Kim Kardashian, Al Gore and Sting – All in a Week’s Work at Cannes

By Rob Norman GroupM Archives

It’s exactly 900 meters from the Hotel Martinez to the Hotel Majestic Barriere along the Cannes Croisette. In normal conditions it’s a 10 minute stroll but the Cannes Lions are anything but normal conditions. Forty-five minutes is a safe estimate as you greet half the people you have ever met, are greeted by people who seem to think they have met you and share brief exchanges with any number of people who are looking over your shoulder in the hope that someone more interesting comes into view. (Note: That’s a drone’s-eye view of the author of this column up top.)

The long meander along the Croisette offers a new perspective on how Cannes has changed over the years. In some ways it puts one in mind of June 1944. The vast American battalions of Google, Microsoft and Facebook have landed on the beaches. Google and Facebook have pushed inland to occupy the Hotel 5 and The Majestic. The small boat flotilla of the adtech industry is tied up at the Palais Pier while the agency community, Cannes’ original audience, hunkers down at the Carlton and all meet face down at the Gutter Bar.

Away from the Croisette, a short boat ride away on Tuesday afternoon is WPPStream@Cannes. This year “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner visited the advertising asylum along with the CEOs of Vice, The New York Times, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, LinkedIn and Twitter, the editor of the Guardian, the CMO of Unilever, Chris Cox from Facebook, remarkable YouTube creators and friends from Google and Microsoft and from across the world of WPP and its clients.

How do you sum up the wisdom of that crowd? It’s easier than you may think. Content is still king, but people serve many different kings.

Distribution is democratic, consumers want their content where and when they want and creator royalty knows it has no choice but to grant the wish or risk dethroning.

The world is increasingly live and connected.

There are no barriers to market entry for creators or distributors.

Celebrity has never been as easy to achieve, and to lose. In our present everyone can be famous for two seconds.

We may finally have happened on a generation that wants to save the planet rather than just talk about saving the planet.

Technology is increasingly putting intelligence in everything and the interfaces to both devices and content is set for the next step change into immersive experiences.

Stream does not have a monopoly on remarkable experiences at Cannes. Where else can you spend a week in the company of Al Gore, interviewed by Sir Martin Sorrell; Evan Spiegel, interviewed by Joanna Coles, and no less than Kim Kardashian (superstar and super brand) in the company of Dana Anderson from Mondelez? If you were very lucky you might also have been entertained by Sting who, to the relief of all concerned -- including his hosts, iHeartRadio CEO Bob Pittman and MediaLink's Michael Kassan -- chose a set of Police hits over a lute and a concept album.

The Cannes Lions is a festival of creativity. The dialog at Stream showed three things about creativity; it’s alive and well, it’s delivered in every imaginable context and form, and technology is its greatest enabler since the invention of the pencil.

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