Cannes Lions is the annual celebration of the best and brightest in our industry. It’s a melting pot of talent, technology, and tan lines. The festival helps brands and agencies focus on the next big thing. This can be a new technology – such as the Metaverse or AI – or it can be understanding the nuances of evolving generational demographics. And no generation is rising in influence quite like Gen Z. But so much of the conversation around Gen Z is a one-way discourse. It’s people who aren’t from Gen Z, talking to other people not from Gen Z, about how to engage with Gen Z. So we decided to compare generational perspectives on Cannes Lions 2023 ourselves.

What Cannes Lions Thinks of Gen Z

A View from BA Diversity Media Inc

BA Diversity Media Inc meets Gen Z where they are. And for the first time in earnest, Gen Z were at Cannes. You could feel the difference. Diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality could no longer be pushed to the sideline. It’s front and center of every agenda. And it’s making for much richer debate, discussion, and action. On Spotify beach, Issa Rae, creator of Insecure, spoke about the importance of having a Black production crew to create the series. The smallest features, from set-dressing through to make-up artists, were necessary to make the series feel real to the audience it was speaking to. This wasn’t (only) about ‘equal opportunities’ or supporting Black talent – it was about creating more compelling, more authentic work. And you can’t underestimate the importance of authenticity. Gen Z is much more aware and conscious of the brands they engage with compared to any of their predecessors. They can sniff out tokenistic gestures and campaigns from a mile off. If brands are out of step with culture, they will quickly trip up. The controversy which has surrounded Bud Light following its campaign with Dylan Mulvaney is a testament to this.
Dylan Mulvaney
Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards usually go to illustrious brands working with the biggest agencies. But the winners last year tended to focus on very subjective experiences – speaking directly to their audiences. Conversations at Cannes rarely drift too far from the core mission of celebrating creativity. But this year, there was a feel that each beach and yacht venue had an extra degree of thought behind it. Pinterest really stole the show with Manifestival – a showcase of key creative and engagement trends that are gaining steam on the platform right now, with a particular focus on Gen Z. These experiential activations helped people discover food, plan holidays – and most eye-catchingly – get inked at its bespoke, free tattoo parlor. A dangerous offer when mixed with equally free rosé. Cannes Lions stepped into a new era, for a new audience, in 2023. There were still the usual suspects dominating the beach. But there was a noticeably different vibe. The spaces along the Croisette were less focused on glamor, and more focused on meaning – and they were bubbling with crowds of young creatives.

Cannes at Crossroads

The world is changing. And Cannes Lions is changing with it. Beneath the familiar bubble of sunny networking, there is a perceptible shift in how brands and agencies are presenting themselves. OK – there is still an overabundance of buzzwords and an overreliance on outdated audience caricatures. But through authenticity, intersectionality, and technology, brands and agencies are moving the conversations closer to what matters to Gen Z.
Gen B TV
Gen B TV
Creators are coming to Cannes Lions, marking an inflection point for the creator economy. BA Diversity Media and Gen B TV are leading this change, showcasing content that resonates with the current generation and promoting authentic representation in media. Their initiatives are not just about visibility but about creating spaces where diverse voices are heard and valued. With platforms like Generation Black TV, they are pioneering a new era of media where diversity is not an afterthought but a central pillar. This year’s Cannes Lions has set the stage for a future where Gen Z is not just a topic of discussion but an active participant shaping the narrative.

You may also like

Comments are closed.

More in:Events