Cannes Lions reports client-agency ‘communication breakdown’ in 2024

“Communication Breakdown” is the slightly alarming name given to Cannes Lions’ annual “State of Creativity” survey, which this year exposes the lack of communication between clients and agencies.

No surprise that it’s the brands who paint a more positive picture, while agencies suffer in silence – afraid to tell clients that they find it hard to work with them. The strain persists despite expectations of business growth and increased marketing budgets, according to Cannes’ analysis of nearly 3000 global responses (and some 1:1 conversations with industry leaders).

Brand-side, junior marketers also expressed frustration with the old guard of senior leadership. Thanks to an absence of creative marketers at boardroom level, there is less scope to persuade execs to push boundaries with the creative work.

As you might expect from Cannes Lions, there’s plenty of evidence that investing in creativity makes good business sense. Brands predicting higher growth for 2024 are 6x more likely to prioritise creativity, 4.6x more likely to have a higher marketing spend than 2023, and they put more investment into long term brand building.

Spencer Fox, SVP, business lead, advisory, Lions says: “What we’re seeing is that although the sentiment is outwardly optimistic, inwardly the industry is at odds. There’s optimism around progress and investment, but tensions that need to be worked through if we’re going to realise the potential of creativity as a growth driver. Essentially, there’s a communication breakdown.”



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