After taking a “pause” year in 2018, Publicis Groupe is making its return to the Cannes Festival of Creativity next week. The said break in 2018 was said to be mandated by CEO Arthur Sadoun, ostensibly so the holding company could focus its resources on the new technology platform Marcel.
According to Media Post, the gap year inspired a rethink that has resulted in the Groupe’s embrace of a new approach to the festival.
For one, Publicis is curating entries “in partnership” with clients to shift away from simply “racing for medals.”
“We implemented selective award strategy inspired by last year’s experience with our clients,” says Carla Serrano, chief strategy officer, Publicis Groupe. Now, the Groupe is focusing on visible work for key clients, like 2018’s Grand Prix and 2019’s Grand Effie for P&G’s Tide campaigns. Although the number of total submissions this year is on par with 2018, there are 50% fewer entries than 2017.
Keep in mind, last year’s entries were entirely self-funded by clients. This streamlining is rooted in the Groupe’s broader Cannes mission to “stand for creativity first,” says Serrano. “Creatives are choosing the best work possible” instead of “one-offs” almost written entirely for Cannes nominations, she explains.