A view from Cannes: Khaled Al Shehhi

Regional creatives share their experiences and takeaways from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

‘‘Cannes Lions emphasised the

enduring power of brand”


(Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)

Khaled Al Shehhi
Executive Director of Marketing and Communication Sector, UAE Government
Media Office

Cannes Lions 2023 marked its 70th anniversary on the French Riviera with an impressive showcase of creativity in the advertising industry.

Despite initial concerns over the pandemic’s impact, the festival witnessed a 6 per cent increase in awards entries compared to the previous year, reaffirming the industry’s unwavering enthusiasm.

The MENA region took centre stage with a substantial increase in representation and attendance, underlining its growing influence and creative prowess in the advertising world.

One standout feature was the festival’s unprecedented diversity, celebrating talent from all corners of the world.

Countries like Armenia and Nigeria secured their first-ever Lions, while Saudi Arabia’s Subconscious Order campaign earned a historic Grand Prix.

AI emerged as a dominant theme, with major companies highlighting their partnerships with leading AI firms. The future of this technology remains uncertain, but its potential impact on the industry is undeniable.

The importance of effective creativity was a recurring theme, with marketers recognising the value of brand building in driving long-term business growth.

Amid the allure of short-term performance marketing, Cannes Lions emphasised the enduring power of brand.

Overall, Cannes Lions 2023 left a profound impression, inspiring the industry to embrace diversity, explore AI’s potential, and focus on impactful creativity.

The future appears promising, with innovation and inclusivity on the horizon.

This article is a part of the view from Cannes series, where regional creatives share their experiences and takeaways from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Find the other parts in the View from Cannes series here.