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Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2024: Highlights and Takeaways

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The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is always a highlight on our calendar, and this year was no exception. We were thrilled to team up with Stagwell at Sport Beach and Brand Innovators to explore the dynamic intersection of technology, creativity, and culture.

The week was a whirlwind of innovation, inspiration, and remarkable creativity. Some of the standout moments for PadSquad included sharing the stage with Valda Coryat, VP - North America Marketing, Condiments & Sauces at McCormick & Company, Kara Gelber, VP of Media at Stagwell, and Liz Caselli-Mechael, Global Head of Content and Digital  at Nestlé. In these discussions, we dove into the transformative power of AI, the importance of authenticity in brand storytelling, and why an entrepreneurial spirit is crucial in navigating the future of advertising.

Keep reading (and watching) to unpack the key themes and highlights from our week on La Plage!

The Intersection of AI and Creativity

At PadSquad, we believe that creativity is what makes us human. When we remove barriers to creativity, remarkable things can happen. AI was one of the most talked-about trends at Cannes. Conversations spanned from the role of AI within the creative process to how AI can be used to automate and enhance human creativity and efficiency. From generating creative concepts to optimizing ad placements, AI is transforming how brands approach content creation.

The concept of AI disclosure was even part of the jury process this year, setting a new standard for transparency and ethical use of technology. This move highlights the festival's commitment to keeping the creative industry accountable and forward-thinking. All while taking the step to tackle agency, creative and client fears about not knowing what is and isn't leveraging this powerful new tool and way of working. 


Our SVP of Creative and Innovation, Jen Gavin, shared her thoughts on the role of AI and the creative process with Stagwell's VP, Media, Kara Gelber at Sport Beach. Check out the interview below👇

Jennifer Gavin on Creative & Innovation at PadSquad


Authenticity in Advertising

The Cannes Lions Festival consistently demonstrates its commitment to purpose, inclusion, and authenticity in advertising. One of the biggest takeaways from our discussions about brand authenticity was the importance of inclusive marketing practices and brand storytelling. Which includes staffing teams with diverse employees, telling more personalized brand stories, utilizing technology to do so scalably, and forging partnerships with culturally relevant partners and creators to show up in more relevant ways.

Engaging consumers through compelling brand experiences helps brands resonate deeply with their audience.  In our interview with Liz, she shares how using technology has helped her team to stay nimble and act more fearlessly.


Hear what Lance Wolder, PadSquad’s Head of Marketing and Strategy, and Liz Caselli, Global Head of Content & Digital at Nestlé, had to say about authentic brand experiences below👇

The Rise of Media Networks

Retail were a hot topic at Cannes, with major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Chase promoting their premium data, inventory, and attribution solutions. Though Travel and Finance are also getting into the game, with United Airlines launching their own advertising solution to partners. 

These networks create a new opportunity for brands to connect to consumers, though what still remains to be seen, is how the ad experience itself makes its way to consumers. This part, focusing on what the individual sees, is something PadSquad is passionate about.   We live and breathe the world of ad experiences, which is why we partnered with Amazon in 2023 to bring more compelling high-impact ad experiences to brands that are running on their DSP.

The conversation around media networks at Cannes focused mainly on its growth potential and unique access to data. Advertisers and their agencies are showing a lot of excitement about to leverage valuable second-party data to enhance targeting and increase relevance. These new 'publishers', on the other hand, see the alternate media network as a new revenue stream and way to deepen their partnerships with brands.

Looking Forward

Cannes Lions 2024 wasn’t just about the yacht parties, rosé, and celebrity speakers; it was a celebration of creativity and a deep dive into the industry’s future. While things are changing fast in the world of advertising, the opportunities to make deep connections with consumers are boundless, which is an exciting time for PadSquad and our brave brands partners that look to push the limits of what's possible.

Embrace AI. Double down on authenticity. Seek out third-party cookie alternatives. Above all, continuously test, learn, and iterate – strive to create brand stories and creative that is remarkable.

We hope these takeaways inspire you to push the boundaries of creativity in your next campaign. Ready to take your creative strategies desktop, mobile, or CTV to the next level?

Contact us today!


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