With the last day of Cannes Lions 2018 finally here, it looks like everybody survived. Some people already left, sure, but we leftovers still on the Croisette have a strong day ahead (and we'll have more room to breathe on the Carlton terrace tonight).
Martin Sorrell will talk with Ken Auletta, author of a new book about advertising called "Frenemies," in one of the most anticipated sessions of the festival. R/GA and the festival will showcase 10 female-founded companies that spent the week in the fourth annual Start-Up Academy. Great work will be awarded the final batch of Cannes Lions trophies, in categories including Film, Creative Effectiveness, Titanium, Glass: The Lion for Change and Grand Prix for Good. The final piece of the official is a closing party on Carlton beach.
Stick with us as we cover everything we can before we fall over.
Publicis Groupe Chairman Arthur Sadoun is feeling pretty good about how he's doing at Cannes without really being at Cannes (if you don't count a Tuesday stage appearance). In a phone interview with Ad Age, he praised clients for stepping up to fund award entries – such as the ones Procter & Gamble ponied up for that led to Tide's Film Grand Prix.
"At the moment, with our industry being so challenged," Sadoun says, "clients have demonstrated a partnership" that includes P&G paying for Cannes entries in a year when Publicis took a hiatus from (most) attendance and entries to divert its money and energies into developing the Marcel artificial-intelligence system.
His message last year, that he was taking a hiatus to focus on better serving clients, seems to have resonated with marketers such as P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard and Walmart (soon to be Sam's) chief marketer Tony Rogers. But it raised questions about whether it would hurt Publicis Groupe recruiting and retention.
It hasn't, Sadoun contends, pointing to the hiring of Nick Law as chief creative officer for Publicis Groupe earlier this year and some other soon-to-be-announced big hires.
Both Martin Sorrell and his "horizontality" may be gone from rival WPP, but Sadoun says the "Power of One" is alive and well at Publicis Groupe. This despite what Unilever Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed said earlier today in Cannes about agencies having trouble playing well together even within holding companies, much less outside.
"I think Keith Weed is perfectly right," Sadoun says. "It's impossible to bring this diversity into a company that's siloed as the chairman of WPP would describe his company. In our case, there's a difference."
-- Jack Neff
One of the most avidly awaited sessions at Cannes was the interview of ""Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)," author Ken Auletta with Martin Sorrell, who saw some disruption himself this year. In the discussion, the former WPP chief "strenuously" denied that he'd misused holding company funds for a prostitute (something The Wall Street Journal said WPP had looked into), but did cop to being demanding -- though not cruel, as the depiction in a recent FT article seemed to indicate. Also discussed was the recent banishment of the word "horizontality" from the WPP vocabulary. "It has been eradicated from history now," Sorrell said.
Auletta joked: "You have been."
To audience laughs, Sorrell said, "Well, I have been. And so has horizontality."
Read the full story here.
-- Meg Graham
Auletta definitely made the rounds at the festival -- 360i Chairwoman Sarah Hofstetter said as much in a piece she wrote for Ad Age about how the festival this year became more valuable as a working environment. "With all the buzz around scaled-back attendance, and the myriad distractions like offers of cruises and day trips, I was skeptical of attendance at sessions outside the usual ogling of celebrities," she writes, "but I was thrilled to be wrong."
As busy as he was, Auletta took time out to sit down with Ad Age and Medialink's Michael Kassan for a video in which the latter admits to surprise at looming so large in "Frenemies."
-- Brian Braiker and Meg Graham
R/GA's Dave Edwards tees up the day's weather one last time from Cannes. The fifth and final day's guest: Elizabeth Marks, president of AdForum. This marks her 21st consecutive Lions. Twenty-one years means she can finally drink the rosé! Thanks to Weather Edwards for his intrepid reporting this week. Check him out on Instagram.
-- Brian Braiker
Earlier this week, I swung by the Change for Good Hackathon put on by IPG's Huge with Amazon, Cannes Lions and advocacy platform Global Citizen. Seven teams from around the world worked on ideas in the areas of health, education and gender equality. The winners were Nikki Golez, Benci Vidanes, J.R. Ignacio, Aya Hamada and Biboy Royong from Philippines-based Dentsu Jayme Syfu, who developed an AI bodyguard called "Walk With Me."
It works like this: A person could say, "Alexa, walk with me," and the application would pin their location, give them a safe route and have a conversation until that person reached their location. If someone cried out for help while using the service or stopped responding, the app would turn on the phone's front and back camera to grab evidence and send a location to preset contacts and police.
The team expects to launch the project for Alexa users in the next year.
-- Megan Graham
Sorrell made one more appearance after his much talked-about sit down with Ken Auletta at the Palais. I spotted some familiar competitors and some new faces from around the world in the pictured crowd.
-- Megan Graham
Please don't let them be real, please don't let them be real. The majestic, hillside view of Cannes from the Place de la Castre, where Vice had its gothic-themed bash Thursday night, also had some unique ice sculptures. The most horrifying one had dead birds encased in the ice. Something tells me these birds weren't fake, but here's hoping.
We were there on the early side and Vice co-founder Shane Smith wasn't spotted. Earlier in the week Smith hosted media, marketing and advertising brass at his own villa outside of Cannes.
-- Jeanine Poggi
Anyone else leaving Cannes famished? Perhaps naively, this first-timer assumed nourishment at the Riviera would be plentiful. But six days later, plane grub sounds really good. Sure, hors d'oeuvres were everywhere, but they weren't close to enough to absorb the amount of wine being poured.
-- Jeanine Poggi
"Someone asked us the question: Does WPP need a new beating heart? Clearly it does," said Wunderman Global CEO Mark Read, who's been helping run WPP as co-chief operating officer since Martin Sorrell abruptly stepped down in April. "Whether that beating heart is one individual or something different is a question we need to ask."
We met Read in Cannes to ask him about the future of WPP, the board's search for a new CEO and what he thinks about Sorrell saying his new venture won't compete with his old firm.
-- Megan Graham