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 mCreativepool; 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 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.
Michael Tomes, Founder of Creativepool
This year the Cannes Lions festival week was entered into with more opinion from both attendees and non-attendees than in any year previous. Everyone seemed to want to have their say on what was happening with the festival and what impact that Publicis taking a hiatus this year would mean for advertising’s biggest and arguably most important global gathering.
For me while the festival outside of the Palais did seem a little quieter and there did appear to be slightly less parties on the beach, I felt that the content and speakers this year more than made up for it. I loved the week only format. It condensed everything and 'The' question remains as to what people use Cannes is for and what people are expecting. Some are there to party, to have a break in the sun and work takes a step back. The majority of the more senior people are there to look after clients, to give them a few days of bounding.
And for me personally I head out there to catch up with industry friends old and new and there is no other opportunity other than Cannes to be able to do this.
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.
Karen Strauss, Partner and Chief Strategy and Creativity Officer, Ketchum
HUMANIZE & DESTIGMATIZE: The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity continues to reward brands (and organizations) that remove shame associated with important issues. Ketchum was delighted to share Lions with its agency partners and clients for “#bloodnormal,” which addresses period shame and destigmatizes menstruation, and for “Prescribed to Death,” which memorializes victims of prescription opioid overdoses and gives people tools to say no to opioids. Most of the memorable work tackled topics plagued by misinformation – including the top PR winner which addressed ocean pollution from plastics.
CANNES LIONS IS NO LONGER AN ADVERTISING FESTIVAL: The celebrated work in Cannes reflects the collaboration of digital, social, tech, PR and advertising partners working together to earn attention and influence for ideas. Every one of Ketchum’s 30 Cannes Lions were the result of multi-agency collaboration – with the roles of each discipline increasingly blurring.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GIVES VOICE: In “JFK: Unsilenced,” the Times of London used AI to analyze the recordings from Kennedy speeches, built a database, and used it to stitch Kennedy’s voice into the speech he was set to deliver the day he was assassinated. A contribution to history through the manipulation of technology. In “Project Revoice,” voice banking was used to replace the “computer voice” of an individual with ALS and restore the voice he had before ALS robbed it. Both powerful and enduring uses of technology.
THE FUTURE: As for the future of the festival – I believe Ken Auletta’s new book Frenemies (discussed on the main stage in Cannes) – reflects a good amount of chaos and blurred lines affecting our industry, and thus, the festival. The industry players who used to have arm's-length relationships with one another now invade each other's turf. Trust has broken down. Players are both friends and enemies. This will make “credits” for the work all the more political, and distinct award categories all the more blurry. I’d also predict that when a festival that started as a celebration of advertising and advertising agencies is now dominated by Tencent, Alibaba, Facebook and Google – it becomes a very different event indeed.
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.
Alice Blastorah, Senior Art Director at Saatchi & Saatchi
At a time when the world is filled with injustice, it was great to see even more brands stepping in and taking on social responsibility initiatives. Creativity can truly change the world so I hope this is a trend that will continue to rise to the top at Cannes 2019.
Yusong Zhang, Associate Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi
I miss humor in advertising, but ‘Another Tide ad’ just proved that risk-taking, insight-driven ideas still bring a little smile to our busy lives. Would love to see more of that in our industry and awarded by Cannes.
Mariska Kloezen, MD at Cheil Amsterdam
We think Cannes Lions has changed for the better. The festival is meant to celebrate creativity in the broadest sense of the word and we feel that was the main focus again this year. It's good to see companies other than the usual suspects attending, as it shows they value and underline the power of creativity too.
Shannon Lords, Executive Producer at Great Bowery Film
This year, you could really feel the changing landscape of the industry and vibe of the audience at Cannes. There were far fewer rosé-fueled egos. Instead, the focus was on the work more than ever, celebrating the new strategies and mediums that connect brands to the right consumers at the right time. The atmosphere was collaborative, creative and hopeful. And the focal point on diversity was inspiring - it transcended beyond mild reactions to past scandals and went straight to future solutions for the betterment of our industry. I'm hopeful that this is the kind of Cannes we'll continue to see from here on out.
Grant Owens, Chief Strategy Officer at Critical Mass
Cannes made a smart decision by trimming the categories and shortening the length of the festival. There was an atmosphere of let’s-get-down-to-business—and the move also puts them in a stronger, more exclusive position moving forward. As always, the big topics centered around how the industry can impact the world through actions, rather than rhetoric. And to that end, I found myself knee-deep in topics such as useless consumerism, data-marketing ethics, and the need for more diverse leadership.
Claudia Sestini, Global Marketing and Communications Officer at Gain Theory
Cannes has always been about highlighting the creative and its ties to driving emotional and behavioral change. One of the hot topics this year revolved around how marketers can drive business growth through the power of consumer relationships. Throughout the week, there was a lot of discussion around the value of customer experience being paramount, and where marketers are leveraging the strong arm of data, analytics and insights to hone in on the customer experiences that really matter to them and have a positive impact on brand equity and business growth.
Simon Law, Chief Strategy Officer at Possible London
Cannes with fewer people – it’s like holidaying in June and beating the August crowds! And the talk this year seems to be more about the work than the parties (except that Kylie one), so all good… and even better when we look at the work –Brand Experience & Activation Lions were a highlight with “Today at Apple” grabbing a well-deserved Grand Prix. Titanium is always good hunting ground for some gems and Palau Pledge is just that. Nothing Beats a Londoner was predictable, but that doesn’t make it any the less awesome as a piece of work – good to see it picking up awards across categories.
Then there’s the stuff you don’t know about before Cannes - the gems that don’t get UK press attention so often… My Line from Bogota, Lacoste’s Save our Species, Sindoor Khela from Times of India to name just 3. The work is all there to see at lovethework.com and commentary is everywhere – it’s an easy time to explore what great looks like!
Eduardo Marques, Executive Creative Director at 180LA
Yes, the Cannes Lions Festival has really changed. I am not talking about categories or submissions or points here anymore, let’s talk about what really was being talked about in Cannes: our business model.
Sure, we always talk about how our business has been changing, at every festival, and that we need to adapt ourselves quickly, blablabla. But, this year, you could see how this was the main subject out there, and when I say “see”, I am saying it literally. Remember the nights at the Carlton and Martinez and Gutter bar packed with so many people that the only empty space was almost on the sand? This year it was so empty that we could sit at a table at any moment. Really. “Where’s everyone?” - everybody was asking. Well, I have a few theories for that.
Of course that the Publicis Group absence is something to consider, but that wasn’t it all. Our business doesn’t have the money that used to have before, to be able to send a big team from the agency to attend the festival. I heard we had 25% fewer delegates this year, and only a few people (or only one) representing an agency. And all of these comes back to the ‘re-shaping’ of our industry, fewer AORs, more project-based pitches, more nimble start-ups coming up, more in-house agencies being built, more big tech companies creating their own creative teams.
So, the people who were there, they were really focused on the business, even more than on the Lions (that, of course, we all love). They were focused on the talks, panels, on the learning, more than on any party or boat trip. They were focused on their meetings with prospective clients, new business and talents, more than any rosé or beer around 3am at the Carlton or the Martinez. I saw most of our people changing the late nights per the early mornings and great business conversations at their breakfast table. “That’s where everyone is now” - how I’d respond to that first question. And, obviously, that's the right thing to do, for AdGod sake!
In order to make our industry survive, people were taking a deep breath and finding new connections with other industries, other talented people from other areas, trying to make advertising bigger, vast and more flexible. We’re going to the entertainment era, to the data era, to the product design era, to the be-inside-the-client era, and everything in between. Googles and Facebooks and Apples and Netflixes and Disneys are here (in the adland) not only to stay, but to show how it really works. If we don’t partner with them well, and learn from them, they will ‘swallow’ us. Ok… so, what’s the next model? I think about it every day. Have I cracked it? Of course not. We need to be simpler, sharp, nimble, and ideas have to come together with business ideas, all-in-one. Anyways, after all, there’s one thing we all know: clients want faster solutions, and that a great idea will never die.
Charlie Johnson, VP, UK and Ireland at Digital Element
This year’s Cannes Lions felt quieter, smaller, and somewhat more sedate. There were noticeably fewer extravagant beach parties, and away from the glitz and glamour there seemed to be a real focus on appropriate knowledge sharing rather than the usual excuses to party.
AI and the ad industry were common themes and, unsurprisingly, the conversations were mainly about the impact of the GDPR and who’s buying who. I noticed an interesting change in attitudes towards data collection and accuracy, particularly as brands look to navigate the post-regulation world and get ahead of the competition. We’re starting to see the real winners emerge and I’m intrigued to see who is at the forefront this time next year.
But, Cannes still needs work. Of course the festival won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but it needs to focus on attracting innovation and advancing technologies to ensure high-calibre attendees continue to visit. Readdressing the notion of going to Cannes for a ‘jolly’, and prioritising hard work in the beautiful French sunshine will be a real positive for the event.
Tanya Field, Co-founder of Smartpipe
As expected, the repercussions of GDPR were felt at Cannes as they have been throughout the digital industry. There were fewer ad tech vendors present on the French Riviera this year – and alongside talk of the challenges still to be faced around new data laws, the conversation was all about technology and creativity.
Google’s Matt Brittin said that it was likely to be ‘a bumpy road to compliance’, and that the industry was still trying to make sense of the laws, blaming the ‘late arrival’ of the details of the regulations. The New York Times revealed it had cut the number of ad tech vendors it worked with because of GDPR, and would continue to do so to make sure it is meeting the privacy expectations of consumers.
I would argue that the industry has been aware of the need for change for some time, but has been burying its head in the sand. Now data can no longer be an afterthought for businesses. The penalties for failure are high, both financially and in terms of consumer trust and brand reputation. Alongside investment in creativity, there needs to be transformative investment in innovation to bring the use of data out into the open.
Calum Smeaton, CEO and Co-Founder of TVSquared
While the media may be reporting Cannes Lions was more subdued this year, for the TV industry the same cannot be said. Talk from the yachts to the Croisette focused on the future of TV and how TV is becoming all things video – and conversations were productive. TV is robust, and has evolved into an accountable and targetable performance-marketing channel, which has been largely thanks to the adoption of second-screening behaviour and the rise of active participation viewers.
The interesting theme here is the subtle shift towards buying for response not reach. Although reach is a key element of TV as it still attracts mass audiences, as marketers look to hit brand KPIs they are increasingly developing data-driven campaigns where they can measure and optimise creatives in-flight. This activity, which capitalises on both online and offline response, is really exciting for the TV market.
Andy Evans, CMO at Sovrn
Although it was immediately apparent that there were fewer people in Cannes this year, as well as fewer sponsored yachts, the calibre of those attending remained very high. From an adtech perspective, GDPR led the way, with publishers, agencies and brands still navigating the do's and don'ts, as well as the importance of having a CMP in place. Transparency also remained high on the agenda, with an interesting case being put forward by new kids on the "block-chain", that claimed their technologies will help brands and agencies better account for their spend.
In the presentation theatres, Scott Galloway, Founder of Gartner L2 and author of The Four, and Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, presented compelling debates questioning the strength of the big four – two of whom now control $6 out of every $10 spent online – with Scott Galloway controversially arguing for the breakup of the monopoly.
Itamar Benedy, Chief Executive Officer at Glispa
There was a lot of fighting talk at this year’s Cannes Lions, with businesses ready to take on the duopoly. The AT&T AppNexus deal and OATH’s acquisition of Yahoo, is placing Telcos in prime position to directly challenge Google and Facebook. Not only do these companies have the data, user-base and scale, but importantly the funds to really ramp up their ad and martech arsenal.
Other potential changes to the ecosystem are also afloat - consultancies and ad tech vendors made a lot of noise at Cannes about how they are ready to challenge agencies. Brands are employing fewer middlemen, and ad tech companies and consultancies making strategic creative hires and acquisitions are starting to replace traditional agencies since they are able to provide creative and design functions in-house. Going forwards we will see the number of agencies decrease, especially in line with the rise in programmatic and the automation of processes, making the need for agencies increasingly redundant.
Fredrik Borestrom, President at the UK Chapter of the IAA
Cannes represents a celebration of all the advertising industry has achieved in the last year. In 2018, ad spend has continued to grow, the industry has made significant leaps towards greater transparency, and new formats and technologies are continuing to be developed.
However, even though the industry is constantly evolving, there is always more work we can do to improve our practices and reputation. The UK’s disclosure of pay differences by gender and the decision of some women to wear black at Cannes have brought a task to light: creating a culture that rewards and recognises women and minority groups.
In addition to this, the UK industry is faced with the challenge of ensuring its workforce remains diverse after Brexit. At the moment London’s advertising workforce is home to more migrant workers than the equivalent industries in New York, Paris or Amsterdam, and this may be threatened by the UK leaving the EU. The international spirit of Cannes creates an inspiring hot house of ideas, and with international collaboration being a key factor in the success of global campaigns, the importance of the festival will continue to grow in the years to come.
Jerem Febvre, Co-Founder, President Americas at Sublime Skinz
GDPR was the starting point of every conversation at Cannes and, unsurprisingly, there were more comments regarding Google’s reaction and subsequent impact on the European ecosystem, than there was about the regulation itself. Consolidation continues to intensify and the – now confirmed – news of AT&T acquiring AppNexus is a good sign for the industry, and resonates with a lot of rumours flying around on upcoming mergers and acquisitions.
The marketplace still craves more creativity to compensate for the declining impact of standard ad formats, and there was discussion about the emergence of scalable, high-impact ad technologies that is creating the perfect momentum for combining quality, creativity, and efficiency. It’s important to see creativity given such attention during the event, demonstrating that it’s still just as relevant as it’s ever been, even in this data-driven age of advertising.
There was also an increased focus on Blockchain; however, current distributed ledger ad tech companies are still far from being ready to address market needs in terms of scale and concrete solutions.
Dallas Lawrence, Head of Communications at OpenX
The focus at Cannes this year centred around some of the toughest issues to tackle in the industry; notably consumer engagement and maintaining quality in advertising. In terms of consumer engagement, the spirit of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was alive and well at the festival, with marketers recognising the importance of generating authentic consumer engagement. The way people are consuming content and shaping advertising decisions is undergoing rapid change, and the advertising community is looking for new, responsible and inclusive ways to knock down barriers and erase legacy stereotypes that have held back progress for years. Part of this is turning to user-friendly formats such as opt-in video, where the consumer is put in control in a way unlike any other format in advertising.
The other key topic that came in practically every conversation was quality. P&G’s Keith Weed called for a need to restore trust “before it’s gone forever,” signalling a promising step away from digital advertising’s ‘Wild West’ mentality, and towards more transparent and conscientious business practices. This helped set the tone for the week. Ultimately if the industry is able to collaborate on solutions that increase consumer engagement and boost quality in digital advertising, it will secure its long-term future. Cannes will undoubtedly remain an important hub for cooperation and debate on issues like these long into the future.
Giovanni Strocchi, CEO at ADmantX
The influence of GDPR was heavily felt at Cannes Lions this year. With so many brands still searching for the best solution to creating personalised, dynamic campaigns that mean something to their consumers, the need for first party data and compliant customer profiling were big topics for discussion. As a result, we saw many brands presenting their first party data activation projects.
There was a focus on the relevance of qualitative context due to the GDPR and the ongoing brand safety discussion, as well as the use of contextual targeting at URL level. Using the right technology, a URL can reveal information such as subject matter, key products, and people quoted, and empower brands to understand how consumers are engaging and interacting with content. This provides an accurate, specific, and compliant data foundation from which to personalise campaigns. While last year the discussion was around data versus creativity, this year it has developed to ‘creativity powered by data’ – showing the new regulations have not halted the industry’s success.
Adam Singolda, Founder and CEO at Taboola
Talking about ad formats, what works, and what doesn’t is always a topic high on the Cannes Lions agenda. This year we spent a lot of time talking about six second videos and the need to capture audience attention right at the start, sharing that even when videos are 30-60 seconds long, there is research showing that the first 6-10 seconds matter the most.
We currently serve around 130 million in-feed videos a day and seeing the effect it has - we believe video, specifically in mobile, will be one of the most important growing engines for publishers in years to come.
Talking about video, and 6 second videos in particular - I do think we have to be cautious. While 6 second videos are the new “cool” thing, we still need to measure performance of videos based on completion rates. Naturally 6 second videos tend to complete more than 30 second videos, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is better - I believe we need to also evolve our metrics for success, or we’ll end up talking about 3 second videos in 2019 in Cannes.
Thomas Bremond, General Manager, International at Comcast
Cannes Lions allowed broadcasters, publishers, advertisers, and agencies to get back to business, celebrate their achievements, and network with peers after a challenging few weeks following the implementation of GDPR.
As we took the office to a new beach setting, crucial topics were up for discussion. These included transparency and measurement within TV and video in the cross-device era, and the role that more advanced models of technology, such as addressable TV, have to play. Speakers included executives from Nissan, L’Oréal, Viacom, Channel 4, and many more, suggesting that Cannes is still a draw for big brands and established broadcasters alike.
This year’s event was shorter in length but awarded more prizes than ever before – a total of 25. This demonstrated that there is no shortage of progress and creativity within the industries, and highlights Cannes as a key opportunity to spark a dose of healthy competition.
Ian Hambleton, CEO at Studio Output and Founder of GLUG
I certainly didn’t hear as much from CANNES this year. Perhaps less attendees and less fuss, but it probably gives them an opportunity to re-assess its future and purpose moving forward. For our part, we had an incredible couple of days, with loads of grass root events, CANNT Lunches held at studios around the world and lots of parties on the Thursday, including the Glug London event at Skylight. We’re really looking forward to growing the event again next year.
Abbie Walsh, Group Director at Fjord ELEA (Industry Craft Lions judge)
The entries we judged were a reflection of what’s going on in the wider world – far from an isolated industry event, there was evidence of broader awareness. Some of the most pressing themes in today’s world represented prominently at Cannes, including wellbeing, mental health, gender equality and plastics in our oceans. We saw some terrific work by charities, who handled such topics with sensitivity and authenticity.
As a juror, I was personally proud that we awarded Ogilvy’s Kiwi Shoe Polish campaign the Industry Craft Grand Prix. In a world of fast-paced messaging and digital connection – which can encroach on our humanity – this long-form copy ad was a truly human piece of work that prompted an emotional response in us all. That’s true skill. The winners demonstrated how creatives of all disciplines are using their craft to shape meaningful, impactful experiences that have an ongoing impact on our daily lives.
As consumers become more aware of the effect of digital fatigue, insightful brands are seeing the value of blending digital with physical. Those who do it successfully will have the biggest impact, as they’re the ones who will create more holistic, human experiences that offer something meaningful to people. I hope it’ll mean a resurgence of excellent copywriting, and of meticulously ethical use of data to personalise experiences and to build AI that will work with us to create our future.
Claire Billings, VP Marketing EMEA at Merkle
The industry seems to have learned its lesson after last year’s Cannes that bigger is not necessarily better – and this year’s smaller, shorter event still managed to create maximum impact in a way that felt meaningful. Perhaps most interesting was the further distinction between the two camps; with the concerted tech presence along La Croisette, and the creative and inspiration element still thriving within the walls of the Palais.
It’s like two festivals in one. Allowing both camps to be in their comfort zone while being in close enough proximity to step out of it. This is crucial for both sides as rapidly shifting consumer behaviour continues to drive the two closer together. Indeed, a topic for subsequent festivals will surely be the question of who can straddle both camps credibly. As tech and creative come closer together, we'll see brands draw closer still to the consumer by delivering more personal and creative customer experiences which are informed by data and powered by technology. Ultimately allowing brands to deliver personal brand experiences to the consumer at scale.
Nonetheless, from making formal introductions between different partners, to unearthing an unsuspected client issue over a glass of wine, this year's festival, as ever, proved its ability to build and deepen relationships on an unparalleled level. Yes, there’s business to be done, but whether you go for the talks and inspiration in the main stages - or whether you go for the networking and non-Lions festival activity outside – Cannes continues to have value.
Ant Hill, Head of Creative Agencies at Google UK
Cannes Lions festival is extremely valuable for both advertisers and creatives. Being surrounded by the world's best creative work is hugely inspirational, and the high calibre of attendees means the networking opportunities are unparalleled. This year was no different, and we had some fantastic conversations around long-standing challenges for our industry. The reset of the festival provided a ripe opportunity to address them head on. Diversity and inclusion, digital advertising efficacy and relevance, as well as diminished overall trust in advertising are big issues, and it’ll take the whole industry working together to solve them.
Winning a Lion puts you amongst the world's elite. They are highly coveted and very, very difficult to win. It's a major achievement that translates directly into business benefit. In fact, winning work from the festival "gives a 54% higher ROI than non-creatively awarded work", according to festival advocate and top marketer, Matt Biespiel.
With the incorporation of the Digital and Cyber Lions into the core festival, and its renewed focus on creativity that drives business forwards, the festival has responded positively to the continued evolution of consumer behaviour and the associated shifts required in how we approach marketing and advertising. As long as the festival continues to augment and change to reflect an ever-evolving industry, it remains a must-attend event in the calendar for ambitious CMOs and agency leaders. This year as every year, after the festival, you cannot fail to feel inspired and motivated on your return to work.
Kathryn Jacob OBE, CEO of Pearl & Dean
The real value of Cannes Lions is the chance to hear other viewpoints, voices and perspectives. Audiences and cultures are so varied, and it’s great to learn about other approaches and how people make them work.
I’m very proud to be part of a global cinema campaign, in partnership with the World Food Programme. We launched our initiative at Cannes that aims to help the millions of people who go hungry every day; if that isn’t an opportunity for change then what is? The global stage at Cannes enabled Sawa and WFP to talk to brands, creatives and the communications world about this important message.
As for the competition, you can only compete if you take part. I spoke to Sir John Hegarty at the festival, and we discussed how subjective creative evaluation can be. But great work, even if it doesn’t win awards, can have huge effects and influences. Cannes Lions are working on a category with the UN addressing their strategic development goals, proving that creativity can be a true force for good.
Will Ingham, Creative Director & Founder of WING London
The value of Cannes completely depends on how you define it as a company. If you want to ‘showboat’ and have drinks with potential clients, then this is the place for you – and it will provide huge personal value. For me, losing a week’s time and expecting your clients (who aren’t at Cannes) to understand, is a little far-fetched. I’d rather be producing A-class work for them in our studio.
Cannes used to be about showcasing the best work in the industry, but now the only people who seem to win are the massive agencies, with massive accounts, and cash to burn. We see the same brands winning again and again. It feels pretty dated… not quite Mad Men, but also not quite 2018 That said, there are still big opportunities at Cannes. The opportunity to network is fantastic, and the kudos for winning a Cannes Lion are still huge. As long as Cannes grows with the industry, we can all achieve the right balance between producing effective work for clients and celebrating creativity.
But Cannes, like the whole industry, needs to look over its shoulder as change is always around the corner. Budgets are scaling back and businesses are looking for more value than ever. Watch your back big cat, you might not survive in the wild.
Mark Melling, Head of RYOT Studio UK at Oath
Cannes provided the ideal backdrop of what’s next for the industry, placing a welcome emphasis on our collective responsibility to the world we inhabit and the impact the creative industry can have on it. The festival addressed concerns of getting the balance right when it comes to trust, experiences and gender.
Trust is vital when it comes to any campaign, so creating genuine partnerships between media technology companies like Oath, creative agencies, as well as media agencies and brands is important to build campaigns and deliver unique and interactive experiences that don't diminish, but build trust with consumers. So they see true value in interacting with the client's brand and trust their authenticity in the message they deliver: whether it be about product, social or environmental issues.
Consumer experiences was another big topic, with brands continuing to put value on creating personalised emotional connections, especially with the onus being placed on consumers online. There’s a growing shift towards creating interactive experiences through mediums like AR, VR and 360 videos. The very present debate of getting the gender balance right was discussed with weight on how much more our community can do, with the festival’s ‘See It Be It’ campaign advocating the role of creativity in closing the gender gap.
When it comes to the future of Cannes and the industry, culturally relevant brands will fly, and those who focus on human needs through fascinating stories will resonate. Finally, in my view those who are fun and surprising will always seem refreshing.
Olga Egorsheva, CEO and Founder at Lobster
For me, the highlights from this year’s Cannes Festival were: Social awareness, environmental stewardship, and integrity of the message. I was lucky enough to be able to catch part of the panel discussion following the Publishing and Print awards the previous night. The panel were having a really interesting conversation when it came to Y&R Madrid’s campaign ‘Sorry”. This beautiful campaign was powerful and important but there was a perceived lack of follow through to drive the purpose of the campaign and entice the important social shift that the ad was motivating which led the panel to award the coveted lion to another campaign.
Whether this is right or wrong is a really interesting conversation to be had and an idea that as debated in the panel itself. We again saw this social purpose within the Grand Prix winner for Mobile being awarded to Grey Brazil’s ‘Corruption Detector”. What an incredible idea and something with such crucial social awareness.
The best conversations that seemed to be happening were the most human ones. A transparent, open and human discussion breeds innovation and creativity, and it was great to see an event-driven so much by this, in a world full of AI and machine learning. We can use technology to facilitate these integral conversations and challenge each other conceptually and dive into a deeper understanding while attempting to grasp the endless potential that creatives can harness through the power and empowerment of tech.
After the innovation and creative genius coming from Cannes this year I am left in total awe of what the future of Cannes Lions might hold. I can't imagine where we might see this powerful festival grow to, but I'm excited to find out!