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How To Re-invent Cannes Lions Festival


By Tunji Faleye

Cannes Lions


No doubt, with the withdrawal of Publicis Groupe from 2018 Cannes Lions Festival and the threat by WPP to follow suit, it is crystal clear that the festival organiser, Ascential should put on their thinking cap and re-invent ahead of the 2018 festival.

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Last year’s Cannes Lions Festival rendered the Admen that the festival was meant for as mere spectators as IT companies took over the festival by their massive presence in and around the venue.

This has become a source of concern for agencies and integrated marketing communication industry globally now that the objective of setting up Cannes Festival is being relegated to the background, hence Publicis that has backed out, and other agencies that are planning to boycott the subsequent festivals have good reasons to do so.

If one compares Cannes to the likes of  SXSW or D&AD festival that provide creative learning to different people at different levels, and the creative energy that comes from ideas through mind rubbing, one will come to term with the people who hold the opinion that Cannes is about the business of creativity, rather than creativity itself.

For Nigerian Agencies and Admen attending Cannes Festival every year, it should be an avenue to learn one thing or the other and transfer the knowledge to their clime but, it has become an annual ritual that must be performed.

However, I believe there is still room for improvements. What the organizer needs do is to make more creative works grace the festival. These are work that other practitioners from other climes will be able to learn one thing or the other from

Also, the festival should be brought back to its usual beginning where it was about creativity where anybody can learn. It is glaring that it has become more elitist, luxurious and more about power brokering. It is high time organizer also stopped spending so much time counting points and spending a massive amount of dollars, and return the focus to the creators — the people, the offices, the clients, who are the harbinger of great ideas.

The people who are connected to these creative works need to be celebrated and not the advertisers who have bought all available space at the festival.

It is also imperative to realise that creativity delivers an increasingly important competitive advantage and the essence of Cannes Festival should be tailored along this route. It should be the torch bearer for creativity as a key driver of advertising success. Cannes needs to be broadened and new ideas are injected into it now that the world is moving on at speed of light. That means Cannes needs to reflect the wider marketing, not just advertising world.

Cannes obviously is in danger of losing its identity as it has become more of merrymaking and overcrowded.

If some things are not corrected and new ideas introduced to the festival, more and more agencies will be pulling out and will also trickle down to Nigeria. Failure to do this will enable the tech companies and the managing consultants to take over the festival.

There are suggestions that have been presented for repositioning the festival. In my opinion, some of them are salient. For instance, the organizers have to make the festival smaller, shorter and reduced the category, if possible substitute categories that are no longer relevant with new categories (brand design agencies) based on the current trends in the industry.


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