Bonjour! Bienvenue sur le blog d'Ad Age!
Ok enough of that. This is our live blog! Every year Ad Age sends a fearless delegation to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. This year, deep sigh, is no different.
Cannes has allegedly undergone something of a reset. It's certainly much smaller on paper, with fewer categories and fewer days. Agency execs we've spoken to at Publicis, IPG and WPP all say they will be sending smaller contingents.
We aren't (to the mild chagrin of the beancounters upstairs). Look for us out there: Editor Brian Braiker, Executive Editor Nat Ives, Creativity Editor Ann-Christine Diaz, Media Reporter Jeanine Poggi, Agency Reporter Meg Graham, Editor-at-Large Jack Neff and Director of Video Alfred Maskeroni are on the ground in the South of France.
Keep refreshing this liveblog for the latest word about the winners and the whiners, the panels and the pontificators—and all the gossip, from the gilded suites to the Gutter Bar. No, really: Just hit reload over and over again. (We need those sweet clicks. You of all people get it.)
And if you're in Cannes too, say hi—and DM us tips. If you're not out there, be sure to subscribe to our nightly Cannes recap here. We will be posting a new live blog every day. We will be podcasting (confirmed guests so far: author/pundit Michael Wolff and … Oath's Shingy!) and moderating a couple panels. See the full Ad Age itinerary here. There will be video! But there will also be awards.
Let us not forget, Cannes is about the work. The best piece of advice we've received about navigating the weeklong affair is to go see the work. That is, ultimately, the whole point. Still, turning creativity into competition always struck us as a bit … weird. But that didn't stop us from handicapping the winners and losers this year.
Without further ado, here we go!
Shingy, Oath's resident digital prophet, popped by our space en route to his keynote this morning. Hear what he has to say about our collective dependence on digital media, why it's maybe not such a good thing and find out what it is he whispers to brands on a daily basis.
Come for the audio, but stay for the video, in which Shingy plays a rousing game of "Straight fire? Or total crap?" on Ad Age "Remotely Entertaining." We've got more Shingy than you can swing a stick at.
-- Brian Braiker
2018 will be a watershed for inclusion in the workplace, Chloe Gottlieb told reporters and this year's participants in See It Be It, a Cannes Lions career development initiative for women. Driven in part by the #MeToo movement, people coming up now want to see more transparency from their agencies and from other employers, said Gottlieb, a See It Be It "ambassador" who is leaving her job as co-U.S. chief creative officer at R/GA to become a director of user experience at Google.
"The companies that aren't able to give that to their employees will lose the best talent," she said. "The best talent will start to go to the models that feel more open, more transparent."
"For me it was a spark that's going to burn down structures, and things are going to look very different," she added.
The theme for the latest See It Be It group is "Leading From the Inside Out," Gottlieb said. "Sometimes we take ourselves as women out of the race before we get knocked out of the race," she said.
But men have a role to play too because of their continued power, she said, suggesting that they actively sponsor and mentor women, people of color and people that are considered "others." Men can also be great "feminine" leaders themselves, she said. "It's just a more inclusive leadership style."
Earlier in the day, Spotify, which is sponsoring the initiative this year, hosted a gathering of the participants at Spotify Beach. Danielle Lee, global head of partner solutions at Spotify, spoke with the musician Methal, a Yemen refugee who was featured in the brand's "I'm With the Banned" campaign, about the challenges she faced making music in her country and how her career has flourished since she fled. Later, Ad Age Creativity Editor Ann-Christine Diaz led a discussion with Lee, Methal, Spotify Global Brand Director Alex Tanguay and the women of See It Be It on finding their voices as a creative professionals and the challenges of becoming leaders.
On the subject of work-life balance, Diaz told the group she was dying inside a little because she was -- at that very moment -- missing her daughter's Step Up program at school in Los Angeles. That set off a chain reaction, with Gottlieb chiming in (and welling up) as she said she was missing the Step Up ceremonies of her two daughters this week. But one of them had told her, "Mom, if you don't help these women at Cannes, I'm going to be so mad at you."
-- Nat Ives; Ann-Christine Diaz
AKQA saw its annual Future Lions competition for student creatives enter its 13th year. The contest shines a light on innovative ideas that were unimaginable a mere three years ago because the technology for them hadn't even arrived. A.I. and data drove this year's honorees. There was one winning idea, from a team of Miami Ad School students, that we could see fitting quite easily into a horror film scenario. Appropriately named "Hush," the technology allows its users to activate Siri discreetly in scenarios where they might be too afraid to use their phones to call 911, lest they incur the wrath of their aggressors. By uttering a safe word, they'll trigger Siri to both call 911 and provide details of the situation, even when the screen is off. Check out more of the winners here.
-- Ann-Christine Diaz
Turner president David Levy was spotted away from the Croisette lounging in flip flops and a t-shirt at Kargo's "Sea & Seen" lunch at Hotel Belles Rives. It's just days since the Department of Justice approved AT&T's acquisition of Turner parent Time Warner, and Levy appeared relieved. He said he was happy the deal finally came together, and admitted that the nearly two years since it was announced have been hard. Levy said he is ready to lean on AT&T's data capabilities to advance TV advertising and is looking forward to the new capabilities that will likely come along with the deal.
As it relates to the TV upfronts ad haggle -- when networks look to strike commitments for commercial time next season -- Levy said Turner pushed marketers to commit 5 percent of their spend to the company's audience targeting products. That was an effort to get them over the fear and trepidation (mainly around the cost) that's often been associated with data targeting on TV.
-- Jeanine Poggi
Do the French not believe in ice? This Cannes newbie is on the hunt for an iced coffee, which is shockingly hard to come by on the Croisette. After finding one cart off the beach that would make me a cup on Sunday, it's been impossible to find a cold coffee that isn't essentially a shake.
-- Jeanine Poggi
Sir John Hegarty, a cofounder of Saatchi & Saatchi and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, has been coming to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity since 1989, when he first served as a juror. "Of course it was just one Grand Prix," he says. "It was film, that was it." Times have changed. Hegarty hasn't, much.
Never shy about his opinions, Hegarty took the opportunity of yet another Cannes Lions to share a few thoughts on the current state of creativity, Cannes and more. A sample:
No I just got here but most of it is scam anyway so I can't be asked.
Most of the print work is scam, you can tell it, you can see it a mile away.
Yeah. I didn't come here to look at somebody's portfolio. I mean, fine, if you say to me, "This is the portfolio section," then fine I'll go and have a look at it. But when you pretend that this is a piece of advertising that had an impact on the marketplace, forget it.
Read the full Q&A here.
The first winners of Cannes Lions were announced Monday morning -- privately, to the press and under strict embargo until the public presentation Monday night. But these pressers themselves are part of the changes to the ad festival this year, however (in ways not under embargo). They are "press briefings," for one thing, no longer "press conferences." Where reporters previously took notes while sitting at rows of desks, this year they are standing, or leaning on cocktail tables that wobble under the stress of typing. And instead of offering further thoughts in formal question-and-answer sessions, jury chairs are following their initial remarks by leaving the stage to wander among scrums of journalists. The shift was described Monday as more "casual," which it definitely was, if a little more frantic too. The first press briefing addressed just three categories; later installments this week will stuff in as many as six.
-- Nat Ives
Fox Networks Group's ad tech division TrueX put the hot tub on its yacht to good use, filling it with bottles of rosé and locally sourced beer (which was surprisingly tasty if you are already sick of the vino).
-- Jeanine Poggi
Perhaps Kleenex has found its next TV sponsorship. In its latest attempt to make commercial breaks more compelling, Fox Networks Group is introducing a new branded content series "Unbreakables – Stories That Heal," which will tell "the inspirational and relatable true stories of people who have overcome disease, injury, accidents and other adversities." It will be out looking for sponsors for the series in Cannes this week.
This is part of Fox's broader efforts to revamp the TV ad format, making commercials look more like the content people are tuning in to watch and reducing commercial time to better compete with streaming rivals like Netflix and Hulu.
The "Unbreakables" is a result of research out of TBWA, which shows that patients with health conditions and their caretakers are seeking inspiration just as much as they are looking for information.
"'Unbreakables' was created to address a growing need for inspirational, hopeful, and optimistic video content that audiences want, need, and search for, while also providing context, brand safety, reach, and targeting at the scale that advertising partners demand," according to a press release.
The "Unbreakables" content will take different forms, including six-second ads, and will be distributed across FNG's portfolio of networks and digital properties, including FX, Fox Spirts and National Geographic.
Fox and TBWA will co-present a session unveiling the "Unbreakables" series on Monday in Cannes.
-- Jeanine Poggi
The New York contingent has arrived. We took a spin by the Majestic, where Ad Age is representing handsomely. I've already gotten my fill of gelato — and no, I'm not sick of the rosé yet (but check back with me in a few days…)
-- Megan Graham
I came through Cannes about 10 years ago, en route to points west (ultimately spending a week in Marseilles) and I found it so charming. So as a Lion Virgin, I was looking forward to finding some of that charm and peace in the madness. But I just had my first four reality checks in the block and a half it took me to walk from my apartment to the Palais for registration and credential pick-up.
1-2. There is a Steak N Shake on the Croissette. Biglari signed his name to the sign so it's the real thing.
3. It is across from the Palais, facing the Marina and has a glorious people watching spot right off the square for the Hotel Splendid.
4. It is packed.
God bless America.
-- Erik Basil Spooner
Last year when Snapchat had its Ferris wheel, GroundTruth Chief Marketing Officer Monica Ho promised something bigger was coming for her brand at Cannes this year. But Ho left GroundTruth in December to take over as CMO of social-media marketing and reputation management firm SOCi, leaving behind no contract for a gaudy Cannes amusement-park ride.
Her successor Eric Hadley believes he's onto something bigger anyway – Wi-Fi sponsorship at all official Cannes locations.
The quality of connectivity on the Riviera harkens back to the days when people still said "cyber." Hadley says he's been coming to Cannes since 1997, and started bringing clients in 2000 when he ran Microsoft's ad sales marketing. As Microsoft grew its beachhead, he says he launched the first yacht and beach club at Cannes and later wrapped the helicopters and took over Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc for lunch. Later he started morning bike rides for the Weather Channel.
One constant through it all: The Wi-Fi sucks. But Hadley says he's been assured this year will be different.
"Parties are over," Hadley says. "You've got to own the Wi-Fi." He emailed that thought two years ago to MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan, host of the most sought-after annual Cannes yacht party.
Of course, beyond goodwill, GroundTruth is out to capture some totally GDPR-compliant user data as the price of admission right in the heart of the EU.
-- Jack Neff