For its first four decades, the festival was a place for creatives to showcase their best work as it had appeared across a small number of media, but mainly TV. The explosion and fragmentation of media channels has changed all that.
As Jack Klues, the chairman of VivaKi and president of this year’s Media Lions jury, notes, in the age of empowered consumers, "the message and medium must act as equal ingredients in the consumer engagement mix". "Knowing where a person is when we reach them is just as important as what we say to them," he says.
Of course, there will be growing pains. The proliferation of media has led to problems in the Cannes judging process itself. As detailed in our analysis opposite, the sheer workload and time required to evaluate the increasing number of entries have led to a change in procedure this year.
'Media's growing presence at Cannes is testament to the central role it now plays in marketing communications'
Meanwhile, as the business evolves from being solely about the planning and buying of paid-for channels into embracing what Publicis Groupe agencies such as VivaKi like to call "human experiences", a fresh approach is required to evaluate these new behavioural drivers. "We are about defining target audiences as people with unique motivations, behaviours and buying patterns," Klues says. "Not just demographics."
And this challenge to adapt is not only consigned to the artificial constructs of international awards ceremonies. At Campaign’s Media360 event last week, Colin Gottlieb, the EMEA chief executive of Omnicom Media Group, attacked "arcane media metrics". From the pitch process onwards, he says the baseline information required by clients holds no relevance to real-time marketing, e-commerce and the wider ecosystem within which agencies now operate. Gottlieb’s call to establish new metrics, with a view to how they can relate to a client’s business KPIs, appeared to strike a chord. Watch this space.