It’s summer, which means it’s time for the ad industry’s annual pilgrimage to Cannes.
But whether you choose to go or not — and whether you think Cannes is worthwhile or not — the industry’s biggest and most expensive confab occupies a pretty special place in the industry. I’ve often taken the mood in Cannes to be a measure of the industry’s own confidence in itself. Last year was sober, plagued by sexual harassment scandals, as well as a general tone that the party itself was over. We explore what comes next for Cannes in our cover story, which looks at how much Cannes is under threat, as every corner of the industry undergoes its own upheaval.
Symbolism aside, Cannes is also fun for those lucky enough to get to go, and we’ve also got a load of lighter fare about the confab, including a guide to remaining sober while everyone around you is guzzling rosé, and an oral history of the ad tech marina. We even surveyed media and marketing executives to get their thoughts on what role Cannes plays in the industry.
Summer is also a time for change, and we’re spotlighting a whole host of change-makers in this issue as well. In marketing, I profile Mark Penn, the new CEO at beleaguered agency holding company MDC Partners. Penn, best known as the political adviser for the Clintons (both of them!) has a big job ahead of him as he grapples with some very real — and some existential — issues at the company. In retail, Hilary Milnes went deep inside Blue Apron, one of the biggest flameouts of the meal-in-a-box craze, which is attempting a last-ditch pivot. From Berlin, Steven Perlberg has an in-depth look at Germany’s obsession with privacy, and how the rest of the world may finally be catching up. Plus, there’s a bunch of Q&As with the people at the forefront of major change in the industry, from David Droga, fresh off an acquisition by Accenture, to Foot Locker’s Jed Berger, who has helped the retailer stay head even as the industry undergoes tremendous change.
This is the 14th issue of Digiday Magazine, part of our Digiday+ membership program. In our own nod to change, we’ve transformed the membership itself, expanding Digiday+ to become a core part of Digiday’s content. We hope you enjoy the issue and your membership.