Cannes Festival 2022 Takeaways

Published: July 5, 2022

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity returned in person after a three-year hiatus, delivering insight and inspiration from the most prominent names in media, advertising, and tech worldwide! The Adomni team joined DPAA partners for a week of noteworthy events nestled on the luxurious French Riviera, along the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. Here are three key takeaways from the festival: 

Commitment to Sustainability  

The Cannes Festival's most important theme centered around sustainability, with 85% of Cannes Lion's respondents saying that creativity revolving around sustainability is critical or very important to business today. More than a dozen sustainability topics were featured on the agenda, including industry-wide companies, such as 4A, making a commitment to reduce its carbon impact of developing, producing, and running advertising to a real net zero by the end of 2030. Not to mention, the festival took twelve significant measures to reduce its carbon footprint and generate less waste this year.  

Steven Van Blarcom, SVP of Growth and Business Development at Adomni, mentioned that "the thematics of sustainability, inclusion, and humanity were ever-present and extended into numerous brand conversations. Advertisers continue to consider issues like DEI, diversity, and sustainability despite worries about inflation and a potential recession. Major brands were addressing these issues head-on, and it felt like much more than just a discussion this time around." 

"The Cannes Lions board this year structured the event around six key themes, which included DE&I and Sustainability," stated Harjit Badesha, Regional Managing Director of the UK and Europe, a first-time attendee impressed by how the creatives blended sustainable elements. "Many of the [festival] winners' work is led by 'purpose' rather than just creative/commercial factors." Also, Badesha found that DOOH greatly benefits the infrastructure and raises a community on a local and nationwide level, saying, "(D)OOH is a medium that is part of people's natural landscape and how money invested into OOH is used to improve things like local utilities around the world." 

DOOH is Everywhere 

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising had a palpable presence throughout the festival. "Visitors were greeted with DOOH screens," stated Christian Kull, EVP of Client Partnerships in North America at Adomni. "The most memorable was Yahoo's space. They created a custom DOOH screen to promote Yahoo occupying the space within Hotel Martinez and welcoming those joining various panel sessions and parties they were hosting. Yahoo could have easily opted for a vinyl banner. Still, they chose to go the extra mile and engage anyone entering Hotel Martinez with a powerful message using this powerful and unmissable DOOH screen." 

Harjit Badesha also noticed DOOH's omnipresent nature, stating, “brands/media owners using DOOH as their main way of getting noticed – it was unmissable and a compliment to us in a way.” 

Building Human Connections

The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly impacted lives around the globe - including the disruption of human connection. After three years of suspension, the festival amassed thousands and thousands of people from over 80 countries to Cannes to commemorate creative excellence. 

Mike Cooper, Global President of Adomni, was astounded by the event's vibrancy, "everyone was absolutely thrilled to be 'OUT-OF-HOME.' The mood and general vibe were overwhelmingly positive in a real human and sincere way. It felt reflective of the feeling across global society that people have a newfound understanding of the privilege to be free, out and about, mingling and chatting." 

Blarcom (left), Cooper (middle), Kull (right)

To echo Cooper's sentiment, Kull found the festival to be the most crowded one he had attended yet. "From limited flight seats, insane customs lines, crowded sidewalks, and undesirable time slots for restaurants, it seemed everyone attended this year (both veterans and newbies). One may think the surplus of people would sacrifice the caliber of the event. On the contrary, it was an enhancement. The energy was overwhelmingly positive and contagious. People were eager to engage with old friends/colleagues as well as meet new people to explore whether there's an opportunity to work together following Cannes. From my perspective, it seemed that everyone let their guard down, was more vulnerable, and authentically interested in learning about what others were focusing on." 

Blarcom saw this event as a celebration of a return to normalcy. "People and brands were both optimistic and curious. Both sides of the aisle showed up to ‘do business.’ Openly sharing/discussing successes, failures, and unresolved challenges and engaging with attendees and vendors, challenging them to solve against their immediate needs." 


The Cannes International Festival of Creativity was an extraordinary experience, from meeting exceptional minds to building human connections and seeing digital out-of-home as a colossal advertising propeller for brands to capture visitors' attention. We cannot wait to see what exciting takeaways next year brings!

Written By: Julia Cramer

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