Cannes Lions 2022 was much anticipated this year having been blighted with COVID and even in the run up, there were travel challenges and political unrest. So how did it all land?

Cannes is a barometer of the marketing and communications industry – was this year harder to read more than normal though? Was the influence of tech becoming a distraction from creativity?  Are we forgetting creativity and focusing on the data more? Does there always have to be a reason why? ‘Purpose fatigue’ was a phrase used by many commentators alongside the need to make the event and access to the awards much more accessible to small businesses and fledgling creative companies.

There were many key moments to the week-long extravaganza; listening to President Zelensky, albeit with an incredibly sobering message about needing creativity to keep the war in the headlines and to help Ukraine. Ryan Reynolds dropped in to chat on the stage to talk about why advertising should be fun and Greenpeace dropped in on a crowded beach to remind us all that there are no awards without a planet.

But what was overwhelming was the sheer weight of all the big tech players on the beach and the theme around data and tech driving creativity. The skyline was filled with brands like Meta, Amazon, Spotify, Twitter and Tik Tok. You couldn’t help but get the feeling that creativity was front and centre yesteryear, but today’s world requires slightly different tools. There was a sprinkle of glamour as they brought Superyachts and guest DJs with them and as Paris Hilton talked to the female Quotient about NFT’s, minds quickly turned to questions about the metaverse.

There were strong themes this year; DE&I seemed to overtake the environment in terms of urgency to course correct and it was clear that the metaverse won’t be here for a while and people will follow people there, not brands. Meta talked about the great laneway switch when it comes to senior experts moving into completely different roles and the importance of action over words. As David Bentley our CEO said “I think we are entering an era in which campaigns don’t matter quite as much as actions, and so if we are talking about campaigns it’s hard to find exciting campaigns that are action-oriented. We are seeing this week demands for change, a lot more activism coming into this environment and asking for real change rather than just campaigns.”

To get Porter Novelli’s view on the moments, themes and work then please download the Cannes Decoded report here