‘Boycotts are not the answer’: Sorrell on evaluating Cannes’ future

For Sir Martin Sorrell, the news that Publicis pulling out from Cannes Lions next year is not necessarily surprising — nor is it confined to just one holding company.

In The Drum's conversation with the WPP chief executive, he pointed out that four holding companies appear to be having internal discussions about the value of investing in the festival, possibly sparking the organisers to take stock in its largesse and remit by announcing an advisory committee to “help shape the future of the festival”.

Despite the negative chatter, Sorrell does believe that there is value in the award itself. The addition of public relations, data and healthcare are positives. Brands appreciate the recognition, creatives themselves see peer evaluation as a plus and all enjoy the convivial atmosphere throughout the week.

However, the investment can be steep. The Cote d’Azur location is tough and, whether or not the Publicis move is about investment in their new AI platform or a cost-cutting move, as implied by Sorrell, he feels that an overall boycott, much like the one for YouTube, is counter-productive and doesn’t solve the problem.

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Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

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