The Creativebrief team offer their insight on what to expect to see at Cannes this year. Whilst the Festival offers a platform for innovation and creativity, it also presents the chance to firmly nail colours to the mast; to alchemise the industry’s hot topics from peripheral chatter into tangible action.


Saying diversity will be a talking point at Cannes in 2017 won’t exactly shock anyone. It has been at the forefront of industry discussion for some time now, and rightly so. But this year expect to see leaders take a break from talking and begin acting. Many have grown weary of the seemingly perpetual discourse while worrying markers continue to pass us all by without notable change. In fact, in January Marketing Week’s annual Career and Salary Survey showed that despite an apparent determination for reform, the pay gap between male and female marketers actually widened from 20.8% in 2016 to 22.4% in 2017. This year Cannes will provide the platform the industry needs to harness tangible action. We’ll see this happening at every turn – from Campaign and Creative Equals aiming to shift the dial in numerous ways, to Airbnb actively recruiting for diverse creative teams that sees Jonathan Mildenhall openly seeking to meet and interview candidates beachside. We’ll also see plenty of leaders and businesses admonished for paying lip-service to the topic. Cannes 2017 will be the year that tackling our industry’s ongoing diversity challenges shifted beyond simply good intention.


The recent evolution of management consultancies, and the threat they represent to agencies will become even more apparent at this year’s festival. With IBM securing a bigger space than they had at the 2016 festival and Deloitte Digital sponsoring the Cannes Young Lions school, you can expect to see them out in force. This doesn’t come as a surprise given that consultancies have been ramping up their creative services of late and encroaching more and more onto agency territory, but whilst their strength in digital might make them appear unstoppable, don’t underestimate the power of creativity that is so unique to agencies. And where better to find this than at the Festival of Creativity itself.


Self-improvement is one of the most powerful – and most sharable – forms of status currency. How can brands help us in our eternal quest for betterment? We’ll be on the look-out for creative ideas and innovative technology that can help us live happier, more fun-filled lives, manage time better, and be more healthy. This year Nike pushed this to the limit with Breaking2, an initiative that not only demonstrated the product, but brought to life the ethos of the brand in a way we haven’t seen since Red Bull’s Stratos. From physical skills to psychological wellness, the brands that serve up new tools, platforms and experiences to help us achieve our goals, are the ones that will be rewarded.


The need for speed is something we all share – be it travel, food or, most importantly, ASOS orders – and you can expect to see brands address this at Cannes. It’s fair to say that we’ve become impatient and demanding and we’re used to getting what we want, when we want it. Far more than a preference, this is now a non-negotiable expectation and brands will need to find a way to continue to adapt to this. The bar has been set high in the past year with Domino’s launching an app where just opening it will have your favourite pizza en route. Whilst Chop Chop from  Sainsbury’s promises to deliver 20 items to you in just 60 minutes. Quick delivery is one thing, but with the likes of Amazon Echo and Dash showing just how hassle-free things can be, brands will need to think up other innovative ways to compete. Not just that but to make interactions with their customers smoother as they move more towards becoming on-demand. Expect things to move very fast in the southwest of France.


Throughout the celebrations, inspiration and networking there was a general confidence at Cannes Lions in 2016 that there were no surprises around the corner. So early on Friday morning, as the shockwaves of Brexit reached the south of France, there was a palpable change of mood and every conversation revolved around the ramifications of what was unfolding. It was an odd feeling being away from home at what seemed like such a pivotal point in our lifetimes, whilst also looking around and wondering whether the collective gathered could have done more to influence the result. A year later and nasty surprises are no less frequent. With Brexit now in full, unintelligible flow and the Trump administration doing its best to out-scandalise House of Cards, the headlines have never been more divisive or depressing. But after a year of the world in the doldrums, it’ll be interesting to see how the creatives at Cannes Lions have acclimatised and whether their sights are now set on fighting back, making a stand and having a voice.


Leave a comment

RSS feed

RSSGet our RSS feed