Cannes lines up Dan Wieden, Ronaldo and Smokey Robinson for 2012 speakers menu

As well as Sir Martin Sorrell, Lord ‘Seb’ Coe and Sir John Hegarty but how can you compete with those three (it’s the retired Brazilian soccer star not the Portuguese Real Madrid version)?

Other speakers at Cannes this summer include Crispin Porter CEO Andrew Keller, writer and director Michael Patrick King and Peter Roth of Warner Brothers but they’re spear carriers in relation to the top trio.

The Cannes International Festival of Creativity, to give it its full moniker, has done a magnificent job of turning itself into an all-encompassing adfest, attracting droves of clients as well as the creatives it used to major on. A key part of this is the conference programme and it’s clearly going for glitz this year.

Whether or not Ronaldo, who’s now a Unicef ambassador, has much to say to the CMO of Procter & Gamble, or the ECD of JWT for that matter, is a moot point. William ‘Smokey’ Robinson, founder of the Miracles and described by Bob Dylan as “America’s greatest living poet” no doubt will. He’s a highly successful producer and businessman as well as a great singer and songwriter. And music is more important in ads than ever these days.

But the real star of the show will be Wieden+Kennedy founder Dan Wieden (pictured) who has expanded his independent agency successfully out of the unlikely environs of Portland, Oregon (due in no small part to Nike) to the extent that its Amsterdam outpost came top in the Gunn Report’s 2011 list of award-winners.

Wieden will no doubt journey to the South of France in the company of plentiful minders, there to stop the likes of Sir Martin Sorrell and Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy waving extremely large cheques under his nose as he sips his Provencal rose. There could well be fisticuffs as other advertising mavens fight to get on the same platform.

But back to William Robinson. What better excuse is there for a tune from the Motown marvel?

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