Cannes Most Wanted: Inspiration, Immersion & Whiplash

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is one the largest and most highly respected global events in our industry. Originally devoted to Advertising, it was recast as a festival and awards program focused on creativity in 2009, elevating the event to a broader celebration of creativity across all forms of marketing communications.

With more than 500 stage events and sessions over 8 days and nightly award shows — 43,000+ award entries submitted across 24 categories — there is so much to do, see and be inspired by at Cannes.

We are thrilled that many of our clients will be at Cannes this year, as delegates, presenters and award recipients. We asked some of them to share their main reasons for attending the festival, and what they are most looking forward to.

Here’s what they had to say:

Kelly Vanasse, Vice President, Communications, P&G Global Business Units:

Cannes is an amazing, if not overwhelming, immersion in the world of Creativity. It’s like no other experience. Being surrounded by the most creative minds and their work – all in one place and away from the daily distractions — unleashes our own possibilities as creative thinkers and brand builders.

And we need that because consumer goods are… well… consumables: Soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, lotions, shampoo… not the sexiest products. It is creativity born from deep consumer truths that make them something more than their everyday utility.

Experiencing the world’s best creative, connecting with the world’s most inspiring idea artisans and understanding new and innovative approaches at Cannes has changed the game for some of our brands. In fact, the inspiration for Always #LikeAGirl came from one brand-builder’s experience at Cannes a few years back. Definitely worth the week in Cannes.


Michael Fanuele, Chief Creative Officer at General Mills:

Imagination-expansion.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the good, hard work we do day-to-day.  Cannes can (should, hopefully) whiplash us into remembering that there are occasional ideas with extraordinary power, ideas with the alchemy to change the way we see the world and, consequently, to demand a re-assessment of these hum-drum things called brands that get in the way of our otherwise meaningful lives.

I hear Chris Martin from Coldplay will be attending.  He gives hope to second-place brands everywhere.  I’m actually a massive fan.  He’s a reminder that there’s no force quite as powerful as enthusiasm.


Sophia Kim, Director of Global Communications, Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics:

It is very important for us to attend the Cannes Creativity Festival as we see this event as both an opportunity to share our unique marketing campaigns with industry experts and a meaningful platform to ensure our mobile technology becomes a new marketing communication channel. For instance, we will have a massive presence across the venues with our Virtual Reality (VR) technology. The ambition behind our presence at Cannes is to accelerate and encourage the world’s most creative people to experience this up-and-coming technology and to figure out their own creative way to use it.

The highlight will be the award ceremony on Saturday, June 25, as we are named the Creative Marketer of the Year for the first time in the company’s history. It will be a significant step forward as Samsung makes the shift from a technology-driven engineering company to a truly consumer-facing lifestyle brand. As smartphone and mobile technology become an essential part of our daily life, the emotional connection with our smartphone is closer than ever. We believe that the Samsung Galaxy smartphone is at the heart of our consumers more than ever, and this award is a living proof of it.


Oscar Ayala, Global Marketing and Communications Director, Consumer

Master Brand & Communications Incontinence Category, SCA Global Hygiene Category, TENA:

For TENA as a brand, it’s important to have one representative in Cannes for the following reasons: 1. To get inspired by amazing creativity and new ideas across the widest marketing disciplines and see world class benchmark advertising. 2. To network with our agencies in an informal setting, talk creativity as adding value, and see new trends. 3. To connect with best in class agencies and influencers.

The topics that I am most interested in this year are:  New trends in technology (these are rapidly changing the world we live in and creating new possibilities for innovation); and content strategies (how to be relevant for your consumer, seminars about content creation and understanding the branded content from different angles).


Peter Horst, Chief Marketing Officer at The Hershey Company:

Hershey has moved to a radically different marketing model; significantly greater investment in digital and social channels, much more diverse array of content types, agile creative development processes and increasingly data-driven targeting.  With the blinding pace of development and advancement in those arenas, I think the Cannes Festival is a great place to very efficiently immerse in the great breadth of creative output, technology solutions and industry players that define the space.  In the course of one week, we can absorb stimuli that would have taken months of meetings to gather.

One hope is that attending Cannes will help in the never-ending race to keep up and stay current—maybe even get a half-step ahead.  On a slightly more uplifting level, I’m looking forward to being surrounded by inspiring work from some of the most creative people in the world.  There’s nothing more energizing than looking at great work and talking about it with brilliant people—at the end of the day, that’s really the fun part.

I’m looking forward to taking in as much as I can. Some “no misses” will be: How Using Influencers Can Engage the Marketing Cynics, How to Make Sure you Aren’t Replaced by an Algorithm, and a “no miss” each year, Saatchi’s New Director’s Showcase – so inspiring.


For myself and my colleagues, Cannes represents an annual reinvigoration, where we see work and hear from speakers who spark our creativity and give us valuable insights to share with our agency and clients broadly. The depth and breadth of new technology featured also helps us continue to evolve and innovate at the agency.

I am personally looking forward to our main stage events, we are hosting two again this year:

Let’s Make a Movie” pairs an acclaimed documentary film director – Adam Carolla – and an iconic global brand – Hershey’s (*client) – where they will hash out a content development plan. on stage, as the first step in potentially producing a brand-funded feature film.

Content for the Ages, All of Them” was sparked by the Advertising Age prediction that 2016 will be the year of age-agnostic marketing. Panelists from Ketchum, General Mills (*client), Taboola and Story will debate whether age still matters.

And, in addition I will again be a juror on the Young Marketers panel, where the top marketing duos from competitions in markets around the world advance to compete on the global stage. I am sure I will again be inspired by their creativity and insights – and I predict I will glimpse more than one future CMO in the early stages of their careers.

You can follow along with all of our activities and learnings by following us, and joining the conversation on our #KetchumCannes social hub.

Barri Rafferty is Ketchum’s former CEO and current head of communications at Wells Fargo.