Cannes Lions Bring Together Execs and Celebs From Creativity and Commerce

Cannes Lions, an event that has gathered creatives and marketers since 1954, boasts a roll call of showbiz stars, media chiefs and academics that gives it the feel of a cross of the Golden Globes, TED Talks and Davos. But the spotlight is not on the celebrities; instead, the fest focuses on content and the cross-pollination of creativity, commerce and culture.

If you look at the names of those who are speaking at the Riviera event, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were at a Hollywood after-party rather than an event traditionally associated with the worlds of advertising and marketing. TV talking heads including Conan O’Brien, Chris Cuomo and Shaquille O’Neal mingle with such filmmakers as Tyler Perry and James Marsh, actors Kevin Costner, Thandie Newton and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and music world habitués Paloma Faith, Common and Johnny Marr, formerly of the Smiths.

But to dwell on the glitzy names is a mistake, says Jose Papa, managing director of Cannes Lions. “What we are looking for is to really drive amazing, inspirational, ground-breaking, business-transformative content and viewpoints,” he says. “It is all about what the message is, and whom you are inspiring, because what we expect is to really transform viewpoints, challenge the boundaries of thinking, and we know this comes from a plethora of different individuals.”

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