The real winners of the 2015 Cannes Lions

Digiday covers the latest from marketing and media at the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. More from the series →


Cannes is almost over and the A-Listers are already starting to head off on their summer vacations. But while the official Cannes Lions awards are still being doled out, the real action at Cannes rarely happens inside the Palais des Festivals. Instead, the scene is centered on yachts docked out to sea, in nearby Antibes or one of the numerous villas off the main Croisette.

The shadow action in Cannes is intense enough that it warrants its own suite of Lions. We’re more than happy to oblige.

The best party you didn’t get invited to
Undoubtedly, WPP Stream, the “unconference” hosted by WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell takes the cake in this category. Brands and agency folks gather on a small island off Cannes for the day on Tuesday to “debate the future of digital.” You can’t leave, and there are no planned presentations. An exec who has been in the past said that instead, people come and write down what they want to speak about on a big board. Then, people can choose which talk they want to go to. There’s a party that evening, too — also invite-only. Numerous WPP-owned agency execs were overheard comparing notes on whether they were invited or not.

The most age-appropriate celebrity performance
Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” at the awards gala Monday night. Verily, the songstress is still like a bird.

Grand Prix for outdoor activities
The couple making al fresco amour on the red carpet late Monday night. Yes, there is video. And, no, you won’t find it here.

Best rumor
A big-brand CEO was reportedly kicked off an agency boat in the wee hours by the boat’s irate staff, saying he had “overstayed his welcome.”

Best giggle
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel made his debut at Cannes and charmed many with his regular giggling on stage.

Most questionable ad spending
The Lumascape pretty much took over the harbor in Cannes, with yachts of varying sizes. Even small ad tech firms shelled out six figures for yachts for the week. One ad tech exec sitting out the yacht arms race said there’s no way to make the numbers work.

Most ubiquitous presence
Medialink has become an omnipresent force in the media and advertising industry. From its parties to its events at the Carlton and elsewhere, the consulting firm flexed it muscles — and left some wondering if there’s anybody in the industry not paying them.

The best swag
Mashable’s Ray-Bans 

Mashable swag, #CannesLions edition A photo posted by Adam Ostrow (@adamostrow) on

Biggest boat
The Daily Mail went full-court press with a giant yacht that came with a basketball court.

Most entitled action
About 30 high-ranking agency folks went out to an island for lunch via boat Wednesday, but the “sea was too choppy” to come back on it. They took helicopters back.

Best soirée
The Annual Indian Bash thrown by Times of India on the Mandala Beach. Biryani was rumored to have been flown in from Nice.

Best labor action
A taxi strike that involved drivers barricading the Nice airport — all because of the threat they face from Uber. Executives from one agency had their car attacked by rocks and eggs. Courtney Love didn’t fair much better. This gave some executives a perfect excuse to take a helicopter, provided by — mais, oui — Uber.

Best dinner
Medialink and iHeartMedia’s “secret” dinner at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc Tuesday night. Sting performed. Mariah Carey watched. Atlas shrugged, maybe.

The best stunt
First befuddling, then genius: The Barbarian Group handed out old-school brick-sized mobile phones to 80 selected Cannes attendees. Each phone was pre-programmed with five other numbers. Great conversations ensued.

Best quote
“All too often, sensible women look at the top of the industry and see a bunch of white guys talking to each other and think: ‘Who the fuck would want to work like that?’” — Cindy Gallop, jury president, Glass Lion

Brian Morrissey contributed reporting

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