The 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity festival kicked off Monday in the south of France. 

For this year’s industry get together, there is no shortage of activations that offer brands and marketers a chance to mingle, network and glean some inspiration for future collaborations and creative work.

For Craig Millon, Jack Morton global co-president, Cannes serves as the ideal environment to forge new partnerships and ideas, as well as challenge marketers to “get uncomfortable.” 

That’s why the advertising agency chose to launch several activations at Cannes this year in collaboration with large tech platforms like Meta and TikTok.

“Cannes has become both a creativity festival and an adtech festival over the last 10 years,” Millon told MM+M. “Clients that are either big media buyers or media holders tend to come to Cannes. So when you want to do an experience, you can get the perfect audience that’s trying to achieve your client’s objectives.”

The presence of healthcare companies and medical marketers has grown at Cannes in recent years and Millon believes the unbridled creativity often present at the festival is relevant for the health marketing space.

“One of the things we’ve seen is the idea that healthcare has to become more human over time,” Millon explained. “By adding in real creativity into healthcare marketing, it helps it become [a more] human medium, and experiences do that as well. Meet with your prospects, meet with your clients, and have a real experience with them.”

Here’s an overview of Jack Morton’s experiential activations at Cannes to get a taste of what’s going on at the festival.

IPG Common Ground

The first activation is IPG Common Ground, a space at the Carlton Hotel dedicated to IPG clients and prospects to gather and meet. 

Common Ground serves a few different functions — providing a starting point for marketers to meet with clients and offering educational content to spur collaboration with new partners.

One panel set for Tuesday will examine how to empower inclusivity in sports marketing, with a focus on women’s sports. 

Speakers include Bonnie Smith as well as college basketball player and rapper Flau’jae Johnson.

It’s an inaugural experience for IPG to have a space like this at Cannes, Millon explained, adding that early signs indicate it’s going well.

Meta Beach experience

While TikTok has grown in popularity both as a social media site and marketing platform, Meta isn’t giving up its claims in the space. 

The company is holding an activation on the beach in-person, bringing together all of its brands under one roof, which Jack Morton is eyeing as an opportunity with great potential.

“[Meta] has a prominent place here on the beach at Cannes,” Millon said. “Many brands have beach experiences, but Meta has the premier beach experience that is close to the Palais, [showcasing] all of their products and services. It has meeting rooms on the beach and it’s quite an expansive experience.”

On its website, Meta notes it will be highlighting its newest technologies like Meta AI and Reels, which deepen the connections between people and businesses and contribute to “marketing effectiveness.”

Discover TikTok

Jack Morton also partnered with TikTok to launch Discover TikTok, an activation also being held at the Carlton, specifically in the garden located in the center of the hotel.

Millon said this immersive garden experience seeks to highlight the new initiatives TikTok is undertaking on behalf of health brands.

The activation brings the TikTok digital experience to real life, and brings together influencers, creators, publishers and consumers to mingle and learn from one another.

“There are a lot of digital brands that are trying to make a physical experience, and Cannes is such an important place to do it,” Millon said. “You have one shot to make a first impression and you have to deliver for this audience.”

For Jack Morton, partnering with TikTok and Meta on these activations is meant to help the platforms reach their customers in a crowded space — another key takeaway for medical marketers who attend the festival.

Ultimately, Millon hopes his industry peers find the experiences at Cannes to be creative fodder for their next work.

“I do feel that creativity has to be infused into healthcare marketing,” Millon said. “The way the industry is going to continue to do that is by exposing the brands to what you learn at Cannes. It’s such a rich creative environment, it inspires healthcare marketers to go back and break some molds.”