Features

*

Talking Cannes Lions 2018: Why Cannes Lions is still relevant.

Published by

With adland set to descend on the French Riviera any day now in preparation of the biggest week in the industry calendar, I caught up with a host of industry experts and influencers and quizzed them on the continued relevance of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in an industry that's changing so rapidly and so profoundly.

 

Neil Waller, co-founder of influencer marketing platform Whalar

*

Whalar will be presenting The Influencer Gallery at the festival the year, showcasing some of the most exciting work produced by creators from the platform. As such, Neil was obviously well placed to comment on the increasingly significant role of the influencer, but he also had a few other thoughts that are more than worth exploring.

Do you think that Cannes Lions is still relevant in 2018?

Cannes Lions is in its 65th year and it has stayed relevant by adapting alongside the industry. Back when our chairman Sir John Hegarty was a founding partner at Saatchi & Saatchi in the 70s or when he set up Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 1982, it would have been unimaginable to envisage how much the advertising industry would transform. Creativity is still king, but technology has enabled a world of opportunity. We still see brilliant work coming from advertising agencies but we’re also seeing innovative, unique campaigns delivered by influencers in collaboration with brands. Technology has flipped creativity on its head, enabling opportunity and giving the power to anyone who can deliver creativity. Creativity provides value, and in the digital age, creativity has the opportunity to come from a greater variety of sources. Cannes Lions is still managing to draw the whole industry which is testament to the festival’s ability to embrace this more rounded, open perspective on creativity.

Which talks are you most looking forward to attending this year and why?

Burger King have had a really great year for advertising, so The Rise of Hackvertising hosted by Burger King and DAVID The Agency looks to be a good one. As it’s such a fundamental concept to Whalar, I’m also really keen to hear more from brands about the impact technology is having on advertising. Whalar is built on the new model of creativity, centred around technology, so Technology is at the Heart of Beauty, hosted by L’Oréal, will be a definite. I will also be hosting a meetup in conjunction with Cannes Lions, sharing my advice for start-up creative companies. And there’s a lot to share! I started Whalar alongside my co-founder James Street in 2016 and we recently opened up two new offices in New York and LA. It has been an epic journey.

Which trends do you expect to dominate the festival this year?

The democratisation of creativity. It's not a trend, it's a movement and it’s one that is altering how we perceive creativity. The consumers of today don’t want to be delivered creativity on a plate, they want to be co-creators; in this world of hyper stimulation and overwhelm to truly engage with a piece of creative work it has to resonate with them on a deeper level. And this means greater collaboration, taking advertising out from behind closed doors and making it accessible. Creativity is no longer the preserve of the few, to be orchestrated and unleashed to the many, with technology we have democratisation of creativity and this is a movement that will only build over time. What we need is more voices creating more work, it's as simple as that.

What are your thoughts on the inaugural Social and Influencer category this year?

We’re really pleased. One of our core aims at Whalar has been to professionalise influencer marketing which we have done through high profile campaigns with Apple, River Island, Unicef, Nike, Unilever, Disney, Dyson, Adidas and many others. The introduction of this category at Cannes Lions shows that influencer marketing is becoming legitimate in the eyes of a very hard to please industry. For a long time, influencer marketing was seen as a sort of Wild West, with no real understanding of its power, but now our peers have recognised that when utilised properly, influencer marketing can help advertisers to reach engaged audiences via beautiful content at scale. Those that still remain to be convinced by the power of social and influencer marketing can pop by The Influencer Gallery, pick up a Joe and The Juice fresh juice and see just what amazing creative work they could achieve. The gallery will include Tanqueray and the It’s What You Put In campaign and Thursday is devoted to US mattress company Leesa.

 

Eka Ruola, CEO and ECD of hasan & partners Group

*

Eka and Ami from hasan & partners feel optimisitc about the future of the festival and feel that this year will prove that good old fashioned creativity will always win out over money and technology.

Which campaigns or ads do you think will win big this year?

I think Lacoste’s Save our Species campaign should, and probably will win. The same goes for #BloodNormal for Essity Libresse Bodyform and IKEA's Pee Ad. In addition to these, I truly hope that the Sheboard for Plan Finland and the Unknown Platform for the Unknown Soldier movie by hasan & partners are noted. We also have a team, Katariina and Vesa competing in the Young Lions. If I have one wish that will come true, my choice is for them to succeed.

Do you think Cannes Lions is still relevant?

Very much so. I’m extremely excited about the fact that creativity is, again, one of the main topics in the world of marketing communications. Cannes guides us to be more creative, it shows where the bar is (not the gutter). And it forces us to find new territories that bring efficiency for brands.

Which talks are you most looking forward to attending and why?

I always love to see big marketers embracing creativity on the Cannes stage and linking that to business growth. Inspiration and relevance in the same package.

Which trends do you expect to dominate the festival this year?

Diversity, all things artificial intelligence and consumer insights. We will also probably hear quite a lot about blockchain.

Ami Hasan, Chairman of the hasan & partners Group and President of the ADCE

*

Do you think Cannes Lions is still relevant?

Absolutely! In this post-Sorrell - or interim-Sorrell, if you wish - era of ad business, we should all work hard on inspiring our clients and talent on the power of creativity as opposed to the power of money and tech. Besides, Cannes has always been primarily a meeting of minds, a networking event and a learning event. The awards are actually a sideshow, not the real substance of Cannes.

Which talks are you most looking forward to attending and why?

Still, a couple of weeks to go, I haven’t even had time to look that closely at the program. But that’s the beauty of Cannes, you go and you know there’s going to be loads of superb sessions to get stuck into.

Which trends do you expect to dominate the festival this year?

Money still talks, so the big global tech companies will naturally have a big presence and Facebook, of course, has a lot to prove. But the revival of creativity over technology will be omnipresent and that will shine through.

 

Cordell Burke, Creative Managing Partner at bigdog

*

Cordell believes the festival is more about the clients than the agencies now. And that's no bad thing. He is also feeling pretty positive about GDPR and the effects it will have on both the festival and the industry going forward.

Do you think Cannes Lions is still relevant?

The relevance of the Cannes Lions festival isn’t in doubt. It’s a great opportunity to see the strongest ideas and highest quality executions from around the world. Some people argue it’s too much about clients now but that’s not a bad thing, they’re looking for inspiration just like we are. And we shouldn’t be cynical about awards. They act as an important benchmark, inspiring clients and agencies alike and encouraging us all to aim high.

Do you feel data will play less of a role in advertising going forward with the new GDPR laws that have just come into effect? And how do you think these new laws will affect the atmosphere at Cannes this year? Positively or negatively?

I’m feeling positive about GDPR - there won’t be a negative impact on the event. Data will continue to play a strong role in advertising and marketing. We all just need to find more imaginative and responsible ways of using it. As an industry it’s down to us to really own this, and it’s so important we get it right. But it won’t affect the atmosphere. Cannes Lions is all about celebrating creativity, only the very highest levels of work make it through. People are looking for inspiration, GDPR won’t get in the way of that.

 

Federico Garcia, Executive Creative Director at HUGE

*

The ECD at HUGE feels that the new rules put in place this year might help to purge the festival of the bad reputation it's earned in recent years.

Which trends do you expect to dominate at Cannes Lions this year?

I don't know what the trends will be this year, but I'd love to see more big campaign work awarded rather than single (and sometimes smallish) executions. Less work done for award purposes and more work that actually moves the brand's needle.

Which talks are you most looking forward to attending this year and why?

When it comes to speakers, I'm pretty excited to hear clients speak, like Bozoma Saint John, Tor Mhyren, Fernando Machado or Robert Wong. And of course, legends like Sir John Hegarty, John Goodby or David Droga. And Conan, because Conan.

Do you believe that Cannes Lions is still relevant?

I'm still excited about Cannes, and I hope the new rules help the festival to steer away from bad practices that have tainted the festival's reputation in the past few years. In my humble opinion, it still is the biggest show in the industry, and while it might not be the most prestigious award to win anymore (I think D&AD tops it), it's still THE place to learn from the best, see the best work of our industry, and meet the top talent in the world.

 

Amie Green, Head of B2B Marketing at Flipboard

*

Amie feels that the Lions are more relevant now than ever before, particularly with the changes currently shaking the industry.

Which trends do you expect to dominate at Cannes Lions this year?

Data and ad tech have been a big part of the conversation the last few years but I think the pendulum is swinging back to creativity. I also see lots of themes arising from direct-to-consumer businesses’ brand and marketing strategies. These next generation marketing leaders are creating their own playbooks and everyone is paying close attention.

Which talks will you be attending and why?

Hearts and Science’s “Addicted to Likes” talk with Tristan Harris. At Flipboard we’ve been inspired by Tristan’s work as our mission and values align with these themes. It’s important that the industry focuses on how to build healthy digital products and services.

Do you believe that Cannes Lions is still relevant?

More than ever! Advertising is part of our culture and supports many content businesses. With so much change afoot, it’s important to celebrate transformational ideas and discuss how we move forward in a consumer-centric way.

Do you feel data will play less of a role in advertising going forward with the new GDPR laws that have just come into effect? And how do you think these new laws will affect the atmosphere at Cannes this year? Positively or negatively?

Data is always going to be important for advertising, to an extent. We believe the real value needs to be placed on the context and content against which the ad is placed, rather than previous behaviours and search history. Doing so helps the ad to be more relevant, enriching the experience instead of getting in the way. It’s going to make for some really interesting conversations!

 

Daren Poole, Global Head of Creative, Insights Division, Kantar

*

According to Daren, data will continue to play a vital role in advertising, in spite of (or possible because of) the new GDPR rulings.

Which trends do you expect to dominate at Cannes Lions this year?

I think we’ll be hearing even more than last year about artificial intelligence and data-driven creativity. They are both hot topics for marketers, and agencies need to be ahead of the knowledge curve. I also expect to see a lot dmore inclusion and diversity following #metoo.

Which talks will you be attending and why?

The shorter festival has created a very strong programme. I’m particularly interested in the Impact track to sharpen my knowledge on the latest in creative effectiveness.

Do you believe that Cannes Lions is still relevant?

Yes. I think the real debate is how the old world meets the new. Actually the concept of creativity on its own in a vacuum seems a bit old school. How does the beach meet the Palais, as it were.

Do you feel data will play less of a role in advertising going forward with the new GDPR laws that have just come into effect? And how do you think these new laws will affect the atmosphere at Cannes this year? Positively or negatively?

Data will continue to play a vital role in advertising. Advertisers, publishers and media agencies must ensure they have the right permissions, and asking consumers questions is a vital part of the story, as is behavioural data. It’s a rebalancing. Maybe there will be slightly less emphasis on targeted programmatic media, and slightly more discussion about consumer needs, appropriate formats, and context. What I think will change is the fact that brand impact will start to gain more predominance over clicks and the targeting vortex. I don’t think GDPR itself will affect the atmosphere. I’m sure it will be a topic of conversation, but it’s one of many. It should mean that enlightened marketers and agencies can discover new avenues for creativity.

 

Chris Cassell, MD of marketing agency White Label

*

Chris compares winning a Lion to getting a degree in Klingon from the University of Narnia so if obviously in favour of reducing the number of award categories. But what else does he think?

Which trends do you expect to dominate at Cannes Lions this year?

Cannes Lions has traditionally favoured creativity that’s driven commercial success. Whilst continuing to be at the core of the judging criteria, that approach is now being applied to creativity that shifts culture by challenging perspectives, galvanising public opinion and effecting social good. Over the years, the judging panel has rightly noted and heroed brands championing equal rights and I see no reason for that to change with the powerful #MeToo movement - let’s hope the good stuff like T-Mobile’s “We Are Equal” paves the way.

Which talks will you be attending and why?

I’ll try to split my time equally between speakers I think are directly relevant to White Label and our day-to-day work as Drinks Marketing Specialists, those I think i’ll be able to learn from and also a few more left-field talks that just catch my eye. From the first category I’ll definitely catch “Wake Up With the Economist” on Monday 18th featuring Syl Saller (CMO of Diageo). From the second I’ll be attending “Creativity on the Couch: What Psychoanalysis Can Tell Us” hosted by PHD Worldwide because I think appropriate application of psychological theory can help strategists and planners to really deliver.

Do you believe that Cannes Lions is still relevant?

There’s no doubt that Cannes Lions is in a challenging period. Given the continued rise of digital in all forms it’s hard for a festival that has always been viewed as the bastion of traditional advertising creativity to keep its hold. The festival’s solution has been expansion through the introduction of new categories and sub-festivals like Innovation, Entertainment and Digital Craft - but that makes it harder and harder to navigate. A win in some of the categories feels a little like getting a degree in Klingon from the University of Narnia - great if that’s what you’re into, but not the same as a 1st in PPE from Oxford. The industry has been calling for a reduction in the number of categories until it’s blue in the face, but let’s see what happens. The fact is a Cannes Lion remains the most prestigious of prizes and I’ve never met a Strategist or a Creative Director who doesn’t want to have one to their name.

Do you feel data will play less of a role in advertising going forward with the new GDPR laws that have just come into effect? And how do you think these new laws will affect the atmosphere at Cannes this year? Positively or negatively?

Data is here to stay: it plays a role in almost every aspect of advertising from idea generation to delivery and measurement. If anything, I think GDPR will have a positive impact on advertising because we’ll need to create ever more compelling reasons for people to not only come to brands, but also to return to them. As important as it is to understand and implement GDPR from a business perspective, I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that this year’s festival isn’t too preoccupied by it. Just like consumers, we’re still clearing our inboxes. I’m optimistic it will have little effect on the atmosphere of at Cannes - unless people don’t show up because they forgot to opt into the emails.

 

Estelle Reale, Marketing Director EMEA at Sublime Skinz

*

Sublime Skinz is a leading global provider of 'skin-based' advertising. Estelle, the company's marketing director, believes that the debate around the role technology will play in transforming the industry wil be rife at this year's festival.

Which trends do you expect to dominate at Cannes Lions this year?

Every year we expect to hear about the highlights and learnings from more than 200,000 ad campaigns. However, it has been a hectic year for many already, so it’s difficult to predict which brands and agencies will reveal if they have prospered in the current climate. That said – Marc Pritchard will no doubt address the biggest topics head-on, giving a true indication of industry sentiment while providing us with key soundbites that will be quoted in the months to come.

How do you the GDPR laws will affect the atmosphere at Cannes this year?

As technology continues to develop at such a rapid rate, the debate around the role it will play in transforming and driving advertising going forwards will be rife. There will also be discussion around how data can be successfully used to enhance creativity – particularly topical following the recent implementation of GDPR.

Which talks are you most looking forward to attending this year and why?

In terms of talks, Mark Read at WPP is set to garner plenty of excitement, after he was suddenly thrust into the spotlight following Sir Martin Sorrell’s departure; it will be fascinating to hear what he has to say.

What are your thoughts regarding the distinct lack of Publicis at this year's festival?

Some have suggested that the rival VivaTech event, organised by Publicis and Maurice Levy, will affect Cannes Lions – but I don’t think this will be the case. Their Paris-based event is very tech-focused, whereas Cannes is more oriented towards the creative aspects; so there is still plenty of room in the market for both to succeed.

 

Jeroen van der Meer, ECD, MediaMonks

*

Jereon feels that “staying real” will be the key for brands and agencies this year.

Do you believe that Cannes Lions is still relevant?

I believe that to stay relevant, Cannes needs to shine light on the projects that fit into the wider brand strategy and are truly adding something to consumers’ lives, rather than ideas that are just made to fit a brief. Staying real is key. I think we, as an industry, should keep thinking hard about how we can surprise the consumer. The more we surprise them positively, the better job we deliver as creatives.

Which trends do you expect to dominate the festival this year?

For me, a trend worth looking at is voice technology that has now actually progressed to a stage where this consumer value add is here for the taking (or I should say giving). Although don't know many campaigns using it well yet, I expect in the coming years we’ll see more of these ideas that really explore what’s possible. Those are the kinds of projects that are going to make me really jealous to look at.

 

Chacho Puebla, CCO and Partner at LOLA MullenLowe

*

As a jury member this year, Chacho is especially well placed to comment on what has been a very tough, but ultimately very rewarding year.

What work do you feel should claim some of the top Lions this year?

It’s a tough year, there is very good work in all categories. Nothing Beats a Londoner, all the work from Burger King, Westworld SXSW, It’s a Tide Ad, Drones at the Olympics, My Line from Google Colombia, Trash Isles, and the list goes on. I’ve already started the voting process a couple of weeks ago in Direct and I’m excited to see all the work at the French Rivera. Burger King has a lot of good work, HBO will do well with Westworld, Google has really cool stuff and from the agency side, the usual suspects for sure, besides loads of in-house agencies that are doing really good work.

Which trends do you expect to dominate the festival this year?

Once I started the jury process, I noticed that the social trends that dominate are equality, the environment, waste and Trump, of course. On the technical side, the use of data in more precise ways has been really all across the board too. Thank god, we've started to see less NGO work and more, better brand work.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival this year?

Thanks to the new track system I think seeing the right speakers and talks will be easier. I will be closely following Entertainment, Communication and Innovation. I have a feeling this will be a great year. Weird, like it always is, and especially full of fútbol (soccer) and all the joy that this game and the World Cup brings to people.

 

Eduardo Marques, Executive Creative Director at 180LA

*

Eduardo has a lot of good things to say about the industry, and the work it produced, this year. He feels that the festival, however, still has some work to do when it comes to claiming back the 'souls' of the award categories.

What work do you feel should claim some of the top Lions this year?

FCK,” for KFC UK; Ikea “Pee Ad”; KFC Honk Kong “Hot&Spicy”; and BK “McDonald’s Execs prefer Grilling” are great contenders in Print. My favourite is FCK, for the simplicity and bold attitude. In Outdoor, I think simplicity and impact is the thing, once it needs to be a fast dialogue, one-second-hook. There, I’d say Postmates “We Get It”, McDonald’s “Follow the Arches,” “Highway Gallery” for Louvre Abu Dhabi, are great ones. Simple, fun and impactful. I’d say the “Trash Isles” and “Palau Pledge” are the biggest contenders in the 'For Good' category. Both are brilliant and big, but I think the second wins the battle because it comes with a solution, besides the awareness. In Film, the “Tide Ad” will shine, it brings a fun new flavour into TV Ads, hacking the Superbowl commercial break in a genius way. The Jeep “Anti-Manifesto” is another one that I love for its simplicity. “Dundee,” for Tourism Australia, will go beyond film and I think it will be a good contender in Entertainment as well. Apple will have a lot of winners this year in film, especially “Welcome Home” by Spike Jonze, that probably will succeed in Craft and Entertainment for Music too.

Do you think the Cannes Lions has changed dramatically this year? And is this change a good thing?

This year particularly, the Cannes Lions comes with a lot of changes. Exciting changes I’d say: Different categories, fewer subcategories, submission limits, live judging, different pointing system, Titanium and Glass having the same judging format as Innovation (shortlists have 10min to present it on stage), etc. I hope the limitation on submissions (six per Lion) leads to a larger variety of great ideas being successful, instead of fewer ideas winning dozens of Lions across all categories. It will be a more strategy game, instead of a budget game. We’ll hopefully see more big ideas focused specifically on a certain category where it actually fits, instead of winning 30 lions everywhere. Then, the categories will start to claim their souls back. The points system will also hopefully give more power to agencies with a collection of great ideas, instead of agencies with a collection of bronzes and shortlists. I think now the playing field will be more equal between the bigger and smaller agencies. Another thing that seems to be a little different this year is that we don’t have THE idea of the Festival (yet), like “Fearless Girl” or “Meet Graham” last year. I think we’ll have more surprises. And that’s another exciting part for me.

Which trends do you expect to dominate the festival this year?

I think we’ll see a lot of ideas using AI in a more developed way, and this will just progress over the years. Ideas based in music will be seen a lot as well, with that distinct music video feel. Gender equality and female empowerment will be again a strong subject, and ideas to ‘save the planet’ are coming back in a big way. I think we’ll also see a lot of long-forms, and a big shift from advertising to entertainment. When it comes to traditional advertising, it will show that, in the digital/social/tech era, simplicity is still the best way to have an impact. And if the idea gets to be part of culture, that’s when it's a bigger winner for me.

 

For more on Cannes Lions 2018, keep your browsers tuned to Creativepool over the coming week. We'll be examining more insider opinions in greater depth, exploring the major changes afoot this year and interviewing some of the industry's most respected talking heads on their Cannes predictions. We will also be on the ground in Cannes next week for some face-to-face discussions and to keep you up to date with all the major wins and all the hot gossip.

 

More Cannes Lions 2018

The top parties to attend at Cannes this year

Talking Cannes Lions with Philip Thomas

Cannes Lions Contenders

Creative Opinions on Cannes Lions 2018: Big Trends and Big Changes

Comments

More Features

*

Features

Continuous Lines: The Creative Mind Behind Our Branding

At JJ Media Group our values are reflected in every aspect of our branding and culture. We are spontaneous, experimental and collaborative. Our mission is to provide our clients with an all-round, efficient, continuous service that exceeds their...

Posted by: JJ Media Group
*

Features

Unboxing unboxing

How packaging can drive sales and build advocacy at the heart of the unboxing experience. If you haven’t seen or heard about the unboxing trend consuming the internet then you’d better crawl out from behind that pile of plain cardboard...

Posted by: The Space Creative
*

Features

Is art advertising (4): American Gothic

It is one of the most recognisable paintings of the 20thcentury. It has been ripped off, spoofed and copied thousands of times. Among other things, it has sold pharmaceuticals, beer and biscuits. Few people can actually tell you what it’s...

Posted by: Patrick Collister
ad:
ad: