The real winners of the 2016 Cannes Lions

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

The 2016 Cannes Lions is winding down. And while one more award ceremony remains, it’s long been known that the real action during the festival happens away from the Palais. It goes down in the hotels around the Croisette and at parties on beaches. It goes down, if you will, in the DM. As a nod to that reality, Digiday has compiled its own list of winners at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Grand Prix for rumors
That executives from the Association of National Advertisers, scheduled to attend Cannes, were “persuaded” last minute not to buy a consortium of agencies following the release of the agency transparency report.

Silver Lion for rumors
That PR agencies of holding company groups warned executives not to be photographed drinking champagne on yachts.

Best party nobody could get into
The Vice party held on the roof of the Casino at Les Marches. 

Most cringeworthy performance
Craig David “performing” on the Daily Mail mega-yacht. He performed other people’s songs and belted out the odd “woo hoo!” and “uh huh” into a mic.

Best early party
MediaLink’s concurrent “Boys Night Out” and “Girls Night Out” on Monday, hosted by Michael Kassan and Wenda Harris Millard. The boys got bourbon. The girls got mango mojitos.

Best quote
“We’ll link to a $15,000 gold dildo just to troll people. It’s fun,” said Gwyneth Paltrow of her role as curator at Goop. 

Best sign of the times
The New York Times winning the Mobile Grand Prix for its VR app.

Most tasteless stunt
Bob Isherwood, former creative director at Saatchi and Saatchi, having himself “kidnapped” by ISIS-type “militants” as a way to promote a panel.

Best reminder that sexism is alive and well
A party invite for a VaynerMedia and Thrillist party, sent by an outside promotion firm, asking for “attractive females only” to attend.

Best pivot
In true Gary Vaynerchuk fashion, the VaynerMedia head has managed to turn the kerfuffle into a #brandwin and has everyone praising his response.

Best reason to not take awards seriously
The I Sea app, which won a Bronze lion Monday for agency Grey Singapore, was pulled from the App Store after it turned out to be a fake. The app supposedly helped users report refugees lost at sea. The Lions Festival said it is investigating.

Best brag
The Daily Mail folks were delighted because rival NewsCorp paid for Take That singer Gary Barlow to be flown over for a performance on Wednesday night — but he came over and hung out on the Mail’s yacht. “I’m his biographer, so he came on the Mail’s yacht on Monday night,” a smug Piers Morgan told Digiday.

Best beach
Facebook’s, which included a “freezer” you could step into to look at ice-sculpture artwork by an Instagrammer.

Best shameless plug
Mondelez chief media and e-commerce officer Bonin Bough flogged his latest book on La Croisette. Those who didn’t manage to slide past his team of marketers were asked to text him on his “personal” phone to have a conversation about creativity.

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