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The 2015 Cannes Lions Festival — which wraps up Saturday — lived up to its hype.
This year’s event had it all: sex, drugs (mainly wine in the form of rosé, to be fair) and Kim Kardashian. As the world’s largest event dedicated to the art of the ad comes to a close, THR takes a blurry look back at the events of the week and wonders what it all means.
Here are five takeaways from the international festival of creativity.
Even The Cool Kids Want to Be on TV
Television series — those bits between the commercials — were front and center at this year’s Cannes Lions, an indication of the growing convergence between the advertising and creative sides of the industry.
In this golden age of TV, ad executives are eager to learn the creative secrets of on-screen talent, such as How To Get Away With Murder‘s Viola Davis, who spoke to a packed crowd about breaking all the rules on her hit ABC series, or Veep‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who took the Cannes Lions stage (along with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and moderator, CNN star Christiane Amanpour) to talk about the impact of her HBO comedy on the culture of Washington and the image of women in power.
Even the cool kids — the tech companies that have come to dominate the Cannes Lions — are rushing to do TV, or at least a version of it. Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti said the listicle-heavy site was taking a serious look at how it could produce TV shows and movies.
Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel noted that the company’s Story and Discovery functions are turning the mobile app into a kind of news channel, and DailyMail.com, the world’s leading English-language news site, announced a deal with TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw to do a daily news and entertainment program, DailyMailTV.
What Happens in Cannes, Gets Posted to Twitter and Goes Viral
The biggest story of the 2015 Cannes Lions had nothing to do with brands, convergence or cross-marketing, but with primal passion.
A photo of a couple having sex on the Cannes red carpet in the early morning hours became an online sensation. David Griner, managing editor of digital at Adweek, snapped the shot. He and a few colleagues were sitting on a balcony at a relaxed party thrown by an ad agency when they saw the scene unfold, occasionally looking at each other with an ‘Is this really happening?’ face, Griner wrote in an Adweek post. “Since we couldn’t really see the couple’s faces, I snapped a photo with my iPhone just for a laugh. I didn’t even think you’d really be able to see them at all with the giant glowing sign overhead and general darkness.”
Here’s the story behind my photo of 2 people having sex on the #CannesLions red carpet: http://t.co/kgLZW3oUKp pic.twitter.com/55tOaGRnqe
— David Griner (@griner) June 24, 2015
Griner’s tweet of the photo was retweeted hundreds of times and got picked up by everyone from Reddit to Page Six, US Weekly, Cosmopolitan and, of course, The Hollywood Reporter.
James Murdoch Wants to Keep It In The Family
In his first major public appearance since being named CEO of 21st Century Fox, James Murdoch told the Cannes Lions crowd not to expect a Shakespearean battle between himself and his brother Lachlan, who will become Fox’s co-executive chairman on July 1 when James becomes CEO.
Saying his relationship with his older brother is “very much a partnership,” Murdoch said all the members of his family in top executive roles at Fox were “very eye-to-eye” on business issues.
, and he died a couple of years later. The whole family was completely torn apart.””]
Talent Wants More Control Over Branding
On-air stars are embracing brands like never before — the 2015 Cannes Lions was a love-in between companies, ad agencies and talent. But the stars want to dictate the terms of the deal.
Kim Kardashian said she was open to being a pitch woman for various brands but said she had banned paid promotions on her Instagram feed, saying it was an intimate “no-promo” zone for her fans. Entourage star Adrian Grenier said he didn’t want to be “a tool of greenwash,” referring to companies who present a false environmentally responsible public image.
And public radio icon Ira Glass said even NPR was open to big-name brands, as long as they can connect with the independent journalism and idealism of shows like Serial and This American Life.
Commercials Can Change the World. Maybe.
Campaigns with a social conscience were all the buzz in Cannes.
British director Richard Curtis joined forces with Slumdog Millionaire actress Freida Pinto and 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor to launch Global Goals, a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore received the Cannes LionHeart award for his work promoting climate change initiatives. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver showed up to chastise the junk food industry (and promote his healthy living You-app).
And the spotlight was on the inaugural Glass Lion award, inspired by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, for work that challenges gender stereotypes in advertising.
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