The past week has been one of the most electrifying, inspiring weeks of my life. I was lucky enough to join a handful of creatives from around the globe in the Young Lions Creative Academy. It was five days of full-on mind-bending creative discovery. I’m not gonna lie, it was intense. And amazing. I’m beyond grateful to have been given this opportunity. Here are just a few takeaways from what will henceforth be known as the most magical week EVER.
Brand experience beaucoup.
It’s impossible to walk down the Promenade de la Croisette which is the fancy French name of the main street that runs along the beach in Cannes—without being inundated with brand experiences. Microsoft, Google, Shutterstock, Marketo, Accenture. Even the BBC World News got in on the action. The street is teeming with pop-ups, charging stations, cabanas, lounges, and full-blown beach takeovers. Need to get to the airport in Nice? Take the Uber helicopter. It takes off right by the Pandora yacht, which is just past the white iHeartMedia yacht, not to be confused with the red iHeartMedia yacht (more on yachts later). Brand ambassadors roll down the blue carpet on branded Segways distributing flyers, buttons, sunglasses, beach towels, drink vouchers, ChapStick, and mercifully, sunscreen. There isn’t a square inch of this gorgeous place that hasn’t been sold, and rightfully so. We are here with thousands of people who make and sell ads for a living, after all.
Did I mention the yachts?
Extravagance knows no limits in Cannes. We’re talking serious bling. Almost comical levels of bling. I read somewhere that there are 703 yachts here for the week. 703. Yachts.
Everywhere you look, bottles of rosé the size of small children are being uncorked. Meanwhile, cocktails at the Carlton terrace cost $30 and people you meet at parties casually mention their homes in Bali. It’s making sense now why Prada bags are listed as wardrobe staples in Ad Age’s “What to wear in Cannes” article. Somehow I managed to get by without one. All this to say, it’s good to be part of an industry that makes some people a lot of money but — Cannes is not real life.
Inspiration can come from anywhere.
I heard a lot of different speakers this week. I mean A LOT of speakers. From Marilyn Manson to Jeff Goodby. The AOL Digital Prophet to an asteroid physicist from MIT. Busta Rhymes. Ryan Seacrest. Pharrell. Ok, now I’m just bragging…but while you may be wondering what on Earth some of these people have to do with advertising—I know I was—the truth is all of these people are crazy creative. The fact that many of them are so successful in other industries made what they had to say, and the festival in general, that much more interesting.
Do something emotional.
The common thread I detected from over 25 hours of keynotes is this: people respond to work that appeals to basic human emotion. It sounds simple, I know, but I think it’s easy to lose sight of this fundamental piece of wisdom in our world of clicks and apps, pixels and cords. You can have all the shiny new technology in the world, but no one cares unless it makes them feel something. A good example of a brand getting it right is the Always #LikeAGirl campaign, which, by the way, cleaned up the festival. Super simple. Hyper emotive. Massively successful.
The most interesting hairstyle in the world.
I’ll leave you with some sage advice. Don’t even think of trying to pass yourself off as a creative in Cannes if you don’t have a man bun. Seriously.
Want more insights from the Cannes Lions Festival? Read our white paper Cannes guide to buzzwords: 8 newbies on what’s real and what matters to brand experience to learn about the marketing trends you can’t afford to miss.