big personal and professional take-outs from Cannes this year and these were based around a major sea-change in the marketeers' general attitude to music. In Cannes, there was a huge buzz around music with more professional talks in the Palais des Festivals, panel discussions on the (now corporate) beach and more journalists than ever reaching out for comment. It seems that brands have now realised that you have to use music and sound to not just be heard and to tell a story, but also to be consistently recognised as you. If you just make inconsistent noise over a plethora of consumer touch-points, then you are going to get lost in our ever-increasingly noisy world.

Brands are starting to discover their own identity, their sonic brand and their brand voice as a way to cut through the noise and stand out as unique. Why? Because the competition is already carving out its space and is capitalising on the opportunity to enhance brand presence, recognition, recall and engagement through screenless channels (Google Home, Amazon Echo) that many of us now use without a second thought.

The big personal take-out makes me feel rather smug. For years (16 at the Cannes Lions) I have been battling to gain an audience with brands and their agencies to recognise music and sound as an essential part of the marketeer’s palette. This year I proved to myself that I was right all along.


Howard Smiedt, Chief Creative Officer, Geometry EMEA


This year, Cannes Lions was a more svelte, measured and inclusive festival that returned to its original reason for being – a celebration of creativity. I was inspired by the enduring power of craft in a world of fast-paced messaging, digital disconnection and technology. Artistry and beauty in execution will always engage and connect with people on an emotional level, enabling brands and brand experiences to cut through the mostly ‘unbearable’ noise.


Rebecca Blinston-Jones, Deputy MD, MWWPR London


There was the usual hand-wringing from the PR industry for the lack of Lions going to PR shops but that was one of the few things that stayed the same this year. The key trends I took away were publishers fighting back as was Martin Sorrell and ad tech/duopoloy in retreat. However, the rosé was still in full flow and it’s still a great event for networking. There was a general feeling that attendees wanted to go home with more than just a hangover whether it was feeling inspired by David Droga or discussing why William Morris had a cabana.


Michael Cromwell, Senior Manager of Sales & Marketing at BMG Production Music


There has been a noticeable shifting in the tides of companies present at the Cannes Lions. While in previous years, ad agency takeovers have lined the Croisette, this year tech giants ruled the beaches. Big hitters like Facebook, Spotify, Pinterest and Google all had large beach installations, whilst SnapChat had an art gallery installation.

Ever-noticeable were talks on hot topics like gender equality from unlikely sources like LADBible with their ‘Brands That Get Me’ session. In a post-GDPR world, it was noticeable to see a large presence of blockchain companies, with the Digital Future Council (DFC) hosting two days of ‘blockchain in media and advertising’ focused talks.

From conversations on the beach, it’s evident the creatives are noticing a big shift towards the idea of ‘conscious capitalism’ and a quiet revolution seems to be bubbling whereby they see the opportunity to impact the world for the better, using brand power. In a time where global politics seems to align less with the innovators, there’s a definite feeling of taking matters into their own hands.


Chris Cassell, Managing Director of marketing agency White Label


Despite the naysayers, this year's festival got as much attention from media and the creative industries as it always has and will continue to for some time. There's simply nothing of its scale to compete. If I had to pick one takeaway from the festival it would be that telling a good story isn't enough anymore. To really make an impact, you have to create them. You have to find a way to make people see things in a completely different way. In future, I think we'll see the festival's remit increase.

The addition of Brand Experience and Activation, Creative E-Commerce and Social and Influencer Lions shows that tech, social media and below the line tactics will all be taken more seriously. The challenge for organisers will be to avoid diluting what has always been seen as the bastion of traditional advertising creativity.


Chris Kemp, founder and CEO of independent new business consultancy Ingenuity


Celebrating creativity has always been at the core of Cannes Lions, but in 2018 the importance of diversity and inclusion, brought to life in an interesting and meaningful way, was also a clear priority. As anticipated, the festival’s content was strong. A lot of the creative work focused on changing opinions and got rewarded for it. Seeing particularly female-centric winners was great and brought a better balance to the Grand Prix.

Though they’ve been present at the Cannes Lions festival and on the Croisette for many years, it was great to see the new innovative ways that tech and media businesses are choosing to work together with marketing agencies take centre stage. It will help reach a more powerful end – from inclusivity to diversity and beyond – and it’s very much indicative of our changing industry landscape.

The feedback about the positive benefits were clear too. There was a real air of collaboration. In terms of networking with peers and partners and creativity outside the office, many of our clients that I spoke to found the face-to-face opportunity better than ever. It had a festival feel without losing sight of the true goal of the event and awards. Long may Cannes Lions continue to facilitate it.


Rob Fletcher, Creative Partner at isobel


If Cannes truly is a festival of creativity, and if creativity no longer just means craft, but means innovation, new models, new technology, business acumen, new thinking, then the people who really would prosper from this are the small- to medium-sized clients, the clients who don’t have the global budgets. The clients who are on the ground fighting day by day. Having to punch above their weight. To use every creative trick in the book to stand out. Does Cannes speak to these people? Or is Cannes still a hunting ground for rich, ego-led networks all jostling for their own inter-agency rankings? I think it still feels disconnected to the real world. From the world the smaller independent agencies are living in.


Fede Garcia, Executive Creative Director at Huge


Overall, I liked the new format of the festival. It seems it has gotten more difficult to win awards, which I think it's a great thing. In the past few years it became commonplace to pick 10/12 lions for pieces of work that, while good, were not necessarily great.

I was very happy to see Saatchi NY pick two GPs. "It's a Tide Ad" is a big, powerful campaign, launched on the biggest of the stages, and in my humble opinion, it's nice to see big, bold campaigns winning big, instead of one-off's and made-for-Cannes tactical ideas. I loved the Budweiser work that took the GP of Print and Publishing. Great piece of work that is not only a very smart idea, but also understands the world we live in: that people wonder the streets constantly looking at their phones. So they gave their target something to look at, that is not advertising, but that it is advertising. Personally, I think they should've taken the OOH GP too, cause the McDonald's work, to me, is a little bit dated.

I walked the exhibition in the Palais and saw the thousands of boards for tiny, tactical ideas, and to be honest, I'm bored with this kind of work. Hopefully, the festival will continue to award big campaigns, big pieces of work that redefined brands and pushed sales. Work that made an impact in the market and not only in the awards circuit.


Kevin Virsolvy, Regional Director, Marketing & Demand Generation, EMEA & APAC, Crimson Hexagon


Using Crimson Hexagon’s consumer insights platform, we decided to pull data on the conversations around Cannes Lions to find out which brands and agencies ‘won’ from a social perspective. What we found was that Twitter’s events and live coverage of the festival earned them the most mentions on social, but KFC’s ‘we’re sorry’ print campaign, which not only won an award, generated over 3,700 posts! Lego was another close contender, ranking third on social due to its award win. In the agency space, Ogilvy was the clear frontrunner as it generated almost 9,000 social posts in comparison to 1,700 by runner-up Droga 5.


Luciana Carvalho Se, Head of Partnerships at REWIND


Like never before, Lions 2018 was mobilised for change. With a shifting agency landscape and the inescapable #metoo movement, time is ripe for standing up and smelling the coffee. Time is ripe for action. Whilst excited by the sheer breadth of diversity, inclusion and no-BS content this year — including Female Quotient’s brilliant Girls Lounge and boss speakers ranging from Queen Latifah to Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem to Tarana Burke— it’s important to note that this ‘cultural reckoning’ is slow, and will take time.

What’s more, it’s important to not only celebrate important announcements from Unilever and P&G, but also recognise what still needs to be done. Diversity isn’t just a ‘woman thing’ - age, background, race, disability, sex and beyond - needs to be addressed. The defiance of the status quo was palpable, and inspiration plentiful. Now let’s hold each other, and ourselves, accountable to the bold action that’ll follow.


Richard West, Head of Creative at Jellyfish


This year’s festival - or so I was told as this was my first - seemed to be a little more subdued than previous years. Clearly, the industry is going through a transition as some agencies stayed away and others toned down the glam somewhat. But I was still blown away by the innovation, the inspiration, the creative work and the heat! I felt hugely privileged to be at the event, especially in a year where digital had to work harder to make an impact.

Why? Well, it’s been a strange year for digital. Consumers clearly want to trust brands, but are finding it increasingly difficult to do so. Brands need to respond by becoming more human, more self-deprecating at times and much more genuine in how they connect with their audience. Diversity, trust and emerging technology were all key themes. Nothing really new there, but it reaffirmed what we need to do as an industry, and that is to win back the trust of audiences. And fast.


Simon Baptist, Head of Operations at mobile marketing specialists TUNE


Cannes Lions brings together all parts of the creative ecosystem and shows that advertising can truly be an inspiring art form used for good. Looking at this year’s winners, you can see that it wasn’t only the Glass Lions that focussed on driving change. Many of the trends I saw during the week were related to advertisers looking hard at understanding the impact of digital advertising to drive successful outcomes. This was the focus of a number of talks, including an interesting one from Keith Weed where he stated that Unilever will no longer be working with influencers who buy their followers.

2018 was also the first time I remember seeing so many larger, high-quality media owners like Turner, NBCU and others have such a visible presence. At some level this year's Cannes Lions seemed more focused, a bit stripped down, and in a way, with less ad tech boats, a bit more evolved. Ultimately though, regardless of tweaks made here and there, when you meet a creative who is walking down the Croisette carrying a Gold, with the biggest smile on their face, you know Cannes Lions is going to continue to be the cornerstone of our industry for many years to come.


Cordell Burke, Creative Managing Partner of bigdog


Cannes Lions is famous for being the festival of creativity, and this year it didn’t disappoint. The 2018 event saw an influx of creative work from across the world, full of varied and innovative ideas. Emerging countries, newer to the Cannes experience, really stepped up, creating striking and unexpected work. We also witnessed a definite rise in technology changing the ways brands can be marketed and advertised.

A campaign that particularly stood out for me was Xbox Design Lab's "The Fanchise Model" as it moved away from traditional brand advertising spaces. By encouraging fans to personalise their very own controllers, they incentivised gamers allowing them to reap profits when other consumers purchased their original designs. Strangely enough, the festival’s smaller size was a positive thing. Being just five days rather than a week emphasised the festival feel and made the individual events more compact and rewarding.

Moving away from just an excuse to party, the ’creativity means business’ side of Cannes was reinforced. People seemed to be attending and fitting in more events to broaden their creative options in problem-solving. Hopefully, everyone came away questioning further how these solutions could be applied to their brands and the specific markets they worked in.


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