Cannes Is On; We’re On Cannes

Every year, thousands of advertising and marketing folk head off to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which is a very long way of saying that a bunch of ad biz talents head off to get hammered in the sun while having an orgy of self-congratulation.

Well, not really. That’s the rap on it. While there’s some truth to that, the festival is packed with thought-provoking talks, interesting celebrities, and the occasional has-been. Last year, we had Rob Lowe, Courtney Love, and my favorite rage-read, Maureen Dowd. We had David Hasselhoff attempting to demonstrate instant digital community. Instead, he demonstrated the perils of working without a net. We had the creators of Downton Abbey and Doctor Who who shared the secrets of how you go about creating a global phenomenon. It boiled down to this—have an incredible amount of talent, a kick-ass idea, personal indomitability, and a fair bit of luck.

This year, we’ve got Tim Berners-Lee on AI, Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan on millenials (the ersatz monolith currently bewitching the ad biz), Pharrell Williams on collaboration (and on how to wear a hat, too), Jamie Oliver on innovation, Monica Lewinsky on cybershaming, and Tinder founder (and ousted CEO) Sean Rad on something that I’ve decided to swipe left on.

Last year, we recognized gender inequality in our industry. This year, the Lions have launched a new award—the Glass Lion—to recognize work that “implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality.” Odd that the award symbolizes the very thing women have to break through.

But no matter what that killjoy Stuart Elliot has to say, this festival is about the work. Our work is covering the sessions, bringing you all the insight, inspiration, and perspectives from the week here, that is if we can hear ourselves over the endless honking of the wedding parades. Our social animals will be blanketing the chattersphere via their badass mobile command center.


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