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Cannes gave us a clutch of Lions but plenty more to celebrate

Ryan Reynolds was the unlikely star of this year's festival

By jeremy lee

At the time of writing, one general theme from this year's Cannes Lions Festival has been, with a few notable exceptions, the lack of standout work.

Previous years has seen the likes of "Back to the Start" for Chipotle by CAA Marketing and Nexus, "Fearless Girl" for International Women's Day by McCann, "Survival Billboard" for Xbox also by McCann and "The Epic Split" for Volvo Trucks by Forsman & Bodenfors, dominate both the awards ceremonies and subsequent chatter on the Croisette. But there have been other things to chat about (aside from the climate change activists' attempts to disrupt proceedings).

While the UK's performance can best be described as respectable rather than epic - although Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO deserves real kudos for its Grand Prix in Industry Craft for "Hope Reef" on behalf of Sheba - what has been noticeable is the number of clients that have decided to attend this year's beano. And is this a reason for celebration, even if the awards haul is perhaps not quite what we would have wanted? Absolutely. It's heartening to see so many engage with creativity at a time when doomsters would have them paring back adspend and focusing on the short-term hit of price promotions.

While the Lions organisers have always been famous for hauling out some Hollywood A-Lister on whatever spurious reason, another big conversation piece has been the omnipresence of the Deadpool star (and co-owner of Wrexham FC) Ryan Reynolds. While he inevitably added some sparkle to proceedings, his contribution has been more than just that. Aside from his other commitments, Reynolds is chief creative officer of MNTN, the marketing division of his production company Maximum Effort, which has worked with brands such as Peloton and R.M. Williams.

Having launched a diversity outreach programme in Cannes, called Creative Ladder, Reynolds also told delegates that humour can be a better marketing tactic than over-sincerity. Given that Cannes is also famous for its attendant hand-wringing (on expenses, natch), the irony shouldn't have been lost on many.

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