Cannes Reflections: Highlights and insights

Over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve become a somewhat environmentalist. I say somewhat as I am to fundamentalist-level on some things, and other things just don’t resonate, or I feel they are politically motivated rather than for the good of the planet.

This is my take on Cannes.

My role is Commercial Strategy so I have to design optimal  routes for our commercial teams to follow, and try to pave the road where I can, or smooth some hills elsewhere. 

Now Cannes creates a genuine dilemma - on one hand it’s seemingly wanton largesse to appease egos, and in doing so batter the planet a little more with quite unnecessary emissions, right?

On the other hand it’s a chance for people, like me, to be able to meet with senior execs and have face-to-face meetings about business altering decisions and often substantial directional shifts - I had planned meetings with around 25 senior people across media, AdTech, and agencies.

20 were from the US, 3 Europe and a couple of Brits; I met dozens more but these were the pre-planned meetings. We had to meet as we’d reached so far digitally (zoom & meets), but a face-to-face was needed to finalise everything. We had to meet, make eye-contact and discuss the finer aspects, and also share views on how things would work under different scenarios - also, we are humans and socialising is a thing, for our species.

So rather than travel to the US a few times, Europe a couple of times I was able to meet all in one spot over 4 days.

Many may argue I simply accelerated things, and this is exactly my point - we sell solutions which lower the amount of data needed to play a video ad, we stream so accelerating change is the point we are all making about taking action, right?

My meetings were with people responsible for the delivery of 100’s of billions of adverts. When one goes live the emission savings, due to the volume of ads being delivered, will make my trip to Cannes seem like a misfire on a motorcycle.

I had to spend some emissions to save a lot.

Cannes is important as so many people are in one place at once, and everyone who goes knows this means business is accelerated.

So rather than bin all events, why aren’t we smarter and realise we need to meet, and to socialise and make one event a year in both the US and Europe THE event and we limit  our travel to twice a year - we can of course find less harmful ways to travel to each, and with the concentrated demand will come supply.

Just a thought. 

Jun 28, 2023