A Postcard From Cannes

#Crowd Culture
BY Adam Smithson
Managing Director Europe
6 Jul 2022

Nestled on the coast of the French Riviera, Cannes comes alive twice a year with the brightest talent from the film and creative industries. Interestingly, the much coveted Cannes Lion is in fact Italian, the now famous trophy was inspired by the Lion of Piazza San Marcos in Venice where the first event took place in 1954. After a jaunt over to Monte Carlo in 1955 the celebration of advertising prowess had its first outing in what would become its permanent home in 1956.

Around the same time on Madison Avenue in Manhattan the birth of modern advertising as we know it was taking place. ‘What you call love was invented by guys like me…to sell Nylons’ was being uttered by television’s most famous ad executive, Don Draper.

Advertising has come a long way since then, as this year’s Outdoor Grand Prix winner demonstrates, a remarkable example of advertising creativity inspired by inclusivity. The campaign, by Havas Middle East and Jack Morton Middle East, saw the brand erect a giant billboard filled with water on a Dubai beach in order to promote its range of inclusive swimwear, inviting swimmers to take a dip inside.

Experiencing Cannes Lions for the first time is much like the brand experiences presented along the pristine beaches: immersive. You have to let Cannes wave over you and embrace the glamour and indulgence. It thrills and excites as much as it inspires and the Croisette promenade is a hive of activity that continues to buzz long into the night.

As a first timer this could perhaps be somewhat overwhelming but Crowd were lucky enough to be a part of the trade mission contingent from DIT and UKAEG. Our participation meant that trade mission companies had an incredible week of events, round tables, breakfast briefings, dinners and even a daily morning networking dip in the strikingly blue waters of the Cote D’Azur. The connections and introductions made at the event were made possible by the handpicked organisations and government bodies attending the DIT and UKAEG events.

The major takeaway from my first Cannes Lions experience was how, as an industry, we can better weave inclusivity and sustainability into the fabric of the creative solutions that we produce for our clients. In order for this to happen we have a responsibility as industry professionals to keep these talking points front of mind, or, to put it another way If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.


Adam is our MD for Crowd Europe and brings a wealth of experience in marketing gained over a 20 year career. Adam has experience across sport, entertainment, fashion, healthcare and consumer electronics sectors.

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