How the Geeks Will Inherit Cannes Lions


Advertising Age just published a round up of last week's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and took a look at five of the hottest topics discussed. There was controversy surrounding the judging of the Media Lions. There was the acknowledgement of technology's increasingly important role in advertising. There was the growing debate over the relevance of effectiveness in judging work. There was the shifting viewpoint among giants P&G and Unilever over the importance of copy testing. And there was a bit of hang wringing over the increase in the number of clients (as compared to agencies) attending the festival and whether or not Cannes will transform itself from a festival of creativity into a global marketing event.

And it is this last point that, in our mind, is worth further exploration. It appears Cannes is undergoing the same seismic shift our U.S.-based SXSW has experienced over the last few years. Just as Cannes was once a small conclave of agency types, SXSW was once a small conclave of early adopter widget heads. Now, both events have, rightly so in our opinion, expanded to include other elements of their respective domains.

Just as SXSW has expanded to include marketers who have finally realized that technology is an incredibly important driving factor for their businesses, so has Cannes realized (or has been pushed to realize) that advertising is not the exclusive purview of creativity.

Both events are going to continue to grow. And there will be growing pains. And there will be complaints. And there will be hand wringing over the degree of change and whether or not each event should be split into multiple events. But as we all know, change is inevitable. And it keeps us on our toes. And we think that's a very good thing.

Not too long ago it was laughable a creative idea could emanate from anywhere but from within the creative department of an advertising agency. Now we see creativity emanate from all corners including clients, media planners and even geeky widget heads who believe any problem can be solved with proper coding.

And this is only going to continue because creativity knows no boundaries. While in the past creativity may have been stymied a bit by corporate silos and limited channels through which it could be expressed, today (actually since the birth of the web in 1994), there truly is no limit to who can create and where that creativity can find an audience.

So just as the tech-focused SXSW continues to transform itself into a broader marketing-centric event where it is recognized entire corporate behemoths (ahem...Twitter) are born out of one geek's use of code to create a brand, Cannes Lions will welcome the geeks and continue to transform itself into an event that recognizes creativity isn't limited to an art director/copywriting team inside an advertising agency.

by Steve Hall    Jun-25-12   Click to Comment   
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion