After a two-year hiatus, the scholarship and dealmaking typically found at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is back in person. But this year it may look a little different.
The recent spike in Covid-19 cases
While there is excitement, the advertising agency’s executive and chief marketing officer expect the celebration to be bleaker than in years past, in light of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, the impending economic downturn, and the war in Ukraine. US Chief at Deloitte Digital “There are likely to be two vibes in 2022,” Creative Officer Leslie Sims said via email, adding that it has come back in person for the first time in two years since the festival, and yet given a more reserved tone. The complex issues the world is facing.
Snapchat’s Ferris Wheel and Spotify
The festival is one of the industry’s most anticipated events, with wheeling and tackling often surrounded by an endless supply of rosé, celebrity-studded entertainment, and extravagant experiences (like Snapchat’s Ferris wheel and Spotify’s beach concert in 2017). Two years ago, organizers put a pin at the Cannes Lions as the pandemic shut down in-person activity, opting for virtual events in 2020 and 2021. Since then, social unrest, wars, economic crises and the ever-present pandemic have cast a shadow. Marketers are accustomed to the event met and the calm nature of the festival.
Company Quad CMO Josh Golden said,
“Cannes has always been about building relationships,” said Josh Golden, CMO of Quad, a global marketing experience company. But the pandemic and unrest of the past two years “created this strange space that exists among marketers.” The relationships that typically form during in-person events that happen five or six times per year are usually boiled down to text message-based relationships or conversations on Zoom, he said.
Two people travel to Cannes with black glasses
According to Jenny Rooney, managing director and co-founder of Black Glass CMO House Consultancy, her team wrestled with the idea of attending Cannes this year, given the state of the world. Out of the 12-member team, two people from Black Glass will travel to Cannes, adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines such as wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.
In the meantime, if someone falls ill, ed-tech company Infilion says it has a plan in place for medical care – including a medical concierge set up for quarantine, treatment, and a travel plan to return to the States. It’s worth noting that the CDC on Friday removed its requirement for travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before entering the US, making it easier for travelers to return to the country. That said, the move increases the chances of Cannes attendees spreading Covid-19.
Quad has a similar feeling
, which is the minimum “S.W.A.T.” sending. According to Golden, the workforce for this year’s event – especially attendance – is expected to be lower than in prior years as travel budgets continue to slide toward pre-pandemic levels. There will be a returned exam in Cannes. “For us to jump in with two feet and a big actuation would probably be a little arrogant,” Golden said, “not knowing completely who is going to be there [or] how big it will be.”
value in a personal reunion
If nothing else, the past two years have proven that remote working can be effective. And even in light of the current risks and social unrest, marketers say they still see value in a personal reunion that cannot be recreated over a video conference call. “Two years have passed. After and we’re at home and frankly, our entire work life has been changed. I recognize that I am willing to take some risks, to have the opportunity to meet people in person,” said Golden.