The 2018 Cannes Lions Festival, which will take place from 18 to 22 June, will host upwards of 70 brands including first-time speakers from Apple, Amazon and Uber, the festival announced today.
The programme's design is a clear response by festival directors to demands from the creative community for more brand insights. Other CMOs joining the lineup include Diageo's Syl Saller, Claudia Willvonseder of IKEA and Elizabeth Rutledge, the New York-based CMO of American Express.
Following the festival restructure announced last year, the Lions Innovation programme is also growing to a five-day event open to all Cannes Lions pass holders. This year's theme will be 'brand transformation', with speakers from L'Oréal, Walmart and Volvo, among others.
Cannes has also "dialled up" on sessions addressing the challenges facing the industry, says Philip Thomas, CEO of Ascential Events and Chairman-Elect of the Cannes Lions this year following the decision of current chairman Terry Savage to step down in June.
A series of 'Creative Debates' will see senior industry figures taking each other to task on questions such as 'Who Will Be Your Next Boss?' a particularly pertinent discussion point in light of Sir Martin Sorrell's recent resignation from WPP and the ensuing questions around the future of the industry.
The Cannes Forum programme also gets a revamp, with a fresh 'Power Hours' slot that will feature three expert speakers each exploring a common theme in a 20-minute session, new game-show style presentations and 'immersive' talks on the rooftop Terrace Stage with musicians Paloma Faith and Jessie Ware, who will speak with Cassandra Gracey, President of Creative at Sony, about the albums they both released shortly after giving birth and the impact of motherhood on creativity.
Other famous names in the programme include the actress Thandie Newton and the Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr, who will discuss his life in music with the radio presenter Edith Bowman. American Olympic figure skater (and king of the one-liner) Adam Rippon and 21-year-old MMA world champion Angela Lee will also bring their perspectives from the world of sport, while directors James Marsh (The Theory of Everything, Man on Wire) and Jonathan Entwhistle (Netflix series The End of the F***ing World) share their learnings on the art of storytelling through film.