While it was only my second year at Cannes, I was struck by the increasing number of clients not only just touching down at Cannes, but really engaging with the Festival by attending and speaking in seminars, and generally soaking up all that Cannes has to offer by way of creative inspiration, networking and celebrating the winning of awards with their agencies. [As Rob Schwartz of TBWA said during the festival, "Advertising awards aren't life or death; they're much more important than that!"]
Phil Thomas, CEO of the Cannes Advertising Festival, reported in his opening remarks at the final awards ceremony on Saturday night that more clients than ever before attended Cannes this year. In fact, nearly 400 senior marketing clients, especially in the packaged goods and technology areas were present, suggesting that it is essential for anyone in our industry who wants to be taken seriously should be present and participate.
The CEO and CMO of P&G, the world’s largest marketer, were actively involved throughout the week - not just swooping in for their respective seminars, but engaging throughout the week. In fact, in his panel with Maurice Levy of Publicis, P&G CEO Bob McDonald actually stated that he was at Cannes because they "want to find the right partners".
As well, Yahoo! had a much larger presence this year, with at least five branded sites or events which included a headlined seminar with Ben Stiller, a Brandcastle event on the beach, and three branded sites including the central watering hole for the after-party scene most commonlyand affectionally known as "the gutter bar".
Kraft, too, had a bigger presence this year - from eight in 2009 up to 20 in 2010, and the brand hosted a seminar, a master class and a party for "friends & family" at the Majestic Hotel. Other headliner brands included Kimberly Clark, Diageo, Coca-Cola and Intel. In fact, the focus seemed to be much more on brands and campaigns this year in the seminars versus stars for pure entertainment, making the content more relevant and interesting for us punters.
Looking forward to seeing even more clients in 2011.