Cannes 2024 Jurors

Cannes Lions 2024 Takeaways: Music, Sport and Humour Take Centre Stage

With the Festival of Creativity over for another year, Capgemini agencies frog and 23red executives shared their insights and takeaways from the event

By Creative Salon

Having had time to reflect on Cannes Lions we can all (hopefully) agree that the Festival of Creativity once again served as a vivid showcase of imagination and innovation in advertising.

The event unveiled a spectrum of themes gleaned from the multitude of award winners and panels, ranging from the prominent - artificial intelligence, purpose, and humour - to the more nuanced intersections of music and the tech industry’s influence on creativity.

With the dust fully settled along La Croisette, creative consultancy frog and purpose-driven agency 23red convened at their ‘Cannes Festival Unwrapped London Chapter’ event to distil the pivotal insights and discussions from Cannes.

Drawing from the perspectives of panellists - Bhavesh Unadkat, VP brand, content and marketing at frog UK; Tristan Cavanagh, creative director at 23red; Sharon Jiggins, managing partner at 23red; and Kate Dale, director of marketing at Sport England - here are six takeaways from this year’s festival in France.

Women's Sport Takes Center Stage

Dale highlighted the monumental strides made in recognising and promoting women's sports, especially with the success of Orange France’s Grand Prix winning women’s football campaign - 'The Compil des Bleues'.

"Women's sport is no longer a token theme but a serious narrative," she emphasised before noting the increased seriousness with which women's achievements were being viewed as well as debunking stereotypes and demanding sustained attention beyond tokenism.

"Women's sport, women's football can be as thrilling as men's - who would've thought in 2024?" Kate remarked, underscoring the shift towards genuine appreciation rather than mere acknowledgment.

The panel agreed that further progress requires continual advocacy and integration into the mainstream, ensuring that gender parity in sports remains a permanent fixture rather than a passing trend.

Music as a Universal Language

Music continued to play a pivotal role in brand storytelling at Cannes Lions. Brands like McDonald's and Johnnie Walker - with their respective ‘No Smiles’ and ‘Errata at 88’ campaigns - demonstrated how music transcends cultural boundaries, embedding brand messages into the fabric of popular culture. These campaigns underscored the power of music in fostering emotional connections and reinforcing brand identity.

“Music is the great unifier,” Cavangh added. “It works because it literally encodes in your long-term memory, making it a great way to trigger brand recognition. As part of culture, music is also easily shareable.”

Tech Titans Embrace Creativity

Unadkat highlighted the continued strong presence of tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Meta at the festival, with each taking a multimillion-dollar activation space along Le Croissette. This signals a crucial change in that the tech industry is not just helping creativity but it is actively shaping it. These companies are embedding creativity into their platforms in a bid to revolutionise how brands connect with audiences worldwide.

The blend of technology and creativity highlights a changing landscape where innovation and digital skills are reshaping traditional advertising standards.

“Comparing last year to this year, there was a shift from viewing creativity as being at risk to seeing it as empowered and integrated with data and technology,” Unadkat noted. “This year felt more optimistic, despite ongoing discussions about Gen AI and its implications.”


Humour Makes a Comeback

Amid complex global challenges, humour emerged as a powerful tool for brands to connect with audiences. Cavanagh's analysis of campaigns such as Pop-Tarts' ‘The First Edible Mascot’ and Hellmann’s ‘Mayo Cat’ illustrated how brands skillfully employed irreverence and wit to establish refreshing connections. This trend signifies a deliberate shift towards crafting memorable, engaging experiences that resonate profoundly in today's digital era.

Cavanagh emphasised, "In these turbulent times, people seek balance and light relief," highlighting humour's efficiency in crafting campaigns that leave a lasting impression and captivate audiences.

Ethical Considerations in AI and Creativity

The emergence of AI-generated content also sparked discussions.

Elon Musk's controversial views on AI's ability to surpass human creativity fueled debates within the advertising industry. Cavanagh cautiously welcomed AI's potential for personalisation and efficiency but highlighted that its creative prowess is unproven compared to human intuition and ingenuity.

"It's not about replacing creativity but enhancing it," he noted, advocating for a balanced approach that harnesses AI's strengths while upholding ethical considerations in creativity.

“The Toys R Us AI generated campaign looks like some weird fever dream, and the Motorola one I looked at had only 30 views and one comment that said, ‘Shame on you Motorola for not working with real creative people to develop this.’”

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion continued to be pivotal themes at Cannes. Jiggins highlighted the industry's progress in front of the cameras but noted persistent challenges in achieving diversity behind them. "Diversity is a reality; inclusion is a choice," she quoted, echoing sentiments shared at the festival.

The need to elevate these discussions to mainstream platforms was emphasised, calling for proactive measures to integrate diverse perspectives and talents into all facets of creative decision-making.

The festival underscored that achieving true inclusivity requires concerted efforts, from recruitment practices to authentic representation in campaigns and leadership roles.

For more insights from Cannes Lions 2024, see Creative Salon's dedicated section.


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