Cannes Lions – The Creative Canary in the Coal Mine

Cannes Lions kicks off next week for another year of virtual content that focuses on the hottest trends in advertising. The annual festival celebrates the best creative in the world and unpacks both emerging trends and critical developments coming out of our industry. As IAB Canada works hard to prepare digital advertisers for a cookieless future, the importance of stellar creative has never been more crucial. 

We caught up with Karen Howe, founder of The Township Group and a Cannes Lions Advisory Board member, who every year, delivers an amazing decoding of the Cannes Lions results, to get a sense of what we can expect next week. 

IAB Canada (IABC): Karen, it’s another year of remote content for Cannes Lions this year. As such a high-profile event, what can we expect to see next week? 

Karen Howe (KH): This year you’re going to see of the most profound creative of our lives. The last few years have been unrivalled in terms of turmoil, but also in terms of hope. Cannes is the creative canary in the coal mine, and it inevitably reflects our cultural pulse. I’ve seen some incredible work here in Canada and around the world. 

IABC: In terms of creative, during such a difficult year, do you think the industry was impacted in terms of quality of output as a result of the lockdowns and global crisis? 

KH: Creative thrives in adversity. I think the work has been smarter, and sharper than ever because it laid bare what really matters: an idea. There were no production values to hide behind.  

IABC: Do you expect to see some real movement on the diversity, equality, and inclusion front this year? 

KH: If ever, it will be now. The momentum is in place. And I see encouraging signs in the work itself, in those creating the work, and those judging it.   

IABC: As the cookie crumbles and advertisers face some challenges in connecting with identity of consumers, what general advice would you give to marketers to ensure they make an impact? 

KH: Have a big, brilliant unforgettable idea that invites more people in than it leaves behind. We have returned to our roots. Amen. 

IABC: Karen, thank you so much for your inspired comments. We are very much looking forward to seeing what unfolds next week and can’t wait to touch base for our follow-up article on what made the stage at this year’s Lions.

IAB Canada’s President, Sonia Carreno is a proud member of the Cannes Lions Advisory Board. Sponsored by Globe and Mail, we are proud to support the thought leadership and exciting work being celebrated each year that puts Canada’s vibrant creative community on the global stage. 

Andrew Saunders, Chief Revenue Officer at The Globe and Mail and Chair of the Cannes Lions Canadian Advisory Board commented on this year’s event, “Although this will be the second year the festival will be fully digital, “Cannes Lions Live” will once again be the ultimate destination in celebrating the best creativity in the world. The global community will still have the opportunity to come together at an unprecedented scale in a single virtual space. From celebrating creativity to setting global benchmarks to driving social change and pushing new boundaries the festival helps set the tone for years to come. It’s also great to see Canada’s voice being so well represented across the various Juries and Young Lion competitions. Go Canada Go!”