Cannesdidates 2017 – First Impressions

James Paige and Noel Jennings

The first thing that hit us when entering the Cannes Lions Festival was the sheer diversity of the people that occupied it. From all corners of the world, all aspects of the industry, everyone is here to celebrate all things creative which is undoubtedly at the heart of the work we do – whether that be how and where we speak to our consumers or the actual physical end product. So here are our first ‘Cannesdidates’ impressions from our first day at the biggest event in the media calendar.

First on the agenda was ‘Cannes Futurists’ with Oath’s (formerly AOL’s) David Shing a.k.a. Shingy doing what he does best. Held on the Oracle Deck, the session itself was very inspiring and had him in among the crowd sparking up topics that the audience wanted to hear about. The main focus of the session was the future, which we can already see is a major topic at all of the sessions we have been to, with questions like, ‘what’s the next big thing in tech’ and ‘what can you see the big players [Facebook, Twitter, Google] pushing product-wise over the next few years’. There were some interesting answers, however they all seemed to revolve around progression in tech, which isn’t exactly a surprise to any of us, is it?

Kimberly Kadlec, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing Platform, Visa, Inc. | Suzy Deering, Chief Marketing Officer, eBay | Catherine Balsam-Schwiber, Chief Content Officer, Mattel | Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer, Marriot

Later in the day we attended ‘Transforming Advertising with Data-Driven Creativity’ which showcased the use of data across different industries. The promotion of women at Cannes is rightly prominent and it was great to see four women dominating the stage. The GMO of Marriot, CMO of Ebay, SVP, Global Marketing Platforms of Visa, Inc. and CCO of Mattel progressing the world of ad tech. The talk was fascinating, initially focusing on the Amazon and Whole Foods, which of course everyone sees as a very interesting development, identifying that people need to focus on the use of tech to stay ahead of the market and realise there is now a new major player in the market. As well as this they were discussing the issue of tech in media – there are obviously various troubles trying to merge different data sets with technology, so the hope is that in the near future they’ll be able to be integrate seamlessly. At the rate that the data/tech train is travelling at the moment, this doesn’t seem too far off.

We’ve heard so many 2 letter acronyms, we’ll never be stuck on those final scrabble pieces ever again! AR, AI, VR, MR, FX, HR (no not the people team, Hyper Reality is a thing) – the point being that all of these have only surfaced in the past few years, yet seem to already be a main topic of the festival this year, which goes to show how quickly our industry is changing/adapting to the needs of consumers. The likes of Ebay and Amazon have been quizzed on how they believe AI is going to impact their business over the next few years and it’s clear to see that the big players have already got a clear vision as to how they’ll be taking new tech on board in order to grow/maintain their customer base.

All of this is takes place in 31-degree heat along the beautiful French Riviera. Along the front, huge players like YouTube, Twitter, NBC and Spotify take over whole sections of beach to essentially throw huge parties. Events are held every day which stretch the full length of the coast, but the majority of seminars are held in the main Lions complex. Work hard play hard right?