Cannes Lions 2016: The View Of A 25-Year-Old Aussie First Timer!

Cannes Lions 2016: The View Of A 25-Year-Old Aussie First Timer!

Ryan Manning (pictured below), MediaCom’s 25-year-old content distribution director, has just spent a week in Cannes. Here’s his take on the week’s best bits, the outtakes and the highlights..


I was lucky enough to be sent to Cannes Lions this year. My first time to travel to the Riviera, I had no idea what to expect. I was totally blown away, beyond the rosé and tiny dogs (they really are tiny), it was the most inspirational week of my career.


Cannes for me felt more like a tech conference than a marketing one at times. I loved this and learnt so much about new ways to connect with audiences through technology.

There seemed to be a clear division between the people that loved this and people that hated it. I have seen lots of reviews and opinion pieces (typically from people who have been in the industry for a long time) that this festival is less and less about marketing and creativity. I personally loved that the tech was on display, creativity through technology is one of the most exciting opportunities for agencies and brands.


Artificial Intelligence is starting to break through and is the topic of a large number of the more forward thinking discussions. I just purchased an Amazon Echo that will sit in the middle of our content team and this is why:

AI will be more intelligent than humans by 2040. Because of this AI will have more impact on purchase decision than any other touch point:

  • “Alexa, where should I stay when I go to Cannes?”
  • “Alexa, can you book my flights back to Australia please?”

AI will be have a drastic impact to the way we search for information. If you and your brands don’t understand it, how can you use it? Go and buy one.. Your business probably spends thousands on training, how about $200 on the future of search?


The Internet Of Things was a hot topic at Cannes this year, we are yet to see too many executions winning awards but the IOT is on the radar of the most inspirational people in the industry. The evolution of the Internet Of Things looks to become the Internet Of Me. This concept of a connected and hyper-personalised ecosystem of digital and physical things brings with it the ultimate opportunity in one-to-one brand communication.


VR was just as massive as I expected it to be. Loads of award winning work, and loads of discussion.

I love virtual reality and I really believe in it. There has been mixed sentiment about the technology’s future, but given the massive investment businesses such as Facebook, Google and Samsung have made, I think it has a very bright future. Some of the most exciting VR I experienced was:

  • The Samsung VR roller coaster – Taking the VR world and combining it with a physical experience to match takes this technology to the next level.
  • The New York Times took away the Grand Prix in the innovation and storytelling category for their VR experience The Displaced.

  • Field trip to Mars – VR experience with no goggles!


Sitting in the airport waiting for my flight, I felt that whilst there is a strong feeling of optimism and opportunity in our industry currently, there is also a fair amount of uncertainty that goes with it. These were the topics in my mind that left most people divided at Cannes

Programmatic & Data

It became quite clear that there is a battle of the yachts in Cannes. This year there were about 20 adtech Yachts Vs News and Daily Mail in their mega yachts at the end. This war of traditional media vs adtech was a real theme throughout the festival.

Programmatic in particular was a bloody battlefield, everyone loves the technology but there is vast difference of opinion as to how powerful it really is. My core takeout was that the technology is awesome, you can reach people like never before but you still need to talk to people. Sell to robots, talk to people.

Data was another hot topic, there were many facets to the data battle including measurement, quality control and data sources but the topic that caused the most conversation was data and creativity. For me it is clear that the creative process needs to be revolutionised to utilise the wealth of information we now have available. Creatives are worried and I don’t blame them, we need to use data to power creativity not prevent it.

Curation Vs Algorithms

A number of very interesting talks spoke about how people access content and the way it is changing. Traditional forms of content discovery such as newspapers and magazines went head to head with algorithmic discovery such as search and social.

Flipbook CEO Mike McCue took a strong stance on this with his core argument revolving around the art of curation and showing people things they may have never considered looking at.

My opinion is that curation and algorthims can live side by side. It’s the individual’s intent and state of mind that should define which takes dominance. I felt this topic to be very important, as we move into a world of content overload, how do we know what to show who?

Ad Blocking – The Elephant In The Room

I expected that this festival would be used as a forum to try and combat the impact of ad blocking across the industry. I might have missed the wrong talks but I felt like it was a bit taboo.

If we are going to stop people blocking ads, here are three things I think the industry needs to do.

  1. Talk about it – use these events to work together and fix it.
  2. Share the responsibility – brands need to have confidence in content, agencies need to make better ads, and publishers need to say no to bad ones!
  3. Tell people we are doing something – explain to people they don’t need to block ads anymore.

People block ads because the ads are annoying – let’s just make them better?

Stay tuned for Ryan’s second Cannes instalment on B&T tomorrow…

Please login with linkedin to comment

agency Cannes Lions 2016 Community summer campaign

Latest News

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom
  • Technology

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom

Twitter has just experienced its fastest growth in revenue since 2014, with the social media platform benefiting from increased interest from advertisers. Revenue was up 74 per cent YoY, according to the company’s Q2 results, reaching $US1.19 billion ($1.6 billion) from $US683.4 million ($925 million) 12 months ago. The strong results came in the same […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey

Wild Turkey has announced the launch of its new global creative campaign and platform, ‘Trust Your Spirit’, featuring the brand’s creative director and spokesperson, Matthew McConaughey. The global campaign and platform ‘Trust Your Spirit’ is to encourage people to be bold, unapologetically themselves, and stay true to who they are. The global tagline and ethos […]

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign

Telecommunications company Optus has announced it will launch the world’s first TikTok sign-language activated filter. Featuring Optus ambassador Ian Thorpe, Optus will unveil a branded effect that shows TikTok users how to say key phrases in Auslan sign language, including ‘How are you?’ and ‘It starts with Yes’, through the hashtag challenge #SignYes. Optus will […]

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF
  • Campaigns

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF

Asia Pacific’s leading provider of vehicle parts, accessories, equipment, service and solutions, Bapcor will launch its latest campaign, ‘The unseen parts of every Australian journey’ this weekend.

Professional microphone in radio studio
  • Advertising
  • Media

Podsight’s Benchmark Report Shows Podcast Advertising More Effective Than Other Digital Channels

Podsights has revealed new insights into the effectiveness of advertising in podcasts, tracking global and Australian podcast advertising trends. This is the first Australian report to be published since ARN partnered with Podsights to set the standard for best-in-class podcast advertising measurement. The report includes additional analysis and follows a series of Measurement Masterclasses held for […]

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life
  • Campaigns

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life

NGEN’s 2021 charity cup has raised over $175,000 for UnLtd charity partner Gotcha4Life. Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation raising awareness and funding to provide educational workshops and innovative programs that build mental fitness in individuals and communities. While Sydney and Brisbane completed the Charity Cup in June, before Covid restrictions hit, the final leg in […]

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge
  • Campaigns

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge

Australian tech incubator Cicada Innovations and Biennale of Sydney are launching the ‘New & Sustainable Materials Challenge,’ in an effort to create a more sustainable future. The works of chosen material-makers will be showcased to millions of Biennale audiences, exhibition partners, and exhibition makers globally. The Challenge is open to any Australian and UK startups, […]