Monday, June 20th, 2016 | 4 min read
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a huge, influential event.
Many worry that it’s become too huge.
In recent years, the festival has come under fire for being oversaturated by brands, techies, and other “non-creatives.”
The critics are right about one thing: Cannes is definitely getting bigger. In 2010, only 6,000 people attended the festival. This year, there will be more than 15,000.
Why are more folks flocking to Cannes? It’s not just the rose and nice weather. Attendees know that there’s no better opportunity to learn from the experts, network with the best in the industry, and see what’s happening in the world of advertising.
More importantly, the growth of Cannes is a reflection of the scope of advertising, which is expanding at a staggering rate. Traditional strategies and tactics have been replaced by new, more agile ones, and the industry as a whole is entering a new and exciting chapter.
So yes, Cannes is bigger. That’s because because advertising itself is bigger – in a way that provides greater opportunities for more brands.
Advertising has changed on a fundamental level. Ad spend is shifting from big-budget one-off campaigns, billboards, and TV toward digital, social media, mobile, personalization, and self-serve platforms. Consider a recent survey, which predicts that internet ad spend will overtake TV by 2018.
Given the myriad new platforms, advertising is no longer based on a single creative spark. It requires a multidisciplinary team that thinks critically across the entire advertising process: management, to analytics, to strategy, to planning, to development.
Audience tastes are changing rapidly, too. Thirty-second TV ads don’t impress consumers like they used to, pricey CGI can bore even a 4-year-old, and celebrity saturation means big name stars are no longer guaranteed to dazzle.
Millennials and Gen Z-ers see right through traditional sales tactics, and instead favor authenticity, relationships, actions, responsibility – things that traditional advertising can’t provide. Social media and content marketing are as much the product of changing audience needs as they are a technology-led development.
Ad agencies have also evolved in order to deliver the sort of material that their audiences actually want to see. For the cutting edge digital teams and creative thinkers who will share their expertise at this year’s festival, Cannes is just as important as it has ever been.
With that in mind, what can marketers, clients, in-house creative teams, techies, and brand managers get from the behemoth that is the Cannes Lions festival?
We can learn. We can compare our work and develop our plans for the upcoming year. We can see things we would have otherwise missed. We can see the work of large, medium, and small agencies from around the world, meet them and decide which ones we want to work with.
We can be enthusiastic about the future of advertising and help shape it for the better.
So from a seasoned Cannes delegate’s point of view, Cannes might not seem as creative or exclusive as it once was. But for those of us who are used to sales conferences, marketing seminars and boring award shows, there’s no better place to get your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of advertising.
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