Does the Cannes Lions Festival still matter?

Find out what our MD Becky McKinlay said when The Drum asked her whether the Cannes Lions Festival still matters….

Yes, Cannes still matters. Or maybe I should say Yes, Cannes (still) matters (for the time being).

Right now, on the world stage, Cannes clearly does still matter. One example of this is the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, who worked hard to target the Festival and provoke action amongst attendees – proof of Cannes’ perceived relevance, profile and influence.

But to make sure this relevance endures for clients, agencies and the industry as a whole – Cannes needs to ensure it is focused on showcasing the impact, business benefit and value of creativity -and not allow itself, or its partners to become too self-indulgent or myopic.

The Festival needs to put substance over style – clients should be at the heart of how it operates, not just seen as an excuse to break out the Bolly. A very telling comment from a former client I bumped into who had returned to Cannes after a number of years struck a chord:

“The longer I stay there, drinking their champagne and marvelling at the excess and how they afford all of this, the more I am sure I will put my agency budget elsewhere. Because there’s only one way the agencies can afford this, and that’s by using monies clients pay them. My budget is stretched enough – it all needs to be focused on maximizing results.”

The networking, panels and debates are where the value is and this is where the organisers, clients, agencies and partners need to focus. Sessions like ‘Wake up With The Economist’ help us learn, think about how we can apply new thinking to our business, and how we can future proof our business and strategies.

To make sure Cannes continues to matter, it needs to position itself as an outward-looking forum which brings together the world’s leading creatives, media thinkers and practitioners to discuss and debate the marketing challenges of the day. If it’s just a jamboree of awards for activity that has never been seen outside the industry, and a contest to see which group entertains with most excess, the sun will start setting on Cannes.

Read the full article here.

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