Wake The Town
Stuck in Motion
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

Alan Kelly’s Sunny Outlook for Cannes Lions 2023


The CCO at Droga5 Dublin, part of Accenture Song, shares his trend predictions for the festival, from the category he’s most excited to seeing to the evolving approaches to purpose and the metaverse

Alan Kelly’s Sunny Outlook for Cannes Lions 2023

The days until the Cannes Lions 2023 festival are ticking by fast and excitement is rippling through the industry as the annual celebration of creativity returns to La Croisette. One person who’s certainly excited to return is Alan Kelly, the CCO at Droga5 Dublin, part of Accenture Song, and last year’s jury president in the Creative Data category. 

Alan is a seasoned festival attendee and no stranger to winning more than a few of the coveted Lion awards himself, making him one of the best people to ask about what to expect this year. On Alan’s radar is the new Creative Gaming category which he’s very glad is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Purpose will continue to be a focus alongside global issues like the ongoing war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis. 

Below, we asked Alan about what to expect from the festival this year. Read on to find out why the answer to the metaverse’s future can be summarised in a scene from Succession and why Alan is happy to argue about AI’s capabilities to take over humanity over a friendly beer. 

LBB> What’s your overall mood ahead of Cannes Lions this year? What are you looking forward to most?

Alan> I always look forward to seeing new Lions categories and this year finally sees gaming get its own competition. ‘Creative Gaming’ was originally part of the Entertainment Lion, but something that is now such a big part of the creative world deserves its own stage and  I can’t wait to see the results!

LBB> 2022 was the first year post-pandemic that the awards were in person and that feeling defined the festival – what was your experience last year and what do you think will drive the mood this year?

Alan> Everyone was just so happy to be back in 2022…or to be there for the very first time. You forget what a privilege it is to be at such an amazing and inspiring event. Coming out of the pandemic and still having a job (it’s easy to forget that there were a lot of agency closures in the run up to last year’s event), I think people at the festival were just grateful to be there. So ‘gratitude’ was the main emotion I remember at last year’s Lions and that is a trend I expect to continue at Cannes 2023.


LBB> Do you think that the high rates of inflation and the ongoing cost of living crisis will come up at all during the festival? In your opinion, should it?

Alan> Of course. Creativity has always been best used when it's solving problems, whether that’s for a brand or someone struggling to pay their bills. I expect it to be front and centre at this year’s festival in every category.


LBB> Purpose is an on-going theme for Cannes and advertisers. How do you think this concept is evolving for brands and advertisers alike?

Alan> People have always bought from brands they trust, but more and more, people want to buy from brands and businesses that they believe share their values. Where we see this fall down all the time is where ‘purpose’ is a marketing exercise versus an organisational focus. There’s no room to hide anymore, what we say publicly has to be backed up by how we behave in every facet of how we do business. Of course people care about things like sustainability, social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, but does your brand have the right to speak to these things? At the end of the day, the real strength of a purpose should be that a brand knows its place, and by knowing your place and what you can offer, you can really build relevance for your audience in all the ways that are true to your brand.

LBB> The metaverse was one of the biggest talking points last year. What’s your view on it a year on? What kind of space do you think will be devoted to it this year?

Alan> Spoiler alert…there’s a scene in ‘Succession’ where Tom (the best character in the show) is smarming up to the hard-nosed Roy patriarch, Logan. Tom is desperately wondering if he is still relevant if he divorces Logan’s daughter Shiv. He asks Logan, “Are we still good?” Logan’s answer is typically gruff and to the point, “If we’re good, we’re good.” Tom is very much like some brands in the metaverse - trying to be liked and desperate to be relevant. But if a brand is to turn up in the metaverse there’s only one rule – this better be good. Last year some brands felt they needed to be there without knowing why they were there. But those who nailed it, did so because they took a multiversal approach. Often launching something or activating in the metaverse to generate sales in the real world - or both. Last year we got to see some very, very good work. Including the ‘Australian Open Metaverse’, the first grand slam to enter the metaverse – and the launch of the world’s first virtual beer, Heineken Silver. It will be exciting to see what very, very good looks like this year. 

LBB> The rise of generative AI like MidJourney and ChatGPT is currently sending waves through the industry. Is Cannes likely to feature any conversations around them too? 

Alan> I think there will be lots of conversations about the long-term effects of AI on-stage, off-stage and in the bars of Cannes during the festival, and they are important conversations to have. There is a tendency to view AI as either an existential threat or something very, very, useful. I lean towards the latter but I am happy to hear anyone get sweaty with fear as they put forward the ‘machines will take over the world and make us their servants’ argument over a beer.


LBB> Do you have any other trend predictions you would like to share?

Alan> I think we will see a lot of ideas focusing on Ukraine and rightly so. Every industry wants to help the people of Ukraine and our industry is no different, so I expect to see a lot more ideas like last year’s amazing ‘Backup Ukraine’ – the digital tool designed to help Ukrainians capture historical artefacts and cultural landmarks on their phones.

view more - Thought Leaders
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Droga5 Dublin, Wed, 31 May 2023 08:53:21 GMT