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Once again this year I wrote an article on Cannes for the Marketing Society. Here it is for those that haven’t seen it on their site: 

Our experience of Cannes is somewhat different from that of a client or agency. It wasn’t until this year that I realised that everyone is coming at Cannes from a different perspective. Agencies are hosting clients, building up to their event, giving talks on stage, keeping an eye on the awards, signing deals and even recruiting. Clients are accepting awards, giving talks, joining panels, spending time with their agencies, demoing products and feeding back to their teams. We are going from meeting to meeting, client and agency, international and UK-based and our BITE team are in the press room collating all the trends and highlights. So whilst we all tend to reflect upon Cannes by reviewing the awards list and the conversations we had (and where we had them) we all take different paths throughout the week.

While the majority of the work tipped to win did so, there were a few surprises amongst this year’s 43,101 award entries and even two bronze lions returned: one by BBDO after being universally deemed sexist and one by Grey after claims their ‘I Sea’ app never worked and was not affiliated to a client. There has also been many a column inch devoted to the relevance (or not) of Cannes, not to mention the expense, see Martin Sorrell in AdAge.

Purpose and gender equality were once again hot topics and the Glass Lion Grand Prix, in its second year was taken by Unilever’s Brooke Bond Red Label Tea for 6 pack band.

I also loved this spot from BBDO Mumbai for Ariel.

Shane Smith of VICE said that even if content is entertaining it has to have purpose or meaning behind it. There was also talk of purpose being taken to the next level with the integration of data.

My favourite quote from the week came from David Droga:

“It takes the same amount of time to do something great as it does to justify being average”

And speaking of average, Brad Jakeman of PepsiCo said:

“We’re only here to celebrate the 0.05% of the work made this year, people hate advertising in general but love advertising in particular”

There were once again a host of famous faces on la Croisette. Walking around Cannes you are constantly alert and making sure you can place every face you recognise, but when that face may be that of Marcus Wareing or Iggy Pop, the recognition is not likely to be reciprocated…

Throughout the celebrations, inspiration and networking there was a general confidence that there were no surprises around the corner, so late Thursday night / Friday morning as the shockwaves of Brexit reached the south of France there was a palpable change of mood and every conversation was of the ramifications of what was unfolding. It was an odd feeling being away from home at what seems like such a pivotal point in our lifetimes, whilst also looking around and wondering whether the collective gathered in the Cannes could have done more to influence the result.

If you’d like to hear more about our 60 minute ‘Cannes Download’ get in touch.

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