Smartology in Cannes – Five Key Takeaways 2018


Last week, the Smartology team hit up the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for a second time in a row, and what a week it was!

With major players from the advertising industry in attendance, be it from the publisher, agency, or client side, it was definitely the place to be seen, heard, and build great relationships.

Whilst the heat was overwhelmingly the biggest feature of the week, here are 5 key takeaways for those who were unable to attend or stay the entire week:


  1. Reduced numbers: according to AdWeek, numbers of festival attendees decreased by about 20-25% compared to last year. Throughout the week, comments about how much quieter it was this year could be heard. The general feeling was that this was due to both the enormous amount of backlash last year’s festival received and a reluctance on agencies’ sides to spend as much money on the event because of talk from global players turning increasingly towards in-house marketing.
  2.  Facebook & Google were much less ostentatious this year –  while we can’t be certain what the exact reasoning was behind this decision, it is safe to assume there is a direct correlation with the following:
               a) With the negative press both giants received in the past year, it was probably best for them not to make too much noise and attract more negative press regarding excessive spending
               b) As two of the biggest advertising platforms, the duopoly are more than comfortable with their spots in the industry – there is no need for them to splash the cash and it is a safer option for them, in terms of industry relations, to not come across as antagonistic
  3.   GDPR was very much a non-topic throughout the week – this seemed as if it was due to a mixture of attendees being sick of talking and hearing about those four dreaded letters, a case of denial, wanting to forget about the inevitable work to come once back in their respective offices, or perhaps finally that it was not a “sexy” enough topic to draw the crowds in.
  4.   Consultancy firms made their presence known this year and talk of in-house marketing was a big topic of conversation throughout the week. A change on the horizon was very much felt this year with new players stepping into the arena.
  5.   Fake news, trust, and authenticity were truly the biggest topics of the week. Consumers’ ability to identify and call out false pretences is at an all-time high, while their tolerance of this is at an all-time low! The need for brands to win and gain back the trust of their consumers is a key priority. The way to do this? Find your brand’s story, be transparent about its values and prove that it is ingrained in your brand’s culture not just its marketing strategy! 

Video: Highlights of the Vouch Voyager’s panel on Storytelling, featuring Smartology’s CEO, Mark Bembridge

Author: Raina Roberts, Sales Executive


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