Creative Opinions: Adland insiders on the Publicis Cannes Lions pullout

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The news that Publicis Groupe was pulling out of Cannes Lions next year (and all other awards shows in kind for the next 12 months) was quite comfortably one of the biggest stories of the festival this year.

The fact that they are doing so supposedly to focus their resources on their revolutionary Marcel AI platform only exacerbated the veracity of the wagging chins. Now that the dust has settled on the announcement almost two weeks later, Creativepool reached out to a few industry insiders to gather their thoughts, feelings and opinions on the big news.

HeyHuman MD Neil Davidson, speaks to CreativePool on the divisiveness of the Publicis decision.

Publicis’ decision to pull out of Cannes has clearly divided the industry. Many feel that the move is ill-judged and inward-facing, while others see it as the perfect rebellion.

Cannes needs to rethink in reaction to the questions being asked, but the best way to approach the issue is to reform from within, not to defect. Many agencies are on the same page, and as festival organisers take stock and reflect, it’s important that they can evolve the format of the event to help agencies justify the spend that goes into attending and sponsoring Cannes – particularly as industry purse strings tighten.

My decision to pull out of Cannes this year was a personal one, shaped by London events prior to Cannes.

Our office is a mere 3.5 miles from Grenfell tower, so it only felt appropriate to donate the money I would otherwise have spent at the festival to the Red Cross, a charity that is helping to support affected residents following the disaster.

Fundamentally though, I don’t understand why Publicis would want to completely isolate themselves from industry awards altogether. While they may not feel that investing in Cannes is right for them, the festival is a brilliant way by which to recognise industry innovation and inspire the next generation of creative thinkers.

The format of the festival clearly needs revisiting, but in my opinion, Cannes is and will remain an important celebration of creative achievement for years to come.

To read the full article on Creativepool, click here.



Neil Davidson
Neil Davidson

Managing Director and secret beekeeper

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