WPP chief Martin Sorrell added to the growing chorus on the relevance of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity at a session with media on the sidelines of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity
Last year, WPP had said that there were certain issues with Cannes Lions that had to be dealt with -- on whether the format was correct, or the location was correct. Adding that the history of Cannes was decidedly European, Sorrell said, "The Anglo-Saxons and the Americans came in later, and it became much more global conference."
To be fair, Sorrell accepted that Cannes Lions has become more inclusive from its original roots. "We welcome the fact that it has Health, Glass Lions, Titanium Lions as that defines creativity in a much more modern way than Don Draper (of Mad Men) would," said Sorrell.
On the downside, he said, "It's too expensive, too frenetic. With the industry facing the challenges and the opportunities, this is not the right atmosphere. This is not the right approach."
The WPP group had 1000 employees participating at Cannes last year. This year, the number is in the range of 500 employees at Cannes.
Sorrell however added that a boycott is not the right way to do it. "A boycott on YouTube did not work," he said speaking about Havas London's boycott of YouTube for inappropriate placement of ads. "Our people enjoy this when they win a Lion as it's judged by their peers. Similarly clients love it. But Cannes in June might not necessarily be the right place to do it. There are locations in London, New York, Paris or Berlin. It can be done differently, it can be done better," he said.
"Every organisation is going through major technological and structural change. Cannes Lions should be no different," said Sorrell.