The creative ad industry once again gathered at the French Riveria for the biggest annual convention and awards. The theme was ‘Digital Transformation’ but corporate accountability was a hot topic amid the unfolding digital data and privacy scandals that rocked the world this year. In case you weren’t lucky enough to attend the beaches, yachts and parties, we look back at some of the big themes of Cannes Lions 2018.
The top awards event for the advertising and marketing industries, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is held each year to celebrate the best work from the industry. And whether it’s accurate or not, who has sponsored what has become a barometer of a company’s success.
Ad agencies give way to tech giants on the beaches
In a stark reminder of big tech’s dominance, while many companies have yachts, Google and Facebook now sponsor their own beaches.
In past festivals, advertising holding companies sponsored the beaches. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Spotify hold the most prominent areas, with Comcast’s ad tech platform Freewheel and CNN also holding down their own sand spots.
In the awards, Onmicom upset WPPs 7-year run as Cannes Lions ‘Company of the Year’
WPP has earned the honor since it was introduced in 2011.
Omnicom had an impressive showing at this year’s festival, bolstered in part by the success of Apple, a marketer that previously had lain low from events like Cannes, but had a big presence this year, with top execs Angela Ahrendts and Tor Myrhen appearing on the main stage.
WPP took second place in 2018 while IPG ranked third.
The long-reigning WPP had a tumultuous year. Its stock price suffered the worst drop since 1999 in March after former CEO Martin Sorrell predicted a year of no growth and slashed its profit outlook.
As for other big winners, BBDO earned its seventh Network of the Year honour, Ogilvy was second while DDB Worldwide ranked third.
London shops ranked favorably this year, with Agency of the Year going to Adam & Eve DDB London and AMV BBDO placing second. BBDO New York was in third place.
— Cannes Lions (@Cannes_Lions) June 22, 2018
MJZ, the company behind the Apple’s “Welcome Home” ad, among other spots, earned the Palme d’Or for the ninth time. The honour goes to the most awarded production shop. Revolver/Will O’Rourke Australia placed second and The Corner Shop London was third.
There was one category, however, where a WPP agency reigned supreme: Media Network of the Year.
A more sober tone?
There was less of a “party emphasis” at the event this year. More people in the Palais and fewer on the Croisette suggests that the focus has shifted from media buyers mingling at beach cabanas to creative directors spending time seeing shortlisted work.
Regular attendees noted Cannes Lion had become a much smaller, more sober festival this year.
The Palais lines were shorter and there were fewer nights where the award ceremonies were filled to the brim. Hotel bars and patios that usually spend the week at full capacity were without waitlists.
Ascential, the owner of Cannes Lions, admitted it’s attendance was down 10% but external auditors suggested the decline could have been as much as 25%. Entries were also down 21%.