The rosé flowed as did the accolades for some examples of the best creativity in marketing and advertising at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Now that it’s behind us, I thought it might be interesting to think through some of the things we might see or hear about next year based on what went down this year. Here are a few best guesses.

  1. Societal Issue (TBD) Sets the Tone

    Societal issues were one of the dominating forces in both the content, main stage and side conversations happening at networking events, dinners and cocktail parties. Edelman helped bring Jesse Jackson to the Palais to discuss equality and bridging gaps between races,but if I were to boil this year’s key thematic societal issue, it was probably woman empowerment. It could be felt in the work from Fearless Girl to high profile celebrities like Karlie Kloss (above) discussing her efforts to support women in STEM to conversations with Sheryl Sandberg. Next year there will likely be a different theme (TBD), which helps set the tone for discussion and debate.

  2. Brand Activism Faces More Scrutiny

    Much of the creative work both award winning and submitted showcased brands that were willing to take a stance or take part in societal issues. Heineken* was awarded a Bronze in PR for its efforts to spark a conversation by bringing polarized people together via its Worlds Apart video. Boost Mobile’s “Boost Your Voice” campaign took the Integrated Grand Prix for an idea which converted retail locations in low income areas to polling places. We can expect to see more examples of brand value and values colliding at Cannes in 2018, but expect the bar to be higher. For example, this year’s big winner (Fearless Girl) wasn’t without criticism that the brand behind the activation (State Street) got lost in her shadow. Next year expect to see tighter integration between how brands both bring to life their value proposition while taking a stance aligned with their values.

  3. Agencies Show Up Smarter

    This year’s industry water cooler conversation was dominated by Publicis Groupe when it was announced publically that all agencies under the holding company would be skipping not only at Cannes, but all awards show for a year. The move was hotly contested and debated by Cannes goers and Publicis Groupe’s CEO Arthur Sadoun attempted to clarify, hosting a live Twitter Chat and offering explanation that the company is focusing efforts around its Artificial Intelligence platform named “Marcel.” Regardless of how things shape up for Publicis Group and Marcel — we can expect a ripple effect and increased pressure for agencies to show up more focused and smarter in response.

  4. Robots Get Creative

    [caption id="attachment_132591" align="alignright" width="367"] Mark Renshaw (global chair, Brand practice) unveils the 2017 Earned Brand study[/caption]

    Creativity can’t be automated, right? Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Ad Tech of all kinds were both hot topics and pervasive through Cannes. From firms who positioned themselves to the “Watson of paid media” to building a better chat bot—technology could be felt everywhere.  On the heels of Cannes, Nutella launched over seven million unique package designs that were done by an algorithm vs. a human creator. Next year we might see a robot or two accepting a Lion.

  5. Selfie Moments Will Be Bigger and Better

    The pressure to break through at Cannes this year was palpable. What better way to market to marketers than to give them the ultimate selfie moment? Snapchat did exactly that by constructing a bright yellow and fully branded (and functional) Ferris Wheel. While it may have felt a little over the top — it also gave attendees the perfect “selfie moment” to share across social networks. Next year we can expect bigger and better selfie filled opportunities designed to fill social newsfeeds and extend the experience.Cannes Lions isn’t just a festival that celebrates creativity. It’s where art, technology and advertising come to collide.

For additional thoughts and takeaways — you can view the below video summary. Hope to see you next year!

David Armano is Global Strategy Director.

*Edelman client