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CANNES — Since rebranding itself the “festival of creativity,” Cannes Lions has had no shortage of Hollywood talent and execs flocking to the Cote d’Azur less than a month after the iconic film festival rolls up its red carpet. This year Bono, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ralph Fiennes and Jared Leto are among the many stars who will grace the Croisette along with hit producers David Benioff (Game of Thrones), Armando Iannucci (Veep), Gale Ann Hurd (The Walking Dead) and Gareth Neame (Downton Abbey) and director Spike Jonze.
The festival, which started out solely focusing on the advertising business, has expanded to explore creative content creation and branding. For example, Bono will be there to discuss his (RED) brand, which has raised over $250 million for the Global Fund for AIDS, in partnership with global corporate behemoths such as Apple and Coca-Cola.
Beyond the festival’s partner, Spotify, the event has also attracted tech companies such as Microsoft, Samsung and Twitter.
Execs from YouTube, Vice Media and the Disney-owned Maker Studios will be on hand to address the increasingly blurry lines between entertainment and advertising, as well as how to monetize content online, while Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg will be headlining talks.
YouTube is a huge focus this year, with Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who snapped up Awesomeness TV for $33 million just over a year ago, appearing to discuss the art of storytelling on the Google-owned online platform.
YouTube stars are here too. Comedian KassemG, whose “California On” show on his self-branded channel gets over 1 million viewers per episode, will address the changing entertainment landscape as younger viewers migrate to online, on-demand properties.
Old-school cable and media companies also will hit the Croisette to discuss the challenges of their changing business, with Viacom’s Philippe Dauman and (the beleaguered) Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes both addressing the challenges of storytelling in the competitive creative landscape.
Getty Images’ CEO Jonathan Klein will discuss the visual focus of media storytelling today in a talk titled “Why Pictures Are the Language of Our Time,” while Cosmo magazine’s editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, will discuss the media’s and public’s ongoing obsession with celebrity, in conversation with Parker.
Along with Spotify, music makers are also on board — Kanye West was a surprise and high-profile last-minute addition to the roster and is scheduled to speak on Tuesday. Courtney Love, Imogen Heap and Ne-Yo will address creativity in the music community. Ne-Yo will attempt to answer the philosophical question “Is your brand part of music culture or just borrowing interest?” in a Friday-morning meeting of the minds in conversation with Atlantic Records vp Brad Rains and CAA director of brand partnerships and sponsorships Rafael McDonnell.
More than 12,500 participants are expected to converge on Cannes this week for the conference, which runs from June 16-21.
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