5 Purposeful Trends to Spot at Cannes Lions 2023

As the International Festival of Creativity celebrates its 70th anniversary frog’s Kara Pecknold unveils this year’s key trends.

Kara Pecknold

Vice President of Regenerative Design Frog


Cannes Lions has long earned its association with prestige and intrigue; a home for celebrity sightings and the creative set. In 2023, for its 70th anniversary, the International Festival of Creativity is still delivering on its trademark seaside glamour and celebrating the world’s most attention-grabbing campaigns, but it’s also raising the stakes for the creative community at-large. For the past few years, the conversation at the infamous festival has surrounded creativity as a tool in driving purpose for people and planet alike.

Frog will be an official partner at Cannes Lions 2023. All week long, we’ll be taking a holistic view toward serving people and planet, hosting our own Cabana along the famous croisette on the theme of ‘Chief Challenges & Creative Confessions.’ Here we’ll be leading panels and live interviews on subjects that matter most to our clients and partners. From a look at festival programming and through conversations with attendees, we see five provocative trends are emerging for Cannes Lions 2023.

1. Creative solutions to the climate crisis

From media to fashion to retail, creative leaders across all sectors are setting their sights on new solutions for a climate in trouble. With the environment finally being treated as a worthy stakeholder, we’re seeing multiple panels and events rising to the challenge to put climate action at the forefront—and we’re hopeful this is a growing trend for even further conversations. Of course, these discussions need to yield more than hype. The EU is already proposing law to take action against greenwashing to protect consumers and the environment. Along with talks on the mainstage at Cannes, grassroots groups like the Clean Creatives will be hosting panels around the role of sustainability in advertising. In the frog Cabana, we’re excited to be speaking with Marina Ponti, Executive Director of UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, to talk about the value of collaboration across roles, industries and geographies to drive positive change for the environment and humanity.

Creative leaders across all sectors are setting their sights on new solutions for a climate in trouble.

Kara Pecknold, Vice President of Regenerative Design, frog

2. Building a purpose-first practice

Purpose-driven initiatives, such as diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are increasingly being recognized as the responsibility of business and creative leads to push forward—rather than a nice-to-have or a mere statistic to drop onto a corporate social responsibility report. Cannes Lions festival programming reflects this, with discussions on topics like the relationship between purpose and profit, principles for attracting top talent from underrepresented voices, as well as sessions celebrating women at the forefront of making change hosted by groups like The Female Quotient.


3. The ethics of emerging technologies

Emerging technology like artificial intelligence and virtual reality are hot topics when it comes to brand storytelling. But at Cannes this year, more important than what these technologies can do with these new tools will be why a business might leverage them in the first place—and what their lasting impact might be on the creative professions and society more broadly. Across festival programming, from Future Gazers panels to discussions hosted by Google about AI and responsibility, ethics and regulation will be crucial aspects of the tech conversation this year.


4. The evolving role of the creative leader

In a business and societal landscape marked by climate crisis, political turmoil and social change—not to mention still reeling from a global pandemic—quarterly thinking comes up short. At Cannes Lions 2023, some of the most celebrated leaders will be demonstrating how they walk the walk. This is perhaps best evidenced by Patagonia founder and former owner Yvon Chouinard being awarded the LionHeart, an honour given to leaders who leverage their position to make a positive impact. In a statement, Chouinard claims that Patagonia is going so far beyond traditional profit-driven practices as to declare the earth as the company’s “only stakeholder.”


5. Innovative strategies for the next economy

The companies that will effectively and meaningfully lead us into the future can no longer afford to ignore the requirements of a changing world all while staying viable as a business. Several Cannes Lions events will explore this future-forward challenge. One meetup promises “Save the World, Grow Your Business—How to Do Both.” In the frog Cabana, we’re dedicating an entire day of programming to the theme of “End of the World vs. End of the Month.” We’ll be hosting a session on Thursday 22 June called “Be the Hero We Need for the Next Economy” exploring what it takes to set a vision and a strategy to lead with people and planet at front of mind.

From 19 – 23 June, the frog Cabana will be open to Cannes Lions attendees. Expect discussions on whitespace innovation, better storytelling through next-level tech, connected product strategies, and balancing the needs of business with that of pressing sustainable  initiatives.

Guest Author

Kara Pecknold

Vice President of Regenerative Design Frog


Kara Pecknold is a VP of Regenerative Design at frog. For 20+ years, she has been supporting her clients to transform products, services, teams and business models. As a global lead of sustainability within the Capgemini Group, she works at the intersection of people and planet by marrying creativity with science to better shape the future of the Next Economy.

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