Reflections from Cannes Lions 2023

The CMO-CFO connection is important, there are three key factors for building trust, says Ebru

Image Credit: Accenture

Cannes Lions, the global hub of creativity, celebrated its 70th year anniversary. Engaging with professionals from around the world was an enriching experience. Here are the top trends observed this year at Cannes Lions Creativity Festival.

AI Revolution

Every year, there are a handful of topics that dominate the conversations at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. AI was this year’s buzzword. According to LinkedIn’s latest study on ‘The B2B Marketing Benchmark’, I also agree that AI is here to stay.

We need to acknowledge and embrace the fact that ‘AI will not replace you – someone using AI will’. NYU Professor, Scott Galloway, whom I met few years back in our Cannes Lions CMO Accelerator program, stated ‘The most talented people who understand this (AI) technology are going to make more money. And the people who don’t understand it, who just get angry, and who aren’t willing to learn it, are going to make less money. It’s just that simple.’

Best examples:

Grand Prix winner in the Glass Lions for ‘knock knock’, Cheil Worldwide, Seoul


Grand Prix winners in the Dan Wieden Titanium Lions for ‘The First Digital Nation’, Monkeys (part of Accenture Song), Australia


Grand Prix Winner in the Creative-Effectiveness Lions for ‘Shah Rukh Khan-My-Ad’, Ogilvy, Mumbai


DEI (Diversity, Equality and Inclusion) Roadmap 

I joined the Female Quotient in the Equality Lounge at Cannes Lions in Martinez Hotel rooftop, amazing spot, alongside a collection of industry leaders to talk about long term career success, closing the gender gap, earning equal pay and equality. They had a terrific program on how DEI can be part of business strategy. Their FQ Mane campaign in partnership with 6, on turning Festival’s symbol male lion into a symbol that could better reflect the state of equality was remarkable. They highlighted the key numbers to improve the DEI stats grabbed great attention and showcased the urgent need to improve the equality in the workplace. 

CMO-CFO Bonding

There were several sessions in Cannes Lions focusing on the CMO-CFO relationship: how marketing can generate revenue and creativity can trigger profitability. The role of the CMO is evolving — CMOs are expected to have more influence than ever on company strategy and performance. But how do CMOs navigate this expanded role?

Marketers face unique challenges in a tough economic landscape, but CMOs can overcome them by showcasing how creativity impacts the bottom line. The CMO-CFO connection is important, there are three key factors for building trust: transparent communication, clarity in objectives and metrics, and collaboration with the right structure and culture.

Brand Activations in Cannes Lions 2023

  1. Female Quotient’s Equity Lounge, set up, insights, speakers and top venue choice. 
  2. Microsoft Beach talks – very good set up and insightful talks
  3. Spotify Beach – overall experience, creative set up, talks, music, and inspiration.
  4. Marketing Society’s private dinner at La Palme d’Or, Martinez Hotel.
  5. Linkedin Carlton Hotel’s roof-top Activations.

By Ebru Tuygun, Regional CMO, Accenture Middle East