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Cannes Lions: The epicentre of creativity


Cannes Lions 2019 (C) Rui FerreiraStanding in the Lumière Theatre at Cannes Lions, Bono, lead singer of U2 once said: “There’s no room in the world I’d rather be in.” It’s understandable why.

From 17 - 21 June, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought together the most creative and innovative minds in the world for five days of knowledge sharing, inspiration and networking, turning downtown Cannes into a melting pot of insights and ideas.

In its 66th edition, the festival delighted more than 16,000 attendees with a stunning number of great events including presentations, talks, workshops, showcases, surprise appearances and a ton of cool brand activations and experiences.

The speaker panel was huge. Picture this: an all-star ‘world cup,’ featuring the most influential players across communication, media, entertainment, technology, innovation and healthcare industries, popping up all over during the five days:

Ivy Ross, VP of Design for Google devices, on how Google is designing to reach feelings; Apple’s VP of Marketing Communication, Tor Myhren, on the art of simplicity; Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and actress Kerry Washington representing women and female leadership with the “future is female” and “Badass Women”; actor Jeff Goldblum on the future of entertainment and the award-winning director Alfonso Cúaron on the social phenomena around 2018’s “Roma” name just a few in hundreds.

Although everything looked interesting, it was humanly impossible to keep up with the frenetic rhythm of all the happenings around the city; making it very hard to choose when & where to be. 

By sunset, the daily dose of golden statues: the most wanted recognition for creatives, advertising agencies, brands, media outlets, and personalities, split across several categories such as print, digital, film, strategy, creative marketer and brand of the year.

Among the given gold and Grand Prix awards, some brands and agencies stood out, receiving several statues. Nike, wining with the controversial campaign with Colin Kaepernick “Dream Crazy”; Burger King showing how creativity can help to take advantage of the competition with “Whopper detour” and “Burn the ad”; and IKEA competing with a strong move on inclusive design introducing “ThisAbles”.

Beyond advertising, the jury called to the stage Jeffrey Katzenberg, founder of DreamWorks, and Lorne Michaels, legendary producer of Saturday Night Live, for the media and entertainment personality of the year recognition.

Another major attraction was “The Work”. An exhibition of shortlisted and award-winning campaigns from the festival’s archive, placed in the basement of the Palais.

However, the festival is much bigger than the Palais. The entire Croisette was taken over by some of the biggest names in media, including Google, Youtube, Spotify, Twitter, and many others, spreading awesomeness around every corner, hosting after-parties and providing first-class entertainment by artists like John Legend, Nas (US rapper) and the legendary French electronic duo, Justice.

Long story short: Cannes Lions feels like Disneyland, not just for marketing and media professionals, but for all the creative and curious minds coming from any background, culture or country in the world. Stay tuned for next year’s edition from 22 - 26 June.

SALLE JEAN MINEURDavid Lisnard Photo: Marian Brannelly (c) Cannes Lions

In a special ceremony,  David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes and Claire-Anne Reix, President of the Palais des Festivals, paid tribute to Jean Mineur, France’s original ‘ad man’  and founder of Cannes Lions by naming an auditorium on the third floor of the Palais in his honour.


This year’s edition was all about sustainability. No printed maps or programs - everything was accessible in one app for smartphones. No Plastic water bottles: every attendee was given a Closca Design glass bottle that could be refilled with fresh water every twenty feet.

- Rui Ferreira