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Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook on creative trends and returning to the Croisette


After a two-year hiatus, entrepreneurs from around the globe will as soon as once more journey to the south of France for the Cannes Lions Competition of Creativity subsequent week.

Though the weeklong occasion took on a digital format in 2020 and 2021 because of the ongoing pandemic, the annual gathering is now returning in-person. Lengthy seen as the last word achievement in promoting, the Cannes Lions awards had some rethinking, even earlier than the pandemic, about whether or not it’s value spending just a few days — and quite a lot of {dollars} — to speak store alongside the Croisette.

Ascential Plc, which owns and operates the competition, wouldn’t disclose what number of attendees or delegates might be at Cannes Lions 2022, however mentioned it should have 90 companions sponsoring this yr. Nevertheless, some entrepreneurs say the ambiance may very well be extra tempered subsequent week given the present context. (Subsequent yr will mark the seventieth anniversary of the competition.) The convention can even have a hybrid strategy for individuals to remotely watch talks from wherever they’re on the planet.

Digiday spoke with Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook dinner to listen to extra about how issues have modified and what to anticipate.

This dialog has been flippantly edited and condensed for brevity and readability.

What’s new this yr?

We’ve created 5 Councils For Progress. Our objective at Cannes Lions is to drive objective via creativity. The best way the councils are going to work is we’ve Marc Prichard as the general sponsor of this, however we’ve 5 councils being chaired by distinguished trade individuals and might be made up of 20 to 30 people from throughout the globe with CEOs, CMOs and others. We run a state of artistic survey and we actually requested them what are the largest challenges the trade is going through as effectively and we used that data as the premise for these councils. So we’ve one for sustainability; one for variety, fairness and inclusion; one for expertise; one for enterprise transformation and one for artistic effectiveness. What we’re going to do is use Cannes as a platform for these individuals to come back collectively and set the agenda to make some commitments.

Did you might have problem getting sponsors for this yr, given the unsure nature of the world and varied Covid-19 waves?

We weren’t certain initially of the yr how completely different companions would need to present up on the competition, however they’re. They’re all coming and are excited, however the distinction is that they’re exhibiting up in a extra considerate method. The world over proper now there’s struggle, there’s unrest, and though individuals are coming to the south of France, we need to be delicate to every little thing that’s taking place on the planet proper now. So the large focus of our companions this yr is about connection and benefiting from being collectively so the main focus might be on networking reasonably than events this yr.

What do you imply by that? What’s altering?

For those who assume again to 2019, we had so many levels, a lot content material. And so at anyone time, you could possibly see many, many various talks which had been taking place in parallel with one another. Looking back, that’s fairly overwhelming, particularly for individuals whose schedules are already fairly tight. Additionally, coupled with that, they actually need to use time to have significant conversations, to make connections and to reunite with individuals they haven’t seen since 2019. What we’ve performed is condense the content material, so we’ve much less content material, nevertheless it’s significantly better high quality. After which alongside that, we’ve created extra areas for individuals to community and are available collectively and we’ve launched new expertise in our app to have the ability to try this.

When Publicis Groupe introduced plans to exit Cannes Lions and now not submit for awards, that prompted others to query the competition’s relevancy. What are your ideas just a few years later?

That second has actually handed now, as a result of what we’re seeing is extra manufacturers, extra purchasers coming to the competition and fascinating with the awards than we’ve seen beforehand. [Editor’s note: Total award submissions received for 2022 were not yet announced at the time of this interview.] And that basically is a sign of a pendulum shift from maybe extra of a spotlight in the previous few years on efficiency advertising reasonably than the kind of brand-building artistic that drives enterprise efficiency. And so numerous the manufacturers which can be coming this yr, should you ask them why, it’s as a result of they’re beginning to notice that creativity can be utilized as a pacesetter within the boardroom and a pacesetter for progress. So coming and understanding what it takes to win a Lion and produce world-class creativity is changing into more and more necessary for the model, their companies and the companions they work with.

What themes have risen up by way of messaging, aesthetics and platforms?

We’ll see numerous work that’s targeted on issues like NFTs, metaverse. What we’ve present in earlier years is that when there’s new expertise and there’s a little bit of a buzz, it positively comes via within the awards. But it surely’ll be fascinating to see what occurs in 2023 and 2024 as a result of it’s a transparent indication of whether or not that form of expertise is adopted after we begin to not see it coming via within the awards. It’s solely when the expertise turns into invisible and an inherent a part of the work that you simply’ve obtained an actual signal of adoption and one thing taking off.

Crypto is in a tailspin. How does that change the advertising world’s dialog round Web3 for this yr?

We noticed one thing related a few years in the past with gaming. Immediately within the work, we noticed this theme of gaming being hacked for model messages and we actually noticed that with the likes of the Grand Prix with Wendy’s, which has performed that basically effectively. When one thing begins to grow to be the norm, that’s when you’ll be able to form of get a sign that it’s simply grow to be a part of the panorama and the ecosystem reasonably than being a brand new shiny factor, a brand new shiny toy that folks shout about rather a lot.

Quite a few finalists for 2019 innovation awards had been manufacturers that used tech to assist individuals with impaired sight, listening to, mobility or different accessibility points. Has that pattern continued?

One of many tendencies we’ve seen prior to now few years has been promoting that doesn’t appear like promoting. So actual enterprise options or options for society which can be tackling real-world issues reasonably than having a advertising message first. Final yr I believed it was fascinating as a result of for the primary time we began to see “creativity for good” — as lots of people name it — however in actually good ways in which really reinforce a model’s technique. In earlier years, what we noticed was numerous work the place manufacturers had been maybe attaching themselves to causes that weren’t very complementary and it felt like a little bit of a plug-in like good for the sake of excellent. However now it’s coming collectively actually seamlessly.

What different tendencies have you ever not too long ago observed that you simply’ll be anticipating subsequent week?

It’s been a really experimental time. There are many companies and types on the market who’re positively making an attempt to think about what their NFT technique is or what their Web3 technique goes to be. It’ll be fascinating to see what sticks, to my earlier level. One of many issues simply to counter that although is we’re additionally seeing — and it’s coming via within the themes and content material this yr — is a return or a little bit of a renaissance of tried and examined advertising techniques. Virtually like a getting-back-to-basics theme that’s coming via. And that juxtaposition is basically fascinating: There’s an experimental wave we’re all driving, however on the similar time, individuals are actually returning to the tried and examined elements that basically work.

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Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook on creative trends and returning to the Croisette



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