The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity brought together everyone and anyone who is either a decision-maker, an influencer, or a trailblazer in the industry. It has been said not being there is a louder statement than being there, and it is so true. The festival attracts advertising agencies, brands, media companies and platforms alike. Once you look past the yachts, parties, and epic scenery, the center of the event is around creative, but now data and media have joined that party.  

Tons of panels occurred during the week, but few broke away from the clutter. One of the more memorable panels I attended was "Visual Storytelling in the Modern Era,” featuring panelists Shenan Reed (President of Digital, North America at MEC), Kevin Knight (Head of Creative and Brand Strategy at Pinterest) and Bonin Bough (Chief Media & eCommerce Officer at Mondelez).

The conversation was an open forum around whether creative or media comes first. Which should come first? And how can we move forward in the digital space without the two working together from the moment of ideation?

All were in agreement creative needs to be better, however media has the money, so media decides where the creative is going, regardless of it's relevance. Another challenge brought up was creative is often in a totally separate company then media.  Creative is usually brought in from the beginning and by the time media gets the creative they are often left to "make it work."  

Many companies, such as MediaLink, DailyMail and Snapchat dominated their presence with yacht parties, private house parties, and musical talent (such as Chris Martin, Dave Grohl, and Wyclef Jean). Other companies focused on signage or event presence including: NBC, Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, NinthDecimal, PopSugar, AdWeek, AdAge, Ad Council, Truex, Thrillist, CBSi, Purewow, Samsung, Publishers Clearing House, Clear Channel, Maker Studio, Pandora, Sito and so on and so forth.  

Cannes Lions is a great environment for connecting with clients, building new relationships, and meeting with business partners. The attitude and tone of the week was positive, innovative, and all about relationship-building.  Many companies use this setting to meet new clients, create new business partnerships and strengthen the ones they already have in place. And just like the copious amounts of panels, the key is to ensure your connections with the movers and shakers break through the clutter.