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Cannes Coverage

Overheard at Cannes

Rows of seats face an oversized lion on a pedestal as people look on.

Illustration by Holly Warfield / Getty / The Current

With the whirlwind that is Cannes, there’s no way to catch every piece of wisdom. And for those not attending in person, it can be hard to get a bead on the mood of the festival. That’s why we’re sharing gems from panels, the Palais, and the Croisette.

This is what The Current has overheard at Cannes.

“The pressure to break up Google is going to be overwhelming. They will only do something when forced to by the EU, on whether they will self-deport.” 

– Brian Wieser, Strategic Financial Analyst, Madison and Wall

“I feel like the horse is out of the barn. [Artificial intelligence] is not something that will be walked back on. To think that last year we were talking about NFTs and crypto…We’re off to a whole new area now, especially with generative AI.”  
– Emily Ketchen, Global VP and CMO of Intelligent Devices Group and International Markets, Lenovo

“When someone says something is dead, they’re dead.”
– Winston Binch, Chief Innovation Officer, Gale, referring to a panel titled “Purpose Marketing Is Dead”

“We come to this week to get inspired and talk about creativity. But there’s a disconnect on how many people are actually consuming this work. We must become more consumer-centric. We say it. We say it all day long. And yet we’re fully living in boardrooms.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO, VaynerMedia

“Evolution makes a brand relevant, but purpose makes a brand immortal.”
– Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer, Mattel Inc., on Barbie’s comeback

“I know AI is everywhere now and the metaverse has dropped off the face of the planet, but I’m a little tired of the rate our industry shuffles through the latest crazes.”
– Anonymous Cannes Lions attendee at a panel discussion

“You have to start by working toward a cause you believe in. If you are passionate and stay true to yourself, the business will follow.” 
– Oscar-winner Halle Berry on a panel about her health content and commerce platform, Re-spin

“Technology will continue to move, and you’ll continue to invest in it, but that human connection, human insight, and human touch is something that luxury and creativity need.”
– Dipti Bramhandkar, Executive Strategy Director, Iris Worldwide/Cheil Connec+, speaking on a panel with the brand Bentley

“This is not a competition, this is not a trade-off in the sense of saying a company needs to stop its profit and a company can only be profitable if it destroys the world. The solution is actually an alignment between the economic incentives and the sustainability and carbon incentives.”
– Felipe Thomaz, Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Oxford, and Deputy Director, Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative

“One of the biggest changes [at Cannes] I’ve seen since I’ve been in the business is [that] where creativity lives has changed. When I joined, [it went from] the creative department of an ad agency to being through every corner of every industry. No industry has a monopoly on creativity. Creative lives everywhere.”

– Mark D’Arcy, Chief Creative Officer, The Brandtech Group

“People said this year’s Cannes would be a little more subdued due to all the tech layoffs and the unstable economy, but I don’t see anything different. If anything, it’s bigger than last year.”
– Anonymous Cannes Lions attendee at a cocktail party

“Cannes is one of the only events where you get this mix of networks, clients, and agencies. It’s a little bit more relaxed and people are drinking rosé, so people are having unfiltered conversations.”
– Rory Paterson, VP of Global Media, Expedia

“Rihanna had to leave the Spotify concert when A$AP Rocky came on because everyone was only watching her on the balcony.”
– Anonymous concertgoer who nearly stayed all night

And finally, for anyone having Cannes FOMO, a big part of the experience is the lavish yachts and beautiful beach-side views. It doesn’t always turn out well though:

“Everyone got seasick on a major outing to Saint-Tropez. It ended up being a three-hour trip with almost everyone throwing up.” 
– Anonymous attendee aboard the ship