Cannes Lions 2016 – A Show Like No Other

In mid-June, Sorenson Media attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France for the first time. It was an eye opening experience on many levels.

Our take on the Cannes Lions show itself

Cannes Lions is a show like no other. It certainly made an impression on us for a number of reasons:

Beaches, Boats, and Penthouses – oh my!

During the week that we attended the show, we had a grand total of ONE indoor meeting. The other meetings & events we attend all held on roof-top penthouses, boats, or other outdoor venues. Combined with the sun and sea (and the odd glass of wine), this creates a relaxed atmosphere for meetings that’s quite different from your typical show or business meeting.

Not wanting to be left out, we decided to hire a small classic sailing yacht, the good ship ‘Mahana’, to act as both staff accommodation as well as a meeting venue for partners and customers.

Our floating home / meeting venue – The Mahana

Our floating home / meeting venue – The Mahana

The 17m long Mahana was dwarfed by many of the larger boats, with the largest being the ’11-11’ at 63meters long, which was charted by augmented reality start-up Blippar.

The 63m behemoth ’11-11’ – Maybe next year?!

The 63m behemoth ’11-11’ – Maybe next year?!

Slides? What slides?

At a typical show we normally end up leveraging slides and demos for most of our meetings. At Cannes Lions we showed no slides and gave no demos, nor did we see any slides from anyone else. Cannes Lions is about meeting and talking to people in a more informal environment and somehow slides just don’t feel like part of that. The experience was both liberating and instructive and reinforced that business is about talking and connecting with people.

The stars come out by day

Cannes is perhaps better known for the Cannes Films Festival, but the Cannes Lions show also drew its fair share of music and film stars who attended the show to talk about creative topics within media and tech sectors.

Will Smith – One of Cannes Lions many star speakers

Will Smith – One of Cannes Lions many star speakers

The list of stars was quite impressive and included, amongst other, Will Smith, Gwyneth Paltrow, Channing Tatum, Usher, Flo-Rida, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Oliver Stone, Iggy Pop, Timbaland and for the sartorial-minded, Anna Wintour. I’ll be the first to admit that I found myself reaching for my camera!

Trends & Takeaways from the show

AI & VR – Just around the corner

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) both made a big impact at the show, with VR the more near-term of the two. Samsung had a very well visited VR stand right outside the Palais de Festival and the New York Times picked up an award for their VR Film ‘The Displaced’. On the AI front, Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed that we don’t need to worry about a ‘Terminator’ AI for a while yet – phwew!

Data & Personalization – Driving benefits for companies and consumers

Data & personalization were also hot topics at the show and both are extremely relevant for Sorenson Media and the cutting-edge solutions we provide to broadcasters and advertisers. Data helps to provide personalized and more effective advertising but the overwhelming amount of data available is creating a complex landscape for many in our industry. The consensus was that data is worthless unless it can be used effectively or can deliver useful insights – we agree wholeheartedly with both these points.

Personalization was a huge theme at the show, with many of the speakers focusing on how to use tailored experiences to take advertising and media to the next level. Our Ad Enhancement offering enables advertisers to tailor and personalize broadcast TV ads based on a number of factors such as location, time of day, weather, etc., so it was interesting to hear others talking about how the media industry needs to create these more personalized consumer experiences.

Brian Jentz
Brian Jentz
SVP, Sales & Marketing - EMEA
Brian has over 15 years experience as an executive in the media, entertainment, and technology industries. Brian currently serves as SVP, Sales & Marketing - EMEA at Sorenson Media.