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Cannes takeaways: multiple Grand Prix winner Marcel, Iconic, Jung von Matt, We Are Pi, Amplify

Cannes Lions Takeaways

Léoda Esteve Managing Director of Marcel

My key takeaway is that the competition is harder than ever, but the consequence of that is that great ideas are thriving around the world, and that is excellent news for our industry.

From the winners this year it seems as if some categories are becoming more open to work that is less traditional in format – our Film Grand Prix for Orange, using deepfake technology to change what you see on screen, is an example of that. Marcel’s success in winning two Grand Prix, together with another double Grand Prix winner from Renault and Publicis Conseil, which was also named Agency of the Year, also confirms France is here to stay as a key market for creativity.

For us as a winning agency this year, the key action points from Cannes 2024 are to keep going after those brands, briefs and ideas that will make next year even more extraordinary in terms of creative thinking. We’re determined to focus on keeping Marcel’s culture intact and pushing it even further to remain an agency like no other. And what we’re not going to do next? Rest on our laurels.

James Kirkham – CEO and co-founder of Iconic


The creators are coming. This was the first year that creators have been invited en masse by the likes of Whalar, TikTok and it feels like a moment. Just using a blanket ‘influencer marketing’ term is now seen as lazy and has a knock on effect to budget planning and therefore the ideas which are put together for brands. Each creator instead is a multi-faceted media node, walking creative canvases with communities primed for commercial use.

David Juul Ledstrup, Chief Strategy Officer at Kubbco

The elephant in the room. If I don’t mention AI, have I even been to Cannes?

From obvious “don’t be scared to use AI” talks to doomsday vibes by Elon Musk, AI was everywhere… again. Honestly, it felt a bit like a rerun of 2023. What struck me most was the notable absence of cases where AI played a major part in the creative process, compared to the hype.

Now this doesn’t mean that AI isn’t changing everything. AI is significantly going to accelerate the creative process and reduce production costs. We are on the brink of being able to realise wild ideas that previously didn’t leave the agency war room due to physical (and/or budget) restrictions. The AI revolution is now – and you’re being left behind if you aren’t preparing for it. But I sense that, even with the speed of innovation, the golden age of AI still seems to be a few years away.

Luckily, between AI and the cliché parties overflowing with rosé, there were other solid takeaways from this year’s Lions.

Although I’m still not convinced that politically charged and purpose-driven advertising is for most brands, I was truly impressed to see solid research numbers to support the case for DEI advertising activity. From direct and long-term sales uplift to increased equity measurements, the joint study by UN Women, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and Mondelez cut through the somewhat shallow noise this year.

Finally, provocateur extraordinaire Mark Ritson, questioned the importance of creativity in advertising. The discussion isn’t new – and I wholeheartedly agree that creativity is just one small part of general business impact – but, for creativity to make a significant difference, we need to ensure that creative ideas are truly anchored in great strategy and tactics to match.”

Melis Adiguezel-Tripp, Creative Director Copy at Jung von Matt

At the Cannes Lions 2024 an interesting tech trend was evident. Unlike with the metaverse blockchain or – who could forget – NFTs AI was both a hot topic of conversation and at the same time not evident at all in most of the Grand Prix winners. In fact some works like those for Hornbach are provocatively analog. What does this mean? Not that AI is already on the way out no. In fact far from it. Because this evidence from Cannes suggests categorical proof of three things. First no one in adland is in any hurry to jump on the AI bandwagon. Second our industry’s engagement so far with AI is thoughtful if not mature and grown up. Finally – and perhaps above all – AI is here to stay.

Patrick Garvey, Founding Partner at We Are Pi

Independent Agencies at Cannes Lions 2024: A Reflection

It’s thanks to Dan Wieden that the Titanium Lions launched in 2003, celebrating groundbreaking ideas that are provocative and point to a new direction; work that, according to Dan, “causes the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the way forward.”

So, seeing the Ferrari garage of Independent Agencies, Wieden+Kennedy, snagging the Grand Prix in Titanium (now named in Dan’s honour) was a standout moment this year.

It took me back to his 2012 Lion of St. Mark speech. He dreamed of a future where Independents—those daring enough to take big risks and refuse to sell out—would thrive, making their cultures more dynamic and client-focused.

But as the sun sets on this year’s awards, I can’t help but think: with GUT and Uncommon selling majority stakes to Globant and Havas, how are the independents really doing?

Cannes Lions 2024 paints a mixed picture. Independents claimed just 25% of the Lions, a drop from previous years. Economic pressures—rising costs and tighter budgets—are hitting smaller agencies hard, limiting their ability to compete, as indicated by a slight dip in entries from indies on last year.

While a few indie stars shone, like Rethink and Wieden, their overall influence is waning while the networks, with their deep pockets, continue to dominate.

But in an age where AI is reshaping creativity and marketing, the unique value indies offer is more crucial than ever. They bring agility, innovation, and a personal touch that large networks can’t match. They take risks, push boundaries, and create standout work.

Clients crave authentic, bold, original ideas—qualities indie agencies excel at. As AI automates and standardises advertising, the human touch and innovative spirit of independents are essential for delivering the creativity clients need.

Independents must rise again. Not just for industry diversity, but to give clients what they’re missing with large networks. It’s time for these agencies to leverage their strengths, embrace challenges, and reaffirm their vital role in the creative ecosystem. The future of advertising depends on it.

Sophy Critoph, Head of Strategy, Culture & Communications, Amplify

This year at Cannes Lions, the beach areas got bigger and better. Brands stepped it up; the programming was far more interesting, and the experiences more engaging. The focus of the programming has shifted towards people and cultural relevance, prioritising why people care about advertising over mere creativity for its own sake. There was also a significant increase in US attendees.

There is a noticeable movement away from traditional advertising lanes, with programming focusing on people and culture over channels and verticals – recentring behaviours and thinking about why people would even care about advertising over creativity for the sake of it. Although it was definitely still possible to find the same topics and voices that have been present in previous years, the greater variety of fringe events provided the opportunity to explore.

This diversity allowed for more exciting and spontaneous conversations, and groups of like-minded individuals were able to connect and organise their schedules ahead of the event, enhancing the overall experience for everyone.

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