Over its half-century-plus history, the only thing that hasn't changed about the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is that it is always changing. In response to a transformed world, it has transformed, constantly re-imagining its approach, its size, its focus, its name, and – lately – even its primary purpose.
It began in 1954 as a response to the lack of a commercial film award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Then it evolved, adding Lions for other media, then other disciplines, and now there's a whole new pride of honors. In the process, Cannes became the hippest show in the room and the best party of the year.
But then something happened on the way to the Hotel Carlton terrace.
The creatives who packed the Palace now began to see their media counterparts on the Croisette. They, in turn, were subsequently joined by media companies – including the digital heavy hitters like Google, Yahoo and Facebook – to mingle, make connections, and talk deals. And then came the Brand leadership who arrived to learn, to explore, and to deal.
Today's bonne semaine sur la plage is much more than just a celebration of the commercial arts, although that remains as potent a lure as ever. Substantial commerce now shares the stage with all the "commercials" that sizzle—particularly when it comes to new digital opportunities.
And, in response, the Festival – and its organizers – innovated yet again with the successful introduction of TechTalks: an inaugural series of seminars on what's next and just around the corner.
MediaLink, as TechTalk's sponsor and champion, was proud to be a part of providing a new and exciting venue in which media, agency and brand executives can sample the offerings of new, young companies like Pixxers (which launched at TechTalk), Pubmatic, Machinima, Tremor, Break, Viggle, Huddler and m ss ng p eces (as well, they could sample free smoothies from Everyday Health and ice cream from Magnum).
In today's world, media execs need a "creative" space as well. This didn't exist in Cannes before, but TechTalk's creates a program for the leaders of emerging and innovative media solutions not to shill but to share what they know. Another welcome and well-timed evolution to the conference and its agenda.
Of course, Cannes would not be Cannes without its more social trappings. Here again, business is on the agenda. Not that we didn't get to celebrate…with Elton John at the Hotel Du Cap…courtesy of our partners and good friends at Clear Channel.
And the whole week anchored nicely by Y&R CEO David Sable's second annual Shabbat dinner, as spectacular a success in its sophomore year as it was in its first.
Of course, some things never will and never should change at Cannes…like the late-nights and early-morning of The Carlton Terrace despite a rumored renovation this year under new ownership.
If it's still under renovation next June, the media folks will truly need a new creative "space."The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.