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Cannes Lions 2022: Revenge of the Nerds?

June 16, 2022

Headshot of Kyle Monson - Founding partner at Codeword

Kyle Monson

Founding partner at Codeword

Oh hey, it’s mid June, time to talk about the south of France like normal people do.

Codeword typically does a ton (tonne?) of work for the Cannes Lion festival every year. We ghostwrite executive speeches, develop programming for this or that event, we’ve even managed some on-the-ground stunts and agency partnerships.

Can’t talk about most of it 🤫 but one year we partnered with Contagious to make these fun foldable Cannes Lions for the attendee bags, so everyone at the show got a Lion.


Logo of Cannes Lions on the beach at Cannes

Anyway, we’ve supported clients there for 10 years, but we’ve never actually been to the show.

I have a Lion myself, but still haven’t felt the pull to attend before.

It’s never been our vibe. We aren’t a traditional creative agency, we tend to be kinda skeptical of the work that gets celebrated there, and always felt like “our people” were more likely to be found at SXSW and CES, our two main conferences each year.

But this year feels different. We have more clients going, from a broader range of verticals. Big tech platforms have always been there, but they’re really going over the top this year. We have startup clients going too, and not just from the ad-tech world.

Which is ironic. The ad industry has wrecked SXSW and CES over the last decade. What used to be charmingly nerdy (SXSW) or hopelessly nerdy (CES) have become glitzy “brand experiences.”

So it’s with some satisfaction that we see the tech world invading the ad industry’s biggest celebration of creativity, to talk about machine learning and privacy and the future of gaming and other techie subjects that are deeply interesting to me and important to society, but don’t necessarily pair well with rosé.

In short: If it’s tech’s turn to take over an advertising festival, that will very much be my scene. I’ll see you there.


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