International Festival of Creativity attracted around 20,000 attendees
As the Mediterranean sun set on the famous Croisette in the picture-postcard town of Cannes last Friday night, local hoteliers, catering companies, event managers, yacht charter firms and municipality workers were probably breathing a sigh of relief.
Having already played host to a string of festivals and awards ceremonies over the past few months, including the Cannes Film Festival in May, the estimated 20,000 or so who rocked into the town for the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, aka the Cannes Lions, had finally packed their bags and dispersed in the direction of Nice airport.
This year the Irish delegation, which was led by IAPI, an industry trade organisation, was just short of 80 people with most of those in attendance drawn from creative and media agencies, a few tech companies as well as a number of marketers working with the likes of Diageo, Allianz, PepsiCo, Three Ireland, Aer Lingus and Electric Ireland.
After a two-year hiatus caused by the global pandemic, the five-day in-person event was the perfect antidote to the Zoom webinars and Teams meetings that we have all become used to during lockdown.
But lockdown was also a period of profound change for brands and the agencies that work for them. And Cannes provides a platform from which to discuss the many issues impacting on the industry.
Not surprisingly, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, creative effectiveness, data, and business transformation and e-commerce were high on the agenda this year. And no self-respecting marketing and advertising shindig these days would be complete without a heady discussion involving the metaverse, Web3 and NFTs – particularly amongst agencies that view these new digital pastures as the rich pickings of the future.
Who knows, maybe Cannes might move lock, stock and barrel to the metaverse over the next few years. Given the amount of money that is involved – Cannes generated £54m (€63m) in revenues for its owner, Ascential, in 2019 – I somehow doubt it.
Cannes, of course, was once the sole preserve of big agency holding groups. That old-world hegemony has been well and truly shattered in recent years by Big Tech. This year, for example, companies such as Twitter, Google, Meta, TikTok, Comcast, Spotify and Pinterest hogged the popular beaches with their swish cabanas and lavish beach parties.
Elsewhere gaming companies like Twitch and Activision Blizzard vied for attention alongside telecom giants Verizon and T-Mobile, while the so-called “cagencies” and newer tech and consultancy-led companies the Brandtech Group, S4, Accenture Song, Deloitte and PwC were also out in force.
The latter used the event to publish its latest ‘Global Entertainment & Media Outlook for 2022-2026’ report, which went some way in crystallising the serious business opportunities that are likely to present themselves in the advertising, media, gaming and entertainment industries. After a brief decline in 2020, the PwC report noted that the global entertainment and media industry is likely to be worth $2.5trn (€2.4trn) this year, rising to $2.6trn in 2023 and to a whopping $2.9trn by 2026.
Most, if not all, the attendees at Cannes would like a slice of that action.
While it’s easy to be cynical about events like this because of the amount of back-slapping, schmoozing and boozing that allegedly takes place in the evenings – so what?
For most agencies winning a Cannes Lions award is the ultimate accolade and validation of the importance of creativity in marketing and advertising. It’s also an opportunity for them to get together with like-minded people to discuss and plot the future of a constantly evolving marketing ecosystem. Standing still for agencies is not an option.
For clients and their brands, meanwhile, Cannes is a great opportunity to temporarily switch off from the day job and plug into some of the big ideas and developments that are having a major impact on the world and their customers while reacquainting many of them with the power of positivity, creativity and innovation which is on display everywhere you go in Cannes.
Who wouldn’t want to raise a glass of rose to that?
Mike Garner, one of the advertising industry’s top creative directors, is leaving Core to set up his own consultancy business. Garner will leave Core in July, having worked with the marketing communications group since 2019. He has also worked with a number of leading agencies including Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi and more recently with Chemistry, the agency he co-founded in 1999. He recently picked up the Lifetime Achievement award in the ICAD Awards 2022.
One of the biggest advertising contracts in the state is out to tender. The CIÉ contract covers the supply and management of advertising formats on the Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann fleets as well as nationwide rail and bus stations and bridges and a roadside billboard portfolio.
The current contract is managed by Global (formerly Exterion Media), which won the business in 2014 while securing a two-year extension in 2019.