Cannes Lions proves age of advertising is alive and well


CANNES — If anyone’s under the delusion that the age of advertising is dead, a trip to this fascinating Mediterranean city this week for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity should erase that silly idea.

Begun in 1954 as a cozy-get together to promote advertising films, Cannes Lions in recent years has exploded into a week-long extravaganza that draws 11,000 people — including some of the world’s brightest talents in tech, media, music and film.

Playing off the cutting-edge feel of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, some have taken to calling this high-wattage gathering to ponder the future of the $505 billion global media business, “CES on The Med.”

Naturally, nearly every executive strolling along the Boulevard de la Croisette, the breezy seaside esplanade, will be thinking about how to better utilize their mobile advertising budgets. Gone are the days of just being on mobile — today the talk is how to avoid unsavory corners on YouTube or Facebook.

Also on the lips of attendees — in addition to the rivers of rosé wine, as plentiful as air kisses and paparazzi — will be talk of diversity. And speaking of which, the controversial Fearless Girl statue — placed beside the Bull statue in Downtown Manhattan — from asset manager State Street Global Advisors and McCann, New York, is poised to pick up a Grand Prix at the awards ceremony.

And speaking of wine, the Whispering Angel rosé label has negotiated its way into all the right cocktail soirees. Yes, even the free drinks on hand are working their marketing plan.

Amid the bold-faced names — Sheryl Sandberg, Nick Jonas and Jason Reitman among scores of others — mingling at the Cercle Bar in the Grand Hotel Cannes or other luxe watering holes, Madison Avenue heavyweights will be chewing over the state of TV advertising.

It’s expected to decline by 1 percent globally in 2017 — the first drop since the recession-buffeted 2009, according to forecaster Magna. The missing cash, one can assume, has fled to mobile — a category that’s expected to crest the $100 billion mark this year. If it passes that plateau, it will mark the first time mobile ad spending hit nine figures.



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