Cannes Lions: It's A Cash Cow - But We're Okay With That

As is the case every year around this time, everyone starts pointing fingers at Cannes Lions organizers accusing the organization of increasing the number of categories and subcategories just to up award entry fees. This year, there have been 47,500 entries bringing in 28 million Euros. Lions Festivals CEO Phillip Thomas defends the take, saying: "We're a business, not a charity." But then more softly, adds, “People sometimes criticize us for just wanting to make more money. But all we do is react to the changes in the industry.” For the most part, he's right. Award categories simply mirror what's happening in the ad world. And as we all know, it's become an incredibly complex landscape with new forms of advertising popping up every day. Cannes Lions may seem like a cash machine, but as long as the complexity grows and agencies keep ponying up fees, Cannes Lions organizers will be there to take your money.

So what happened in Cannes yesterday? Well, Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora told attendees search has only reached 5% of its potential. And he sees standardization of mobile platforms as a major key in fueling the growth of search. 
    Kanye West waxed eloquent: "Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, was my biggest influence. Just seeing the way he fought to make things easier for people. After he passed, I made it my life's mission to do what he did inside of that company. I dream to help raise the palette and raise the taste level of a generation and also be involved with the production and distribution and advertising of that thing everyone's begging for." What are they begging for? A world in which brands help people achieve things rather than just yell at them.
     In her presentation at Cannes Lions, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer touted Yahoo's success with native advertising, saying: "Native experiences beat their traditional display counterparts in almost every metric." And she mentioned Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr as a big player in that area, adding: "When we acquired Tumblr a year ago, we saw what you probably saw: an unmatched platform for creators and curators. We also saw something else: A great platform for brands." Which our man in Cannes, Joe Mandese, properly categorized as a "giant product pitch." 
    And in terms of winners at last night's Outdoor, Mobile and Media Lions awards, FCB Brasil took home the Mobile Grand Prix for its amazing Nivea "Protection Ad," which consisted of a magazine ad with a removable bracelet and corresponding mobile app to track kids on the beach. Starcom MediaVest took home Media Network of the Year. McCann Lima and Havas Lima won a Grand Prix for Coke's Happy ID campaign. OgilvyOne London won a Gold Media Lion for its British Airways Magic of Flying. Cyranos McCann World Group Europe won a Gold Mobile Lions for its Teatre Neu Pay-Per-Laugh work. HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler was honored with Media Person of the Year. And Whybin TBWA won the Outdoor Grand Prix for its bedazzled ANZ Bank GAYTMs.

Uh oh. A former Arnold Worldwide intern, Mollie Ableman, has sued the agency, filing for punitive damages in New York State Court Monday claiming the agency broke state labor laws when it refused to pay a group of interns that were asked to do the work of regular employees. Ableman was an intern for the agency in 2008 and claims she received no pay or class credit for her time spent at the agency. Why she waited six years to file the suit is unclear.
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