What were your highlights and lowlights from Cannes Lions 2024?

What were your highlights and lowlights from Cannes Lions 2024?
Cannes Lions 2024

Creativity, AI, retail media, diversity and award-winning ads inspired discussions at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

As it comes to a close for another year, The Media Leader asked attendees about their highlights and lowlights.

Lucy Rennie, co-director of awards, Outvertising

OVT Awards Lucy Rennie

“Cannes, the place of so much, with more than 1,000 fringe events — you’ll never do a fraction of it and so it teaches you the rewarding mindset of freestyling.

“It is evidence that comparison is the thief of joy. And joy can be found anywhere, as long as you have good attitudes and people.

“Some powerful stages have truly fostered more inclusion and joy, with the Wacl x Propeller Empower Café and Inkwell leading the charge with visible presence. Diversity is a reality but inclusion is a choice, and it’s great to see the choice being more practised, beyond just the famous Google Pride!”

Steph Inez Matthews, freelance growth specialist

Steph Matthews headshot square

“The highs: seeing a lot more visible diversity across the Croisette events in terms of programming and attendance.

“More intentional non-alcohol-centred activities. Spotify’s Liquid Death cans gave me the warm beer gig experience without the hangover.

“Being amongst my queer industry community at YouTube Pride at Google Beach.

“The lows: AI scaremongering. It won’t replace the human lived experience — it just frees up more time to be creative. New buzzword, please.

“This year’s dirty brown rain. WTF?

“Going to Cannes self-funded as a freelancer. I really did miss that company expense account.”

Elizabeth Anyaegbuna, co-founder, 16×9 Media

Elizabeth Anyaegbuna square

“My highlights: increased diversity, featuring in a Pinterest promo on Linkedin, Join Our Table being hosted by Pinterest and Microsoft, Spotify content, a panellist for Wacl Empower Café and AI content.

“Lowlight: not packing an umbrella.”

Michael Brown, managing partner, UM

Michael Brown small“One of the most striking things about Cannes 2024 was the number of advertisers who were in town, hungry for insight. The festival was very busy generally.

“As well as celebrating creativity, the week, as always, has been an epic moment of connection and conversation and community — and, indeed, of fun. I loved having a dance with clients, partners and colleagues from around the world.

“The erratic weather captured undercurrents of unpredictability in the air in our wider world, the spectre of potentially worrying political shifts and the climate crisis.

“I was particularly impressed by how Conscious Advertising Network, The Diversity Standards Collective, Good-Loop and Unstereotype Alliance showed up, driving forward their important messages.”

Unstereotype Alliance members event at Cannes. Hosted IPG Mediabrands. Credit Michael Brown
Unstereotype Alliance event at Cannes, hosted IPG Mediabrands


Kianna Lucilla Joseph, #CannesForAll and #Arise future leader, Brixton Finishing School

Kianna Joseph square

“My first time at Cannes has been an incredible experience, from being able to meet and connect with people I’ve admired from across the world, hosting a panel at the Wacl Café and getting my first tattoo at Pinterest — because of course it wasn’t all work and no play.

“People-watching at the Gutter Bar was definitely an experience.

“One thing I wasn’t prepared for is easily getting FOMO at Cannes and being on the verge of burnout trying to get to everything at once.”

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