The Countdown to Creativity – Cannes Lions 2017

The 64th iteration of the annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity commences on Saturday and I’ve taken a sneak peak at the schedule of events to see what’s hot and what’s not.

Over the past decade, the trend at Cannes has been to focus on star appeal and judging by the snaking queues to get into these events it’s clearly a tactic that works. Hollywood A listers such as Gwyneth PaltrowWill Smith and Channing Tatum took centre stage last year at the Palais. And the line-up this year is arguably more impressive with the likes of Alicia Silverstone, Armin Van Buuren, Demi Lovato, Ellie Goulding, Halle Berry, Dame Helen Mirren, Laura Dern, Mena Suvari, Ron Howard, Ryan Seacrest, Simon Le Bon and Sir Ian McKellen treading the boards of Debussy and Lumiere.

But beyond the glamour and glitz of the celebrity guests, there is also much more to enjoy across the 8 days / 18 stages / 450+ talks on offer to the 15,000 or so delegates. Many of the presentations revolve around how the media landscape continues to morph as almost everything becomes digitized, plus a strong focus on how brands are increasingly turning to entertainment content to engage with their customers. Featured themes include curated talks on aspects of our industry including diversity, creativity for good, visions of the future and brave brands.

It’s difficult to pick out individual slots but one session that caught my eye was “Can Data Make You Funnier” featuring Ginger the Robot who is billed as a “professional robot actor and comedian”. It poses the question as to whether a robot, through the use of big data, can master one of the most difficult skills a human can achieve: to make others laugh. Not an easy task but I’d wager that Ginger can’t be any worse than Harry Hill.

Cannes Events beyond the Palais

But it’s not all about what happens at the Palais as the event has inevitably expanded onto the Croisette and its beautiful beaches. Both Facebook and Google have a slew of fireside chats and seminars down by the sea and OMD will be back at their usual Cabana location for the 5th OMD Oasis.

This year the four key themes will be:

  • Smarter Stories for Growth
  • Everything is media
  • Anything is content
  • Everywhere is data

There is also a pretty impressive list of speakers including Imran Khan (Snapchat), Mark Thompson (New York Times) and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) to name but a few. All that and Bacardi cocktails from 4.00pm. What’s not to like?

 

The Coveted Cannes Lions

And finally to the awards themselves, which is the real reason why this event exists. Allegedly. The past two years have been particularly strong with the likes of the Volvo ‘Live Test’ featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two trucks and the cute John Lewis Christmas campaign by Manning Gottlieb featuring Monty the Penguin.

This year a total of 390 judges from 50 countries (including OMD EMEA’s President, Nikki Mendonça) will pore over an estimated 45,000+ entries. And given that ‘diversity’ is a core theme of the event this year it’s interesting to note that 42% of this years judges are women which is the highest ever (and more than double the number from 2012).

It’s a tad too early to predict who the likely winners will be this year (many of the shortlists haven’t been released yet) but I fully expect a focus on ‘bravery’ given the highlight on the agenda. And with all new categories this year for 360° video, VR and AR it’s reasonable to assume that the ultimate winners will have an element of these new technologies as a focal part of their composition. For a full review of all winners and a ‘best of’ review of the 2017 Lions look out for my blog late next week. Until then ‘bonne chance’ and ‘a toute à l’heure’. Je pense.

 

 For any additional information, thoughts or further details please don’t hesitate to contact us at OMD EMEA

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Steve Blakeman

Steve Blakeman is a Global Account Director, OMD Europe. Previously, he was the CEO, Asia Pacific – OMD. Prior to that, he was Global Chief Integration Strategy Officer (Asia Pacific) for IPG Mediabrands (Initiative & Universal McCann). He has also had stints as worked as Managing Partner at Omnicom Media Group owned media agency, PHD where he successfully launched their second office in the UK. He began his career at JWT and has over two decades of experience in advertising, media and marketing communications.

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