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And ... it’s back
Today the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicked off in the south of France for the first time since 2019. Ad Age, as always, has an editorial team on the ground—Brian Bonilla, Ann-Christine Diaz, Parker Herren, Alexandra Jardine, Jack Neff, Dan Peres and Garett Sloane—to offer you exhaustive (and exhausting) coverage. Your one-stop shop for all that: Special Report: Cannes Lions.
Cannes do’s—and don’ts
If Cannes seemed a little quieter than usual pre-Day One, chalk it up to, uh, supply chain issues—because the supply of attendees has been affected by knotty travel headaches, including maddening flight delays. We’ve heard estimates that well over 1,000 people were expected to arrive late. One executive from Kantar decided to just drive from London rather than keep waiting to get rebooked after a flight cancellation, and a TikTok exec went on a shopping spree upon arriving because his intended wardrobe was lost in a baggage-mishandling incident.
If you’re in Cannes and need to vent about an unexpected indignity, tweet us @adage with the hashtag #cannesdont and we might quote you in one of this week’s editions of Cannes Today.
The Croisette heats up
Early on, one agency CEO described Cannes this year as “appropriately mellow,” our Brian Bonilla notes. Part of that might have to do with the fact that Lions entries are down. “Despite the awards being back in full,” Ad Age’s Alexandra Jardine reports, “the overall numbers still represent a decline from the past two years. Awards entries totaled 25,464, down from 29,074 in 2021 and 30,953 in 2019.” Entries, though, for some categories—including the Creative Commerce Lions and Titanium Lions—increased. Keep reading here for all the details.
All that said, by Monday afternoon, parts of Cannes were certainly heating up. Ad Age’s Parker Herren described Google Beach as “absolutely bumpin’” with lines to get into the invitation-only strip of sand every time he’s passed by on the way to and from various events and meetings. (More on Google Beach later.) And Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz said that at the Palais, “queues wrapped outside and inside the building to see marquee events.”
Diaz added that “the sweltering, humid, 80-degree-plus heat under the Mediterranean sun ... is making any extra piece of clothing, including delegate name badges, feel like a fur coat.”
Dentsu’s big announcement
Dentsu chose the first day of Cannes to unveil what Bonilla calls “a sweeping reorganization.” To wit: “Dentsu has consolidated its creative agencies under the network it has dubbed Dentsu Creative. Dentsu CEO Wendy Clark and Dentsu Global Chief Creative Officer Fred Levron announced the move, which will consolidate DentsuMB, 360i and Isobar under one name. ... Dentsu Creative will be comprised of 9,000 creative employees in 46 markets connected to 37,000 media and customer experience management employees across Dentsu International. It will collaborate closely with Dentsu’s creative team in Japan.”
The Cannes winners circle
Have you won anything at Cannes yet? If you have, congratulations! If you haven’t, well, are you sure? Best to double-check by referring to Special Report: Cannes Lions, which we’re updating in real-time.
Spotted (virtually): Zelenskyy
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports, made a surprise virtual appearance at Cannes on Monday, calling on the world’s creatives to join the fight for the country’s freedom in its war with Russia. His talk came during a “Creativity Under Bombs” presentation from Ukrainian creatives at the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumière.
Zelenskyy, as always, knew how to work the room. Appearing via livestream on a towering screen, he told attendees, “We need people like you. You are the most brave people in the world, always on the cutting edge, whether it’s the refugee flag, the Fearless Girl, the ice bucket challenge or the ‘Rivers of Life.’ Every time you find the words and images to reach the depths of the human soul. You make people talk about issues everyone would otherwise overlook.”
Spotted (IRL): Spot
Spot the Dog—one of those vaguely terrifying robotic canines made by Boston Dynamics—also made an appearance at Cannes, as noted by Keith Weed on Twitter. In Weed’s video clip, Spot can be seen confidently trundling up a ramp to take the stage at a WPP event, which (forgive us) prompted flashbacks of the “Metalhead” episode of Netflix’s “Black Mirror.”
Stay tuned to Cannes Lions 2022 Live Updates for more Cannes sightings.
Snapchat-ready and Instagram-worthy activations
“A partnership between Vogue and Snapchat has taken over the Centre d’art La Malmaison, featuring fresh-off-the-runway designs from Balenciaga, Dior, Gucci, Kenneth Ize, Richard Quinn, Stella McCartney and Versace,” Ad Age’s Parker Herren reports. “Each designer’s room is decked out in their respective styles—pure gold for Versace, mushrooms and flowers sprouting from the walls for McCartney—that come alive via a showcase of Snapchat’s AR functionality. Each room also includes a mirror that will clothe the viewer in the displayed looks à la Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.”
And across the street, Herren adds, “Shutterstock’s Cannes outpost is wrapped in walls of LED screens with moving designs that especially come alive at night. Inside, a gallery of hanging screens connects the user’s phone to Instagram filters curated for the space that animate cotton candy-colored clouds for a sweet selfie.”
Looking for a less over-the-top Cannes outdoor-advertising experience that doubles as a celebrity sighting (kinda)? Ad Age’s Diaz spotted this “atypically normal” two-story wrap-around Ryan Reynolds billboard for MNTN, the ad tech company where Reynolds is chief creative officer.
• “Snap’s Evan Spiegel discusses Elon Musk’s Twitter deal and data privacy at Cannes”—Brian Bonilla has five takeaways on the Snap CEO’s Cannes session.
• “Accenture Song’s out-of-home ‘game’ celebrates employees’ favorite tunes at Cannes”—Alexandra Jardine on the consulting giant’s conspicuous presence on the French Riviera.
• “Cannes in the metaverse”—Asa Hiken on McCann Worldgroup’s “MWverse” virtual gallery.
• “TikTok tells brands at Cannes how it aims to win millions of advertisers”—Garett Sloane on the social platform’s plans to ramp up.
Ad Age’s Jack Neff tells us he heard one attendee in Le Suquet—Cannes’ old quarter—saying that he could tell the advertising people from the tourists: “I asked him how. He said, ‘From their mouths. If they’re talking bullshit, it’s advertising people.’”