Thought Leadership

Technology, Entertainment, and Renaissance Entrepreneurs: Three Quick Things from Cannes Lions 2024



As we reflect on the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, it’s evident that while technology evolves, creativity remains the linchpin. Despite AI’s buzz on the Croisette, the actual impact in the Lions’ jury rooms was minimal. The focus instead was on diverse marketing transformations—from hidden consumer forces reshaping business strategies, to sports’ role in brand-building, to the power of entertainment-led advertising. 

Whether you’re winding down from the excitement of Stagwell’s SPORT BEACH or you’re absorbing Cannes’ big ideas from home, here are Three Quick Things you need to know. Find more Cannes insights here and here 

  1. YOU CAN’T SPELL BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION WITHOUT CREATIVITY: The future of the CMO is always a hot topic at Cannes. Marketing leaders are tasked with driving initiatives as impactful as their C-Suite peers. Good news—CMOs’ creative problem-solving skills equip them well. Emerging from the Creative Business Transformation jury room, Michael Treff, CEO of Code and Theory, emphasizes: “Business transformation must work across most company functions, or it isn’t truly transformation.” Looking ahead, Treff says marketers will miss out if they assume AI is the only opportunity for business transformation. “There are seismic changes in human behaviors happening…and ontological questions for a lot of businesses in categories that are going through disruption. What is the meaning of a financial services institution? What is the role of institutional education? What is the future of media?” Hear more from Treff here.  
  2. ATHLETES AS RENAISSANCE ENTREPRENEURS: “As an athlete, I was always being told to just play basketball,” said NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony at Stagwell’s SPORT BEACH, discussing the challenges of breaking into the exclusive wine and spirits industry. Now, “I’m kicking the door down and saying…give us a chance, let us come in and be creative, and let’s make magic.” Athletes like Anthony are diversifying into industries such as fashion, media, and philanthropy, proving pivotal in creating new economic opportunities. “We’re not made to be one-dimensional, we’re human – we’re made to do so many things,” said LSU Tigers basketball star and rapper, Flau’jae Johnson. Athletes are not just being sponsored by brands; they’re shaping them, suggests alpine skier and Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin, who advised brands on stage that equity-based collaborations are “one of the most surefire ways to create a really authentic connection and partnership” with this new class of renaissance entrepreneurs. But don’t just chase the biggest names. Both Johnson and Mark Kirkham, CMO of Pepsi International, spoke on stage about the need for more “grassroots” partnerships, or brands partnering early with up-and-coming stars. Watch all sessions from SPORT BEACH here.
  3. DEBUNKING MARKETING’S EMERGING TECH PROBLEM: Entertainment is a reflection of culture,” says GALE Managing Director, Creative and Entertainment Lions Jury President Geoff Edwards. So as culture changes and moves, so entertainment changes and progresses, and the category evolves as well. With consumers rebelling against intrusive ads, the focus on branded entertainment at Cannes has been on the rise in recent years. “But getting entertainment right requires more than being entertaining,” Edwards reminds us. Successful entertainment finds narratives that are captivating and uniquely convey the brand’s message. And the impact of technology in this realm is profound, with each year introducing new platforms, partnerships, and ways to experience content. “When it’s done well, [entertainment] is the most powerful force on Earth. Plus, it changes every year, because the entertainment industry changes every year. Technology, film, episodic, documentary, live experiences, gaming and music make this an exciting and interesting category.” Learn more from Geoff here.


Relive every moment from Stagwell’s SPORT BEACH at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – without moving an inch. Stream mainstage sessions and interviews from the Content Studio on YouTube here. 



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