Confessions of a Cannes Lions virgin

Writing this blog on the plane after a four-day visit to Cannes Lions Festival I can't help feeling like I have had some sort of religious experience. I cannot remember having been anywhere as exciting, exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. There is nothing quite like it.

For me, I wanted to go to see what all the fuss was about; to get a feel for how important content is becoming for the world's biggest brands and media owners. 

For a lot of my friends in advertising, this international festival of creativity is an absolute must. Everyone but everyone is there: Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and every creative, media, digital and social agency worth their salt.

I'm not sure exactly how many people go. Someone told me 40,000 people from all corners of the world - and it seemed like all of Madison Avenue - but the impact of the world's best creative minds coming together in one place is intoxicating.

It's networking taken to a whole new level, and having now experienced it first hand I will make sure it is going in my diary from now on. The number of meetings, lunches, dinners, not to mention parties, is mind-blowing. I managed to hook up with the super-smart guys from Outbrain (Gilad, Stephanie and Gemma, who are really pushing the content marketing agenda on a global scale). Another highlight was spending an afternoon with the geniuses at theAudience, Mark and Oli.

The conference itself was fascinating. There is so much going on it was hard to keep up, but I saw some amazing sessions from the likes of Coca-Cola looking back at 50 years of amazing advertising, and the McLaren team talking about adaptive marketing - how they use real-time data to transform the performance of their cars. Or in the words of Ron Dennis, McLaren's Chairman: 'We are a technology company that has a Formula 1 team.'

Then there was a fabulous thought-provoking session from James Kirkham of Holler and Paul Kemp-Robertson talking about some incredible innovations that are literally just around the corner. 

But the major takeout for me was how content marketing is now up on the stage with the best of the advertising world. It really brought home how content marketing is now becoming critical for all brands. For me, it is abundantly clear that the ability to develop and execute content marketing at scale means the industry is set for huge growth over the next decade. 

Cannes Lions 2014. Bring it on.

Posted by: Sean King, CEO, Seven

Related items: 

> Find out more about CMA content marketing events
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Posted in CMA blog
25thJun 2013

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