Our two editors on the scene, Robert Sawatzky and Faaez Samadi, covered Cannes Lions 2017 liveblog-style, posting videos, quick takes on interviews and events, and linking to more in-depth coverage. You can also check out our running tally of Cannes Lions winners and see all Cannes-related content.
Carter Murray, Global CEO, FCB
5:30 pm, Friday, 23 June (Cannes time)
Climbed aboard FCB’s boat for a great impassioned discussion with CEO Carter Murray. He offered a strong counterpoint to the Publicis decision to abandon creative awards shows this coming year. Read It here exclusively on Campaign.
His other passionate issue was in pursuing gender diversity, especially at the executive level. We discussed key markets like India and China and he hinted at some important developments ahead for FCB in Asia. Keep watching Campaign Asia for more details in the coming days and weeks.
Lunch with Mark Heap, APAC CEO, MediaCom
12:30 pm, Friday, 23 June (Cannes time)
Campaign sat down for a nice lunch with Mark Heap where he shared his experiences of being on this year’s media jury. What struck him was the dearth of FMCG brands making the shortlist and the absence of B2B brands.
Some brands which did win big like ‘Fearless Girl’ for State Street, did not feature the brand prominently in the work.
Not-for-profit dominated the field and Heap felt that while so many worthy campaigns garnered support in the form of social media likes, it was the few that demonstrated a real change of behaviour that stood out.
Breakfast with Cheil global CCO Malcolm Poynton
9:30 am, Friday, 23 June (Cannes time)
Had a wonderful breakfast with Cheil’s top creative. Poynton is often sought out for his insights on digital marketing and we had a long chat about what needs to happen with VR to be taken to the next level and where the future of mobile marketing is headed.
He also weighed-in on the buzz around Publicis pulling out of awards this year. I’ll be updating my story, In Cannes, the second-guessing begins.
Video: Aline Santos, Unilever & Joelle Tanguy, UN Women
10:30 am, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
Aline Santos, global marketing EVP and head of diversity at Unilever, and Joelle Tanguy, director of strategic partnerships at UN Women, told me why now is the time for the Unstereotype Alliance to promote progressive gender portrayal in advertising.
Video: Orla Mitchell, Wrigley & Clarence Mak, Mars Food
8:30 am, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
A short segment on finding the balance between data and creativity with Orla Mitchell, global CMO of Wrigley, and Clarence Mak, chief marketing and customer officer at Global Foods at Mars Inc.
Day Four wrapup
6 am, Friday, 23 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
All aboard the BBH Black Sheep boat
5:30 pm, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
I climbed aboard my second boat at Cannes to meet with BBH. I had planned to meet global CEO Neil Munn, but he was at the big Publicis meeting with Arthur Sadoun. Fortunately I had also agreed to meet global chief creative Pelle Sjoenell (above) and Singapore ECD Joakim Borgstrom.
I naturally asked for their thoughts on the Publicis award freeze, but they were quite diplomatic. You can read their comments in my article In Cannes, the second-guessing begins. I also spoke with Sjoenell at length about branded entertainment and what BBH is doing in the field. Sjoenell was a Lions Entertainment judge this year.
Coffee with Annette Male, APAC CEO, Digitas LBI
4 pm, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
Grabbed a coffee with Digitas’ Annette Male who updated me on recent wins and a surge in new business out of Singapore and how Digitas is working side by side with SapientRazorfish, with a clearer focus now for each.
Before Male headed for a top-level meeting with Arthur Sadoun, I also asked her about the Publicis decision to withdraw from awards this year. You can find her comments in my article, In Cannes, the second-guessing begins.
Sitdown with Alison Lewis, J&J
3 pm, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
Had a very interesting discussion with Alison Lewis, global CMO of Johnson & Johnson. She gave her thoughts on taking marketing and creative services in-house, the keen competition in Asia-Pacific, and the relationship between product and marketing innovation. Will go more in-depth in a separate article.
Sound advice from MassiveMusic
2:30 pm, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
Last night’s big MassiveMusic party was still lingering for its management-team members Moos Lamerus and Tamon Fujimi, who told me about the six-month party planning process.
Cannes is where MassiveMusic first launched and the party is year is a classic. Of course, it’s a great big costly calling card, but one they feel is worth it.
Moos and Tamon walked me through the business of matching music with brands and how they work to create a brand’s sonic identity.
Sitdown with Matt Sutton, AdParlor
2 pm, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
A spot of lunch with Matt Sutton, APAC CEO of AdParlor. Delved into the clamour for transparency in the adtech sector, the brand safety debate, and AdParlor's move into digital consultancy, as well as some rather tasty fish. Full article to follow.
Chief Creatives on the Beach: technology inspires
1 pm, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
I came back to Cannes beach for more today, my second chance to moderate a great panel of chief creatives. We focused a lot on technology, quite fitting for Dentsu Inc head of digital creative Yasuharu Sasaki, who has a computer-science background and incorporates coding in his work. He talked about his work for snack company Glico, which helped kids to learn coding by instructing them to arrange chocolate biscuits into real computer code.
BBDO Atlanta’s chief creative Robin Fitzgerald talked about the need for diverse skills along with a diverse team, while FCB Mexico’s chief creative Humberto Polar talked about how Latin American agencies are doing more with less in their digital campaigns.
Sitdown with Aline Santos, Unilever, and Joelle Tanguy, UN Women
11:45 am, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
Managed to grab a few minutes with Aline Santos, global marketing EVP and head of diversity at Unilever, and Joelle Tanguy, director of strategic partnerships at UN Women. We talked about the launch of the Unstereotype Alliance, a platform of more than 20 brands, agencies and holding companies coming together to tackle gender stereotypes in advertising—video to follow.
Santos said Unilever began the journey a year ago at Cannes, when it announced its commitment to portray progressive advertising in all its brands.
“We made a lot of progress, but we were tiny compared to what could be done,” she told me. “Then from talking with UN Women, we saw a fantastic opportunity to convene a group of people that together could start to really move the needle and make a difference.”
Putting industry competition aside, the founding members of the alliance are Unilever, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and WPP/Kantar. Santos said all parties agreed that “better, more progressive portrayal of people [in advertising] shouldn’t be an advantage for any particular brand. It should be the industry norm”.
Tanguy added: “The industry has been conveying archaic norms about women. But we now have a critical mass of champions that have done some great work in-house, and we’re now trying to take that to scale with them.”
Among the ideas discussed for next steps were creating a code of conduct for advertisers, and establishing a clear measurement framework for progressive advertising.
Day Three wrapup
10 am, Thursday, 22 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
Our thoughts on a very busy third day at Cannes, before we wind down at Campaign's Cannes party on Carlton beach.
Massive Music & MediaMonks party
9:30 pm, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
Our Campaign party was followed by late-night entertainment from Massive Music and MediaMonks, where plans were afoot to beam a dance tune into outer space. Take a look at the photo gallery for more.
Campaign Cannes Lions party
6 pm, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
It was another great night at Campaign's annual Cannes Lions party, hosted at the Carlton Beach. For more snaps, check out the photo gallery.
Sitdown with Sarah Wood, Unruly
4:30 pm, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Had a fantastic talk with Sarah Wood, co-founder and CEO of Unruly, about all things video: technology, brand safety, viewability, measurement, and being a futurist. Extended interview piece to come.
Sitdown with Dentsu chief creatives
3:15 pm, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Met up with Dentsu Inc’s chief creative officer Yuya Furukawa and Dentsu’s APAC chief creative Ted Lim. They were interviewed by Campaign’s Atifa Silk about the new business of creativity. They talked about the immense tools at Dentsu’s disposal to put to use.
Lim shared how when he first arrived at Dentsu and saw they had robots he felt like a kid in a toy store. “We do everything” agreed Furukawa.
But it’s not just fun and games. “People buy relevance,” said Lim. The key, they said, was to use their tools effectively to help solve problems for consumers.
Sitdown with Christian Juhl, Essence
2:15 pm, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Managed to grab a few minutes with Christian Juhl, global CEO at Essence. We talked about Essence's new position following the merger of MEC and Maxus, and what having the investment and confidence of WPP means for the agency. A more in-depth story is on its way [See "Essence CEO: Huge opportunity following MEC/Maxus merger"].
Scott Hagedorn, CEO, Hearts & Science
1:30 pm, Wednesday 21 June (Cannes time)
Stopped by the Hearts & Science penthouse to quickly catch up with Scott Hagedorn after my recent article on Hearts’ readiness to expand in Asia. Hagedorn said they’re still ready to pull the trigger with leaders set to go in China and Australia.
He explained how this year’s Cannes is very different from last year when he spent his time indoors winning the AT&T business. This year he’s excited to see how agency work for Tide will fare at the awards.
Video: Holly Zheng, BlueFocus
12:30 pm, Wednesday 21 June (Cannes time)
Holly Zheng, BlueFocus International CEO, weighs in on how she matches brands with influencers following her China Day session with livestream sensation Papi Jiang.
Video: Kevin Allocca, YouTube
11:30 am, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Here's a quick feed from my conversation yesterday with Kevin Allocca, head of culture and trends at YouTube. Find out what the brand is thinking about VR and AR.
Weber Shandwick’s Polansky: health a high priority
12:30 pm, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Caught up with Weber Shandwick’s global CEO Andy Polansky at the Majestic Hotel. Among IPG’s stable of PR companies, Weber has been a consistent performer and Polansky expects that to continue particularly in Asia where Japan and Singapore have been good performers. China, where Weber is among the market leaders, should do well. Overall though, he sees slightly slower global growth worldwide, in line with the market.
Polansky was most bullish on the opportunities in Weber’s health business, its fastest growing practice globally. “I think we have an opportunity to grow across the AsIa-Pacific region. That’s a high priority,” he said.
Polansky pointed to the Silver Lion won for Action Aid UK’s ‘brutal cut’ campaign on female genital mutilation as an example of great creative health work and pointed out how Weber is not just GlaxoSmithKline’s PR agency but also it’s lead creative agency.
Sitdown with Orla Mitchell, Wrigley, and Clarence Mak, Mars Foods
11 am, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Good talk with Orla Mitchell, global CMO of Wrigley, and Clarence Mak, chief marketing and customer officer at Global Foods at Mars Inc, about adjusting brand positioning to engage with the new era of earting and snacking. Also some pragmatic chat about balancing creativity and data (we are at Cannes after all). Story and video to come.
IPG Women’s Leadership Network: Maysoon Zayid & Halle Berry
8:30 am, Wednesday, 21 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
This event was a real highlight. Interpublic CEO Michael Roth kicked off the breakfast event warning that we were about to get some sobering numbers and now “it’s time to do something about it and take it to heart.”
But IPG’s chief diversity officer Heide Gardner drilled the point home perfectly by asking everyone to stand, then asking men to sit, followed by white women, until eventually only non-white women in global leadership roles were left standing. There were two.
The focus of the breakfast was to look at women’s experiences through more lenses with different perspectives. A research survey of 4,000 women from the UK, US, Brazil, India and China by Refinery29 found that women identified themselves in so many different ways including gender, race, ethnicity, class, geography, physical and mental abilities. The research called for including more “intersectionality” of all these different lenses when considering diversity issues.
A panel discussion hosted by BBC’s Zeinab Badawi involved the portrayal of women in advertising. FCB Ulka chief creative officer Swati Bhattacharya noted how ads feature ‘mothers’ but rarely peel back the layers to see what kind of mother she is: single, with adopted children, unwed, teenage or IV mother.
An hilarious and inspiring speech by actress, writer and disability activist Maysoon Zayid earned her a standing ovation. “I am the face for your brand because I hit every quota” she quipped, noting she’s a Palestinian Muslim with cerebral palsy living in New Jersey. Zayid spoke about her struggles to get acting roles, noting how those with disabilities including mental illness and chronic pain form a large portion of the populations who still live stigmatized.
Finally, actress Halle Berry took the stage to speak about her new fan-engagement app, 'Hallewood' and her upcoming movies. It was noted that it’s been 15 years since her Oscar-winning speech for best actress when she hoped it would open the door to more women of colour, but none have won it since. “It’s troubling,” said Berry, who now works at creating opportunities for women in film directing and production.
Day Two wrapup
7 pm, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
An extremely busy and insightful second day at Cannes. Here's what we thought about it.
BlueFocus International CEO: Our global expansion has just started
6 pm, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Had a chat with BlueFocus International CEO Holly Zheng on the Paiais terrace after her session with Papi Jiang. We spoke a bit about how the company matches brands with influencers using social data—it has bought some firms in China that provide a data-matching service.
How does BlueFocus manage the big expectations brands have with influencers’ own agenda? “If we said there’s no challenge, it’s not possible,” she said. But over the years the company has dealt with 2,000 brands globally, and getting to know them provides an understanding of what may fit. "But it’s a dynamic process,” she added. “What fits one year may not fit the next.”
We also spoke about BlueFocus International’s growth strategy. The firm has already shifted from a PR focus to getting 80 percent of its revenue from digital services. It’s clear there’s a lot more expansion to come. “But this is only the beginning of our ambition,” Zheng says, noting the company's goal to become a global leader in intelligent and integrated branding services.
“Our expansion globally has just started. We’re not even at the middle point yet.”
Papi Jiang takes the stage
5 pm, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
I was excited to come see Papi Jiang, China’s top influencer with tens of millions of fans, take the stage on China Day. She was brought to Cannes by Blue Focus International. CEO Holly Zheng (left) told me afterwards that she wanted to give the people at Cannes a taste of something authentically Chinese, and Papi built her fame from a grassroots following and reflects a down-to-earth presence.
But I think Papi was a little too down to earth today. We didn’t get any sense of the flair, passion or energy that makes her shows or her Papitube brand platform special. And she doesn’t appear to have much to reveal about her future:
Q: Do you have other ambitions?
Papi: “I don’t want to be diversified.”
Q: What’s your five-year plan?
Papi: “I have no plan. I’m not ambitious.”
Q: How did you become so popular?
Papi: “I have no idea.”
The lack of answers meant that Papi’s agent Ming Yang (above right) had to answer all the questions around working with brands. I’ll have more on this later with notes from my interview with Blue Focus’ Holly Zheng.
We still got a sense of Papi’s star power though. After her stage exit she was mobbed by a circle of fans that she indulged with a quick photo—so quick my camera only caught her being whisked away afterwards (below).
No partnership, no masterpiece
3:30 pm, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
The agency-brand relationship needs the same care and attention as a relationship being built between people. That’s the philosophy of Glory Zhang, CMO at Huawei, China’s third-largest smartphone maker.
As a company looking to grow its presence outside China, Zhang says the brand needs a partner, not an agency, to help guide it through new markets.
“There has to be an open dialogue,” she said. “We come from different cultures [when working outside China], and appreciate co-creation. There’s no masterpiece that comes from working in silos.”
Agencies need to have the same vision and passion, Zhang said, and learn to adjust quickly. To that end, she said the brand’s partnership with Hill + Knowlton Strategies is going strong, with Simon Shaw, UK chief creative strategist, saying: “We’ve had to really rethink the way we are as an agency.”
Sitdown with Kevin Allocca, YouTube
2 pm, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Good to grab a few minutes with Kevin Allocca, head of culture and trends at YouTube. We spoke about how brands can maximise the potential of video, and why high production value doesn't necessarily mean high ROI for advertisers. Watch this space for my upcoming article and video.
We don’t advertise, we problem solve
2 pm, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Took in the China Day presentation by Delia Liu, head of strategic planning at independent mainland agency Hylink Digital. The point of her presentation was that people don’t go online to find out about brands, but to find answers and experiences. The company's ‘Life Ideas Studio’ essentially brainstorms real live problems and marries them with brands.
Examples include a campaign for Chevrolet to involve fathers in children’s lives by giving parents a GoPro camera and challenging them to record crucial moments in their child’s development. Or a DeLonghi coffee maker that beeps when voices are raised during arguments to remind couples to sit down, have a coffee and talk things over.
Drawing delegates to the theatre was celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, who talked about how food and preparing meals helps to build stronger relationships.
Video: Leslie Berland, Global CMO, Twitter
11:15 am, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Video: June Laffey, Pharma jury president
11:15 am, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Here's a little more from June Laffey, ECD at McCann Health SEA and Australia, talking to me about the impressive APAC entries for the Pharma awards.
Lessons for the West from the East
10:45 am, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Welcome to China Day
10 am, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
China Day at Cannes Lions 2017 got underway with a keynote from SY Lau, senior EVP of Tencent, chairman of Tencent Advertising, chairman of group marketing and global branding (would be interested how you fit all that on a business card).
YouTube and Fox make push for 6-second ad format
9:30 am, Tuesday, 20 June (Cannes time)
Started the day at Google’s YouTube press breakfast at the snazzy YouTube beach, decked out with swings, a volleyball court, an ice cream parlour, a T-shirt pressing station and more.
The recent buzz up for discussion was Fox Networks Group’s announcement at Cannes that it will be adopting YouTube’s 6-second video ad format. Joe Marchese, president of advertising revenue at Fox Media Networks was on a panel with YouTube and TBWA explaining why 6-second video ads made sense, not just for their streaming services, but eventually also to air on linear TV.
“We would like to reduce the total time viewers have to spend with advertisers,” Marchese said. “More and more of our content is being viewed on demand. In the on-demand world you can have variable length ads,” he later added. YouTube today is putting out it’s ‘Playbook’, a resource explaining to advertisers why the 6-second format is optimal for its platform.
Earlier, Matt Brittin, president for Google EMEA had started off with a briefing on recent brand safety and ad format initiatives, including how Google’s now using machine learning to identify and fingerprint problem content to stop it from being reposted.
I asked how much more content was now being pulled off than before, but he declined to give figures. No luck with my question on how much ad revenue was being lost on new restrictions around content unsuitable for advertising either. “We’re not giving a running commentary on the numbers” he said.
The Cannes Lions Opening Gala
10 pm, Monday, 19 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
What a way to kick off the week. Easily 1000-plus people unwinding on the beach in all the extravagant glory that you would imagine from a gala party in Cannes. Check out more snaps from the night in our photo gallery.
Day One wrapup
6 pm, Monday, 19 June (Cannes time)
Robert & Faaez
Some thoughts on our first day at Cannes, given we're both first-timers.
Sit down with Leslie Berland, Twitter global CMO
1.45 pm, Monday, 19 June (Cannes time)
Chief Creatives on the Beach : "The bottom line is us"
1 pm, Monday, 19 June (Cannes time)
Sand, blue sky and sunny weather, not a bad venue to host some great conversation. I moderated this week’s first panel discussion at Cannes Lions Chief Creatives on the Beach. I wanted to get at what they thought was the most special ingredient for great creativity. Collaboration came out on tops for Kate Stanners, global chairman and global CCO at Saatchi & Saatchi who highlighted the need for team diversity to make great work.
Stuart Harkness, ECD at 72andsunny in Amsterdam, reminded everyone that despite all the talk of technology changing the creative role, it was a simple statue in ‘Fearless Girl’ that’s the talk of Cannes right now.
McCann Health global CCO Jeremy Perrott admittedly got on a soap box to tell the creatives in the crowd to stand up for passionate work and avoid compromise for the sake of sticking to the bottom line. “What makes the bottom line is us” he said. “We take a sack of sh*t and make it real.”
Twitter COO: We're driving better ROI for advertisers
12:30 pm, Monday, 19 June (Cannes time)
Anthony Noto, COO and CFO at Twitter, said Twitter's offering for advertisers is much stronger than it was six months ago, which he admitted wasn't good enough. Talking at an informal press roundtable, Noto said Twitter's year-on-year decline in revenue was partly due to "decisions that advertisers made six months prior", but that things have changed.
"We're delivering much better ROI now," he said, adding that a 60 percent decrease year-on-year in cost per ad engagement (CPE) in Q1 2017 for Twitter was helping drive more conversation with brands and advertisers. "2016 was a transition year regarding revenue growth," he said.
He also said that he didn't see the benefits of charging for Twitter, a longstanding rumour around the industry. Ideas have been floated such as charging for a premium version of TweetDeck, but they remain just ideas at this stage. "We would need to look at it much more closely," he said.
Pharma jury president: "this will save lives"
11 am, Monday, 19 June (Cannes time)
I got a sneak peak into why McCann Health India’s ‘Immunity Charm’ stole the show at Lions Health, winning a Grand Prix for Good, four golds and four silvers. June Laffey, ECD at McCann Health SEA and Australia, said the simple charm bracelet for babies that could instantly serve as a vaccination record both touched the heart and made a difference on a wide scale.
As pharma jury president, Laffey says she was amazed how it “took the breath away of the jury” and how incredibly united they were in recognizing the work she says will undoubtedly save lives. “That’s why I got into health communications,” she said. “It’s the one area that will save lives.”
Robert has filed a full story from this interview: "How a simple charm bracelet outshone technology in Cannes"
Also, please see our rundown of the Lions Health winners—and all the winners as the week goes on.
Accenture Ventures MD: Note to ad holding companies, use your startups effectively
7:45 pm, Sunday, 18 June (Cannes time)
On the eve of the Cannes workweek, I climbed aboard the MY Antisan, Accenture’s yacht at Cannes, to meet with Jitendra Kavathekar, managing director of Accenture Ventures and and a Lions Innovation judge this year.
He told me that he was really impressed by the technology among the contenders this year, noting how sophisticated work has become in recent years. He was expecting to be the only ‘tech head’ in the room, but that wasn’t the case.
Since Kavathekar brings startups and bigger companies together, I asked how well the marcomms holding companies were doing at integrating startups. He tried to be diplomatic, but noted that too often the innovation chiefs who buy the startups are rarely in the same room as the C-suite. So as a result, you buy a startup to help you move the needle on business performance, he says, but unless key decision-makers are involved, a startup can rarely be integrated as it needs to in order to actually make a change.
Accenture's moored at Cannes: What's its end game?
7:30 pm, Sunday, 18 June (Cannes time)