No Cannes Do

June 20, 2012

Last year, when I attended Cannes, I was impressed by a number of the individual presenters – like Robert Redford, and notable business leaders – as well as intrigued by the big-picture trends that percolated over the course of the week, such as purpose-driven brands. Since I arrived at this year’s festival, the presenters and content reminded me that we should not take what happens at Cannes as gospel.

So, here are my top three “no Cannes do’s”:

1. Don’t Be Too Cool for School. A panel discussion, led by YouTube, featured participants who seemed to want to produce video content for brands because its “f#!^n fun,” really cool and entertains people. No Cannes do without measurement and ROI, but there wasn’t much talk of that.

2. Even Facebook Can Flop. There was a line 1,000 people deep to attend Facebook’s presentation “The Psychology and Creativity of Sharing.” Thing is, they had nothing new to say. The examples were old, and the insights were thin. No Cannes do a major presentation without some major ideas, even if you are a big, renowned brand, like Facebook.

3. Missing in Action: Female Leaders. Only two of Tuesday’s nine major sessions included female speakers. And, as mentioned before by my colleague Karen Strauss and reinforced when I glanced through the winners of the Cannes Lions awards program; I tallied less than 25 percent being women. Ironically, much of the work discussed and cases cited are aimed at women, and there are many women in attendance. No Cannes do with such a gross misrepresentation of women in Cannes speaking and leadership roles.

What I can do now is look for inspiration and epiphanies in the robust sessions scheduled for tomorrow. Every day is different, after all.