Making waves in Cannes

As the global advertising and marketing industry descended upon the South of France for the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Turner and CNN once again immersed many key clients and industry influentials in our content, advertising offerings and executive discussions throughout the week. 

Turner took center stage in the Palais des Festival featuring Turner Sports’ Shaquille O’Neal, TBS’s Conan O’Brien and CNN’s Chris Cuomo. There were plenty of laughs (from both the panelists and audience), touching moments and insights into how each of these powerhouses connect with fans.

Just steps from the Palais, the prime location of the CNN Beach was simply unmissable, proving to be one of the most popular places in town as Rani Raad, President of CNN International Commercial (CNNIC), and his team hosted over 400 delegates each day, including 30 of our biggest international advertising partners from all corners of the world. In the company’s biggest presence at Cannes to date, the beach was literally lit up with the best of CNN and Great Big Story. There was a live special of CNN International’s hit show “CNN Talk,” as well as a special experience area where people could use touchscreens and VR sets to interact with the content. This is where we also hosted some big-hitting sessions with industry leaders including CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and P&G CMO Marc Pritchard, as well as, networking events, client meetings and media interviews and a stunning CNN Beach party.

Key themes that emerged throughout the week ranged from diversity, US politics and media, ad-funded internet, the FIFA World Cup and overall major industry trends.  



As attendees strolled further up the Croisette, they were greeted by the Turner House, a hub of activity hosted by Turner’s corporate and ad sales divisions. The week kicked off with a special session with Campaign Magazine, which included a fan-based discussion with leading marketers and Turner’s Molly Battin and Donna Speciale. The roundtable was complemented by a piece in Campaign Magazine and video interviews with members of the roundtable, as well as Turner Ignite’s Dan Riess. As the week continued, the Turner House also played host to Ad Age’s “In the Hot Seat” video interview series with Turner’s Christine Cook, Dan Riess and Otto Bell. Cartoon Network was also active with two mega panels throughout the week, in partnership with Unilever and Dove. The sessions built on Cartoon Network’s two-year partnership with Dove around the series Steven Universe. The space also hosted key client meetings, including the launch of the new dedicated ad sales group IMPACT, led by James Russo and Mary Sculley, which is focused on engaging with brands to better elevate their cause efforts and amplify their stories.  

Turner’s executive influence was strong throughout the entire Festival, with participation on panels hosted by other companies and media outlets all week.

And it didn’t stop there. Great Big Story won a Silver Lion in the Film Online Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Corporate Image category for a documentary that the team produced for Procter & Gamble.  Turner was also shortlisted for several coveted awards, including three for CNN’s cutting-edge brand partnership with Volvo centered on the 2017 solar eclipse, which went on to become the most-watched live VR experience in history.

All-in-all, Turner and CNN had an extremely successful and impactful presence at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival. Media took notice. Advertisers engaged. Influencers were wowed. The bar was set for our presence in years to come.