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July 17, 2019
Anatoly Roytman reflects on Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019: “Now hold us accountable to making a difference in the world.”
By: Anatoly Roytman

This year’s Cannes Lions was a fantastic display of the sheer breadth and depth of insight and creativity produced from pressure-cooking the best of the best in our advertising world. From brand trust and brand safety to pinkwashing, sustainability and inclusion—we as an industry asked the hard questions and didn’t shy away from recognizing where we may have fallen short in the past. We also reaffirmed our commitment to celebrating experiences, that made the lives of customers, employees and citizens better and more meaningful.

For Accenture Interactive, this year’s festival was a true demonstration of the monumental growth of the agency’s creative capabilities and experiential work from our creative leaders globally. We had a fivefold increase in Lions wins, with success in 12 categories, including design, film craft, brand experience and activation, entertainment and print and publishing categories. It would be remiss of me not to mention the storming success of Droga5’s work for The New York Times “The Truth is Worth It,” and Nordstrom’s “An Open Mind is the best look” as well as Ho Communication’s double Gold Lion win for KFC’s “Pocket Franchise.” We offered innovative, game-changing work and to be recognized on such an incredibly creatively competitive world stage really demonstrates our strengths.

One of the great things about Cannes is the way it brings together creative minds from across the world in one physical place—a rarity these days. It has been of huge benefit to our Creative Council, which has grown substantially over the past year helmed by Global Managing Director Jon Wilkins. During the week, members of the Accenture Interactive Creative Council convened with Campaign’s Global Editor-in-Chief, Claire Beale, and Unilever’s Global EVP of Marketing, Aline Santos, to discuss the necessity of a symbiotic relationship between creativity and business and why older strategies are no match against industry disruptors. This was made all the more passionate in person, in the center of a global creative hub.



With so many significant and burgeoning questions on the lips of the world’s most important brands this year, it was a pleasure to have hosted luminaries from Financial Times, WIRED, JP Morgan Chase, Sprint, Kimberly-Clark, Lego, Glamour, and Boehringer Ingelheim to chew the fat with us aboard the M/Y Accama. On land, Mish Fletcher picked the brains of the crème de la crème of creative and strategic minds in our Experience TV video series and we brought to life discussions across the 10 main session stages, facilitated conversation-driving events and got stuck into the meaty topics of brand purpose, diversity and what’s in store for the future of the agency landscape.

In addition to the creative discussions on and off our yacht, Brian Whipple, our Accenture Interactive CEO, joined Sir Martin Sorrell at The Drum Arms for a frank discussion on the classic holding company structure. One of the topics they mused on is how the survival of the industry depends on reinventing the traditional network model. Drawing a comparison with Accenture Interactive’s model, Brian stated that our people’s “mission is, over time, to redeploy for solving a number of consumer problems, not just to keep selling more advertising or programmatic or digital media.” Concluding that short-termism and bloat isn’t a good look for anyone. “Go where the growth is,” Sorrell agreed, a potent reminder for anyone inside the industry.



“The industry has changed and we need to stay relevant,” echoed David Droga, founder of Accenture Interactive agency Droga5, in conversation with Brian Whipple at our “When Worlds Collide: The Evolution of Creativity” session. Unafraid of pushing the boundaries, Brian agreed that Accenture Interactive’s acquisition strategy was largely complete in major markets, asking now to be held accountable in “making a difference in the world.”

Accenture Interactive research director Christian Souche joined a panel on the LBB beach, hosted by Dept Agency Head of Strategy Rens Verweij and joined by Dept ECD Rene Verbong and creative strategist Ivar Eden of Facebook Creative Group. The panel explored how technology can make us more human and when it’s just a superfluous add-on. Christian spoke to the groundbreaking work put into “Memory Lane,”, addressing the transformation of the elderly experience through artificial intelligence and companionship.

Our core intention this year was to showcase the transformational experiences we have executed, whilst also working to reinvent the festival experience for delegates. This week in Cannes was a great opportunity to create the Digital Doggy Bag activation in partnership with Cannes Lions—a recap of the key talks, insights, takeaways and winners of Cannes Lions 2019. Covering the key trends from this year’s festival in both Mandarin and English, the Digital Doggy Bag is designed to empower delegates and provide invaluable insights into the non-stop week—allowing them to maximize their festival time, learning and networking, safe in the knowledge that they had everything they needed to take back to the office with them.

But for now, I will warmly thank all who made this year such a success and simply say, au revoir la Croisette, see you next year!