Beyond Rose and Yachts, Here Are The Real Takeaways
This column is running as part of a sponsored series by Axonista.
Last week, in 85+ degree weather, some of the media and entertainment world’s most powerful executives congregated at the annual Cannes Lions in linen, boat shoes and summer dresses to toast rose, yacht-party-hop and, perhaps most importantly, transact big-dollar deals.
A conference that began as the center of networking and excellence for creative agencies has now transformed into a hotbed for executives in Hollywood, digital video, startup tech and media to showcase creative innovation and binge-partying skills. Despite what social media might indicate, beyond the boats and toasts, here are the 5 reasons the senior video executives have increasingly prioritized Cannes Lions as a must-attend.
- Hollywood Is Flocking to Cannes In Stronger Numbers — Whether it’s through the performances or to showcase their works to the creative community, Hollywood big wigs are going to the South of France for more than just the film festival. Among them this year were A$AP Rocky, Russell Simmons, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Eddie Vedder and Simon Lebon. NBC Universal was among the traditional Hollywood networks with a presence.
2. VR + AR Hype Has Cooled, ‘Round The World — Last year, virtual reality dominated the conversation and the projects being represented at the Lions but this year, like in many other markets, the hype has cooled. Augmented reality has taken a leap ahead in popularity but this year the themes were on innovation in storytelling and video / digital formats as well as older forms such as short films continued to dominate conversation.
3. Video Is Bigger Than Ever at Cannes Lions — Given nearly ever social video and consumer tech company has announced a version of a video strategy, the tech mob at the Croissette continues with the likes of Twitter, OATH (the new collective formed within Verizon, formerly AOL), Facebook , Shazam, Google / YouTube and Spotify. Other notables including SnapChat, which had a ferris wheel at the Palais, and Cheddar, which has recently made strides in live video via a sequence of partnerships and high level guest booking.
4. Media Companies Are Becoming Penny-Wise — The minimum commitment to send an employee to Cannes Lions is in the thousands, but to activate in the French Riviera takes companies into budgets in the millions. Similar to the dialogue around the Newfronts, Cannes Lions has started catching heat for the high dollar expense that doesn’t directly yield deal flow. Many of our interviewed guests, thanks to Axonista, argued the contrary — that Cannes Lions is a transactional playground, not just a place to glad-hand.
5. Anxiety Is In the air About the Future of Advertising — the party continues but there is hand-wringing about future of advertising and specially the fees associated with advertising right below the surface — especially at a festival that used to be predominantly for Agencies — remember when CES used to be only about tech?
Despite the naysayers or Cannes-curious, Lions continues to be an amazing networking event and one of the few on the US executive circuit that has a distinctly international feel. And with that view, who wouldn’t try to prioritize a trip halfway around the world to sip rose, yacht hop and network tap?