2012 certainly seemed to be “the year of the CMO” at the Festival. The sharp rise in registered delegates - from 9,000 last year to 11,000 this year - was primarily due to the number of clients attending, including delegates from 92 big-name brands and 550 marketing organizations in total. They had starring roles in seminars, forums and workshops, as well as made appearances in “fringe” events such as the McCannes Rendezvous “Cocktails & Conversations” session, and The CMO Club Roundtable.
Of course many of the usual culprits were there such as P&G, Unilever and Coke, but there were several new brands on the scene too, and of course many brands doing double duty – not just there to speak or see what’s new, but also there to market to the creative community (Google, Adobe, Getty Images, Facebook and Yahoo! to name a few).
There were forums and workshops geared for and starring senior marketers as well. Dana Anderson of Kraft led a particularly good forum on “5 Sneaky Ways to Get Great Work” which was highly entertaining, and which featured work from a range of brands, including the “Angry Pilgrims” creative for Stove Top Stuffing.
The workshop led by Brand Learning’s co-founders Mhairi McEwan and Andy Bird was also tailored to the marketing community and for agency folk wanting to better understand the marketing community. Entitled “The Growth Drivers: Challenging the Way Marketers & Agencies Work Together”, it featured Kerris Bright, CMO of Ideal Standard International, Barry Herstein, recent CMO for Snapfish, and Amanda Mackenzie, CMO for Aviva.
Another “fringe” event, The CMO Club’s CMO Roundtable, was kicked off by CMO Club CEO Pete Krainik and included senior marketers from Yahoo!, Sovereign/Santander Bank, Carlsberg, Ferrero, General Mills, Heineken, Google, Beiersdorf (Nivea), Philips and Unilever. Hosted by EffectiveBrands and MOFILM, the conversation focused how to best leverage global brands, using frameworks, best practice sharing, story-telling and engaging in the conversation.
And marketing delegates were not confined to the upper echelon. 2012 was the second year for the Cannes Creative Academy for Young Marketers (under 30) for young marketers who want to learn about creativity, with Dean of the Academy, former global marketing officer for P&G Jim Stengel, who also earlier this year launched his book Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies.
So while creatives may not be overly enthusiastic about an increasing number of marketers flocking to the Cannes Lions, they should at least be appreciative that marketers are taking an increasing interest in creativity and how to encourage best-in-class creativity, and that they respect the Cannes Lions enough to support the Festival with truly amazing content, major announcements and thought-provoking conversations.
As Claire Beale, editor of the UK's Campaign magazine, said, "This is a serious, full-on business event that's a thoroughly justifiable way of spending a week out of the office and even a fairly justifiable way of spending several thousands of expense-account pounds [dollars]. It's perhaps not as much fun as it used to be, but then, what is?"