#CannesLions: 3 Things to Pay Attention to This Year


1) Data Lions

Actively recognizing the growing relationship between data, creative and technology, the Cannes Lions Festival has added the Data Lions. It was only a matter of time—“data,” “big data,” “smart data”…other than “content” these and other data buzzwords have been the most mentioned words across the industry in the past few years.

The Data Lions take center stage with the winners announced at the end of the week. This will be one of the more anticipated categories to be judged because the industry is using data to both power creative and validate it. It’ll be interesting to see how these awards are judged, and how they’ll be judged in the years to come.

2) Glass Lions

Cannes International Festival of Creativity isn’t only about recognizing the world’s best work; it’s also about having the perfect platform for industry shakers to push for change.

This year, Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, has launched the Glass Lions, which she began lobbying for last year. This new category will recognize ads that both explore ideas of gender and specifically address issues of gender inequality or prejudice. It’s larger than just advertising.

Cannes Lions has always raised the bar creatively and been a leader in the educational space. It is now taking on a new challenge by looking at the composition of the industry and driving for gender equality. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see racial inequality tackled next.

3) Cannes outside of Cannes

There are two types of Cannes experiences. The first is the Cannes you register for—the traditional festival, where the major keynotes take place and the winners are awarded. The second is more subtle and hard to attain—the Cannes you get invited to.

Outside of the Palais, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Spotify—to name only a few—dominate the Croisette. The convergence of traditional, digital and media advertising has led to a changing dynamic in our industry, and these meetings and events are now where the smartest conversations happen and the latest features are announced. They are events within the event.

As you’d imagine, tickets are tough to come by. Rumor has it there is a 700+ person waitlist for the Google party on Thursday. If you were fortunate enough to score a ticket, savor the moment.

4) BONUS: Gutter Bar

I’ll throw in one more.

Outside the Hotel Martinez, on the corner, lies Croisette 72. Not many know that’s the actual name for the “Gutter Bar.” The Gutter Bar is…well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the thirsty masses fill the streets from end to end, spilling out into the street’s gutter. The crowd includes the entire spectrum of the ad industry, junior creatives to CEOs from around the world. It is a judgment-free zone and a home for everyone. The herd of people that gather around this holy mecca is fascinating. Places such as this are where some of the best networking and conversations take place.

Disclaimer: Sir Martin was quoted last year as saying, “Don’t climb the back staircase of the Carlton in Cannes”—not all ideas discussed at Cannes are successful.

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