Wow Cannes, you have not disappointed. What a first day! Following a red-eye flight from Gatwick, the #mvscannes yacht, the Ocean Sapphire, was a welcome sight!  What followed was a fantastic day of networking, discussing, brainstorming (and a cheeky glass of rose or two).

Here are my key take-outs from day 1:

  • Fireside chats with Mike Millar from T Mobile & Playground xyz. Some really interesting insights. Did you know that 67% of the time you open your phone, it is out of habit, without having any intention to use it?
  • Jerry Daniello and Dana McGraw were next from Disney/ABC television. Data, data, data was the subject of this discussion, whether customer insight, audience profiling, ad testing or number crunching. These guys have ‘getting to your target segment’ down to an art.
  • The Snapchat gallery was next one the list and it was awesome. If you liked the activation here, watch this space for details of our Yoti activation in London, 9th July.

A great day drew to a close with an evening aboard the Aubrey with Persado and leaders from Microsoft, Deloitte, McKinsey, Starladder, SAP & more. The hospitality was fantastic and I had a great conversation with Van Diamandakis & Persado. They are doing some great things in the digital space.

Day 2 at Cannes Lions… the adventure continues!

Cannes wakes up early! The Female Quotient kicked off just after 7am with a morning workout and then straight into the first session: ‘Breaking the rules and crashing the glass ceiling’ with Shelley Zalis & Maria Bartiromo from Fox Business Network.

I walked along the main drag past the Spotify, Pinterest, WPP, Facebook & Youtube installations then headed to the Havas cafe to meet-up with Tehmeena from The Drum. Nice surprise to meet a fellow Scot, well 2 fellow Scots actually! Great to see so much interest in Yoti and

Back to the Female Quotient for 45 mins to catch two conversations on Equal AR: Connecting with Diverse Customers, and Stereotype Busters; Male Leaders Advancing Change. Two great discussion that finished far too quickly with Claire Valoti (Snap Inc) Julia Goldin (Lego), Neil WallerDavid ShingLuis Machorro and many more.

Journal House was my next stop for a catch up with Johnny Wright. Lots of food for thought to follow up on after returning to London. I wish I could have stayed longer but had to shoot off to The CMO Club.

Pete Krainik spoiled us this year. So much talent and experience in one place… where to start… I can’t believe I had the pleasure of listening to Raja from MasterCard, not once but twice in two days…. Only in Cannes!

There are far too many members to mention and a full six hours of panels & talks, but the ones that made a big impression and left me wanting further discussion were:

  • Words Matter: Leveraging AI for Creative and Content: George Aivazoglou, Eurosport, Daniel Cherry III, Activision Blizzard & Van Diamandakis, Persado.
  • Passion, Creativity and Courage to Be a Successful LeaderRaja Rajamannar, Mastercard and Arra Yerganian, Tivity Health. Arra, I loved your talk on organisations with purpose and would love to continue the conversation.
  • Building and Scaling Your In-House Creative and Content TeamAimée Lapic, Pandora, Simon Martin, Oliver, Giles Morrison, Unilever. A lot of what we do, as a mature start up, is in-house. I love the ‘larger’ pieces of work, we work on with agencies, but our in-house teams are amazing. I hope we recognise them enough as we move at pace! One for me to keep front of mind.
  • Successful CMOs Make Bold Moves: Karin Timpone, Marriott International, Greg Welch, Spencer Stuart. Really interesting to hear the journey that Marriott have been on bringing 30+ brands, franchises and loyalty programmes together.

I left the CMO Club with Terri & David from TrustX and headed off for dinner. Lots to talk about with two brands both fully focused and built on trust, privacy and security. Further discussions to come.

My last day but it won’t be my last Cannes Lions!

My last day at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and I set off to make every second count.

I started the day with #mvscannes by the marina for two intimate firesides chats. The first was with David Katz & Mike Mulvhill from Fox Sports. Jessica Ackerson from SABIO moderated, and I think won the sailing pun contest on the day. It was interesting to hear about the current buzz around the Women’s World Cup, and the challenge that the 18-34 demographic want to participate, interact and engage with content rather than simply view it.

Next it was off to the McKinsey Marketing leaders lunch. Biljana Cvetanovski & Jason Heller welcomed us to the event and started the session off by introducing their recent research that was to be the focus of Thursday’s keynote at the Palais – I wish I was here for an extra day to catch them on stage.

I was joined by Dr Christian Richter from Google, Carole Zibi from LinkedIn and Matthias Kaesser from McKinsey at the top end of the table. It was fascinating hearing about the journey that Google is on with driverless cars.

I headed straight from the McKinsey gathering to The Drum Arms in time to catch ‘No Bullsh!t Leadership’ with Chris Hirst – Global CEO of Havas Creative Network. Busy, busy, busy! I arrived just as the previous session was finishing up and the Drum drummers were about to tour the street – great idea Gordon!

On my way to the Female Quotient (for the 3rd day) I looked up to a Purple balcony with TWITCH written across it. Intrigued, I spoke to a lady at the door to find out more – next thing I knew I was sent inside with a code for the lift and found myself in a spot of tranquility amongst all of the chaos that is Cannes Lions. I must admit, I was new to Twitch, and now that I’ve started to find out more I have no idea how I missed it in the first place!

Back to the rooftop and the amazing ladies, and men that I’ve been speaking to and listening to for the last 3 days. Great line up, Shelley!

This time I caught Julie Haddon from the NFL talking about how tomorrow’s innovation is driving the marketing needs of today. I managed to catch Mike Mulvhill from Fox for a second time today on the panel and Glenn Cole from 72andSunny. If it’s anything as emotive as the #LikeAGirl Always advertisement, I can’t wait to see it!

I headed straight to the Conde Nast installation for their talk on Youth Culture – what a lineup of speakers. Steve Huffman from Reddit Inc, Brad from P&G (who is also their LGBT lead) Radhika Jones of Vanity Fair, and Spotify. Gen Z was an immediate topic with the panel stating that, ‘telling a 15 or 20 year old about diversity is like telling a fish how to swim’, and that 30% of Steve’s kid’s friends in Venice beach don’t assign as male of female – fascinating topic and one we’re actively involved with at Yoti along with Sparkle in the UK.

One last trip along the strip before I gathered my things and headed to the airport. An absolute savior from NCC Media must have seen the hot and flustered look on my face and handed me my first ever Frose – a frozen Rose ice lolly – genius! I have seen it all now.

Farewell Cannes, you have been inspiring and tiring in equal measures. I’ve loved every minute, every conversation and meeting so many new connections. See you next year!


Leanne also shared her Cannes Lions highlights on LinkedIn.  Check them out here.