AdExchanger: Will Cannes Look Any Different Next Year?

By Alison Weissbrot

As agencies struggle to transform under continued fee pressure from clients, executives are reassessing whether descending on the French Riviera for a week of endless rosé and parties on yachts sends the right message about the state of the industry.

“If clients are using zero-based budgeting, let's use it for Cannes,” WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell told AdExchanger in an interview. “Starting from scratch, would we do it in Cannes in the middle of June? We would come up with something different.”

Some agency CEOs agree. The most notable digression came from Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun, who announced last week that the group would not enter the Cannes Lions awards at next year’s festival and instead reinvest the savings in an artificial intelligence platform.

Agency and marketer executives attending the Cannes Lions festival last week contemplated the appropriateness of it all. Here their thoughts.

Cindy Gustafson, CSO, Mindshare

Mindshare is surgical and conscious in how we do these events. We come with very explicit goals. We make time for the work. [We look for] underlying themes and turn them into techniques.

You have to use that momentum. It’s up to the operating companies in every holding company to make something out of Cannes. It’s the same with CES: You can go there and never walk the showroom floor. You can come here and never walk the Palais.

The commonality is, if I could have the same conversation with you in NYC, then we’re not having the right conversation in these environments. When you have conversations at home, [you’re] just showing what you’re doing. These are incubation conversations. It’s thinking a year out, and you want to do it right.

Read the entire piece on AdExchanger.