Global Practices

Edelman, Earned Brand, Innovation, Cannes Lions

Ten Lessons From Cannes



As I reflect on my week at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, it struck me once again how critical it is for us to be at the world’s leading creative event. But more importantly, how much we need to take back the lessons and remind ourselves of the task ahead to reimagine our potential as communications marketing professionals. Because to do this, ultimately it is the work that matters. It is our work that matters.  It is all about the work that helps our clients and their brands be bold in their creative aspirations, achieve the unexpected, achieve their business objectives and solve complex business issues.

Here are my top 10 take-aways from the week that was Cannes:

  1. #itsallpr
    The PR Council’s hashtag says it all. Once again we saw a celebration of ideas and work from all marketing disciplines that is work that we do and what we can do for our clients, everyday and in every market.
  2. We Can Be the Lead-idea Agency
    We had more work shortlisted for awards than any other PR agency around the world. Our six Lion wins made us very proud. And we were thrilled with our Gold Lion for the Adobe Photoshop Murder Mystery campaign. That’s a big deal.  That’s a very big deal. More importantly, work that we saw celebrated in categories outside of PR is work that clients need from us. We just need to be brave.
  3. Purpose Work Lives On
    Again, the judges awarded work that “matters.” The chair of the PR Jury said that they looked for work that drove a positive change – in behavior, conversations, minds or lives. Brands are moving from having a brand purpose to having a brand mission and they want to tell that story.
  4. Creativity Does Drive Business
    Marketers know that’s the case. We need to do a better job of showing the impact of our work – not just the output.  That’s not new, but as an industry, we still don’t do it well enough.
  5. Content That Finds People … and Content that People Search For 
    We need to move faster to understand how data and content work together. Because when we do, it works. This is a space that we should own. The data and tech companies were there in force and rightly so. Cannes is a good measure on what marketers need. First, it was about better storytelling. Then it was about using better platforms. Now it is about making it work together with data for good targeting.
  6. Technology-first Ideas Rule 
    We need to build more things. More things that create a consumer experience. If we can combine our creative smarts with our technology know-how, we can create more experiences for marketers to bring their stories alive.
  7. LatAm Rocks
    I haven’t seen the final number split of metal, but the agencies from this region seemed to own every awards ceremony with brilliantly creative campaigns and ideas.
  8. Glass Lions
    This new category will grow. It recognises work that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice through communication. My prediction is that we will see more gender diversity conservations on the main stage next year. Let’s hope that we extend that to a conversation about all diversity.
  9. Companies are Becoming Content Organizations That Need to Tell Stories
    Disney declares it publicly. But most of our clients need to know that they too are content companies – but they need to tell their stories and that’s where we come in.
  10. There’s Irony in That Often FMCG Businesses are Slow
    We can’t let fears or reservations stop us from understanding the power of a great idea and a wonderfully creative campaign. We can all learn from disruptive innovators.

Michelle Hutton, global practice chair, Consumer Marketing.

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