In its 61st year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity coincides with the FIFA World Cup 2014. As journalists such as myself get ready for an action-packed week of awards and discussions, meeting global behemoths that are revolutionising the business, or at least giving the impression that they are, no conversation is happening without the mention of either England losing or Italy winning or something in similar vein. In the course of the week, the scoreboard culture would become a lot more prominent – both at Cannes and Brazil as would the sentiments of excitement and disappointment.
Most definitely not a football fan, I find myself near-intelligently contributing to a conversation, especially when an industry senior is involved, even more especially if I am meeting him for the first time (you know what they say about first impressions). And the only reason why this is manageable is for all the football chatter I can see in my social media streams.
My first Cannes Lions (2006), then it was Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, too was at the same time as the FIFA World Cup. Not a football fan then as well, or in 2010 for that matter, for me, some things around the World Cup have not changed – super senior industry bosses making jokes on the Cannes stage around losing teams, the awkward moments when top officials would be distracted in the midst of an interview just in case there was a television set behind and a match was on or the casual banter around the team that just blew it or was kicking it.
The only thing that has changed is the multiplication of the platforms where I hear all the noise now.
The impact that technology has made on every aspect of our lives stands out so vividly – whether it is the football world cup or the creative world cup.
FIFA World Cup 2014 has been touted as the most mobile and social event ever – more than the Sochi Olympics and the Super Bowl. For Cannes Lions, the conversations are similar – in all seriousness, this is the second year, when the Festival itself has upped its focus on technology not only in the manner it has utilised tech to engaging with delegates through mobile platforms, connections between delegates, access to presentations, enabling streaming of sessions Live but also in the manner that the Festival, and its awards, is being conducted.
The social media quotient around the Festival is at an all time high – journalists are first pushing stories on their social platforms and then worrying about other things, social posts from jurors, participating agencies and companies – the digital decibel level of the Festival is loud.
More often than not, this raises questions on how competitive things have become but if that is where the view is limited, it couldn’t be more myopic.
The beauty of being in the now is how engaging things have become; new audiences are coming in the fold for something like the FIFA World Cup not because someone is tuning into TV or radio to catch on the matches but because the content is part of the stream one is any case following on social. For journalists at Cannes, a post around a shortlist or a seminar gets a response – a share, a like, favourite, retweet or some such, which was not the case eight years ago. If it was possible, the fragmentation has opened up newer avenues to discover new relations and fortify bonds with the old ones.
My first Cannes Lions will always be the most memorable ever, but the Cannes Lions today is already the best ever for the sheer amount of new opportunities that it has presented to deepen the relationship that we try so hard to cultivate with the industry’s ad men, mad men, math men, tech men, what have you…