MONDAY 14 MAY 2018 2:39 PM


Taking place in just over a month, the countdown to Cannes Lions has officially begun. From 18-22 June, the renowned location on the French Riviera will play host to the 65th annual Festival of Creativity, with organisations of all shapes, size and purpose attending to showcase their talents. Communicate takes a look at what attendees can expect so far.

This year’s festival schedule was announced in the middle of April, with emphasis on the plethora of brands and creative communities attending this year’s event. Chief among the highlights include attendance by global media companies Google, National Geographic, Sky, Mindshare and Facebook, and industry leaders in the global brand communication space such as Weber Shandwick, Havas, McCann, Saatchi and Saatchi and BBH.  

“This year’s festival features more brands than ever before, and there are many thought provoking topics that will be discussed,” says Jose Papa, managing director of Cannes Lions. “This is a year where the roles, responsibilities, and even the identity of the creative industry is changing. Legends like David Droga and Jeff Goodby will be joined by first-time speakers from Apple, Uber and Amazon in a programme packed with new formats that will really bring the big issues to life.”

Philip Thomas, CEO of Ascential Events and chairman-elect of Cannes Lions says, “The global creative community were very clear about what they wanted from this year’s programme: more insight from brands and more sessions that addressed the challenges facing the industry. We’ve dialled up on both these key areas. There are still lots of the familiar festival favourites, like the New Directors’ Showcase and talks from inspiring creatives, but this year’s visitors can enjoy more interactive sessions and specialist programmes that will equip them with business-critical knowledge and insight.”

Also returning to this year’s festival is China Day, a key part of the Cannes Lions calendar dedicated to exploring Chinese creativity and showcasing the nation’s best ideas through pioneers in the creative industries. This year’s China Day, in partnership with multinational investment holding corporation Tencent, will explore the how, who, what, where and why behind innovations driving the Chinese economy.

A key aspect of this year’s Cannes Lions is diversity in the global brand communications industry, specifically the expansion of the festival’s ‘See It Be It’ programme. Now in its third year, it provides women in the advertising, brand and design industries with the platform to be drivers of change in their global regions. Connecting women with mentors, coaches and industry leaders, See It Be It will this year welcome 20 participants to a specially-curated programme of events.

“This initiative was launched to address the issue of gender disparity in the senior levels of the creative industry. While there has been some progress, the dial is moving far too slowly and by supporting exceptional female talent we believe we’ll help shift the balance,” says Louise Benson, Cannes Lions’ executive lead on See It Be It.

“The programme brings them together to learn from current industry leaders and one another. And this year we have a fantastic partner in Spotify to help enhance the experience and expand it beyond the onsite experience at Cannes Lions,” she says.

Also recognised through its embracement of diversity, albeit through an ongoing commitment to creative storytelling, is Google. The company has picked up 127 Lions in the festival’s history – this year, it is recognised as ‘Creative marketer of the year’ due to the consistent creativity across Google’s brand marketing and application of new technology.

The tech giant also creatives effective campaigns and, crucially, embraces inclusive storytelling such as through its Google Creative Campus. Set to launch at Cannes Lions 2018, with half of the 45 eligible students selected from underrepresented backgrounds, Google Creative Campus the two-week programme aims to ensure advertising and marketing professionals of various backgrounds, experience and perspectives continue to inform the industries.

Lorraine Twohill, chief marketing officer at Google, says, “At Google we build for everyone, and our marketing campaigns must speak to people all around the world with different backgrounds, languages, and points of view. We want to support more talented newcomers who bring different perspectives into the industry. This isn’t about ‘multicultural marketing,’ it’s marketing in a multicultural world. Without this diversity, there is no creativity.”

Previous winners of the ‘Creative marketer of the year’ award include Burger King, Samsung and Coca-Cola.

We will shortly be releasing a Cannes Lions column. Keep up to date on social media or check the website.

View the complete Cannes Lions festival programme on the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2018 website.

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