The 55th Annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival begins in earnest Monday, with seminars, schmoozing and a global advertising awards competition on the French Riviera.
But in the past five years, the festival, considered the ad industry's creative pinnacle, has attracted increasing numbers of major clients among the 10,000 attendees. Marketers including Procter & Gamble pg, Coca-Cola ko, Nike nke, Anheuser-Busch bud, Frito-Lay pep and McDonald's mcd have come to see and learn about the best ads worldwide.
P&G, which this year is being honored as Advertiser of the Year, says the payoff has been better, more effective advertising.
"It's been a five-year learning journey," says Jim Stengel, global marketing officer, who will collect the award on Saturday with P&G CEO Alan Lafley. "Our objective wasn't to win this award. Our objective was to become more innovative, inspiring and engaging with our consumers."
Several of the consumer product giant's campaigns are among the entries for Lions awards this year, including one for Pampers that helps fund tetanus shots for mothers in developing countries. The U.S. version of the campaign, which started two years ago in Britain, promises 5 cents per purchase to a U.N. fund through Aug. 31. It is expected to pay for 45 million vaccinations.
"To us, that is a great example of … bringing to life our brand purpose — helping babies with their development," says Jane Wildman, who oversees Pampers marketing.
Another trend at the week-long festival is that judging awards in 10 ad categories has gotten tougher. As media forms have converged, lines between categories have blurred. For example, "film" award entries — formerly only TV and cinema ads — now include video made for mobile and Web viewing.
That shows the "mainstreaming" of digital advertising, says Colleen DeCourcy, chief digital officer at TBWA/Chiat/Day, who this year is head of the judges for the Cyber (online ad campaign) category.
She cites Microsoft's msft campaign for the video game Halo 3, out last summer, as an example of how digital marketing has grown. "It's a funny combination of gaming, Hollywood and advertising. The cyberwork this year will resemble traditional advertising more than ever. Before, it was a lot of websites and banners."
U.S. judges at Cannes Lions
The centerpiece of the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival is the competition among more than 28,000 entries from 85 countries to be judged the most creative advertising in the world in 10 categories by juries of nearly 200 veteran ad professionals. Among the judges awarding Grand Prix and gold, silver and bronze Lions will be 16 from the USA:
• Film: Susan Credle, executive vice president, creative director, BBDO, New York.
•Print: Sarah Barclay, executive creative director, JWT, New York.
• Billboards and posters: David Angelo, chairman and chief creative officer, DavidandGoliath, El Segundo, Calif.
• Cyber: Colleen DeCourcy (jury president), chief digital officer, TBWA/Chiat/Day; Michael Lebowitz, CEO, Big Spaceship, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Media buying: Laura Desmond, CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group Americas, New York.
• Direct mail and sales: Janet Barker-Evans, senior group creative director, Draftfcb, Chicago; Mauro Alencar, executive creative director, Publicis Modem & Dialog West, San Francisco.
• Radio: Mark Gross (jury president), senior vice president, group creative director, DDB, Chicago.
• Sales promotion: William Rosen, chief creative officer, North America, Arc Worldwide, Chicago.
• Product/package design: Steff Geissbuhler, partner, C&G Partners, New York; Nancye Green, Danbury, Conn.
• New ideas/multimedia: Mark Tutssel (jury president), chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Chicago; Andrew Keller, executive creative director, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Colo.; Paul Woolmington, partner, Naked Communications, New York; Ty Montague, chief creative officer, JWT, New York; Nick Law, executive vice president and chief creative officer, R/GA.