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10 Sessions You Can’t Miss At Cannes Lions 2017

Cannes Lions is only one month away – Cannes you believe it! So in true Unruly style, we’re kicking off our countdown with the 10 sessions you absolutely should not miss if you’re hitting La Croisette next month.

Advertising’s most glamorous festival is full of more panels, keynotes, fireside chats and all-purpose chinwags than one person could ever possibly attend.

But with 450+ speakers across 18 stages, how do you know which ones really matter?

Well, luckily, Unruly is here to help. We’ve narrowed the list down to 10 must-see sessions advertisers definitely need to check out.


1. The Power of Storytelling to Touch People’s Hearts

Sunday, 18 June, 11:00 – 11:45 @ Lumiere Theatre

The first must-see Cannes Lions event comes right at the start of the week. Join Olympic and Paralympic creative leaders as they discuss how emotional, human stories can radically affect the public perception of brands, and entire nations.


2. What NASA and Space Exploration Can Teach Us about Creativity

Monday, 19 June, 12:00 – 12:45 @ The Forum

This session from NASA promises to be truly out of this world. Get an undercover look at how the organisation uses creativity to solve challenges like living-in space, and how brands can harness open innovation and the wisdom of crowds to generate creative ideas faster.


3. Next-gen Storytelling – the New Rules of Content Creation

Monday, 19 June, 16:00 – 16:45 @ The Forum

Hear from those on the front line of content creation, including documentary maker Reggie Yates, BBC reporter Ben Zand and Vivendi’s Dominique Delport, in this panel discussion chaired by Richard Pattinson, from BBC StoryWorks.


4. Welcome to China Day: Hosted by Tencent

Tuesday, 20 June, 10:00 – 10:15 @ The Forum

Tuesday at this year’s Cannes Lions is a little different. Dubbed China Day, it features a number of events hosted by the Chinese Advertising Association (CAA) and offers an interesting opportunity for advertisers to gain insight into a massively increasing digital market.


5. Does Brand Purpose Really Drive Great Work?

Tuesday, 20 June, 13:00 – 13:45 @ Lumiere Theatre

The importance of brand purpose seems to come up more and more at Cannes Lions – and this year is no different. Join Diageo and Anomaly for a discussion from both the client and agency perspective on the value of purpose in driving creativity and performance.


6. How adidas Never Finishes Reinventing Itself

Wednesday, 21 June, 10:00 – 10:45 @ Lumiere Theatre

Adidas has a reputation as a ‘creator’s brand’ that constantly updates and refreshes its image. This panel, featuring fashion designer Alexander Wang, Stan Smith, Paul Gaudio and Ferdinando Verderi, promises to be an interesting glimpse into the creative culture of the 80-year-old business.


7. Three Things Keeping Me up at Night

Wednesday, 21 June, 11:00 – 11:45 @ Lumiere Theatre

Keith Weed’s talk at last year’s Lions festival and the subsequent unveiling of the ‘Unstereotype’ campaign made headlines for all the right reasons. This year, join Unilever’s CMO and Lydia Polgreen, Editor-in-Chief of HuffPost, for what will definitely be a frank and entertaining discussion about what is keeping the world’s second largest advertiser up at night.


8. ‘Skewing Females’: the truth about gender stereotypes in ads

Wednesday, 21 June, 13:00 – 13:45 @ The Forum

Diversity and inclusion are big topics at Cannes this year – and this analysis of gender in advertising conducted by the Geena Davis Institute and J Walter Thompson promises to be an interesting, data-driven deep dive into the current state of stereotypes and diversity.


9. Creativity and Responsibility: Using Our Voices to Promote Gender Equality

Thursday, 22 June, 14:00 – 14:45 @ Lumiere Theatre

This panel featuring Madonna Badger, Founder of Badger & Winters, and Marc Pritchard, Chief Branding Officer at P&G, is shaping to be one of the festival’s most interesting diversity-based sessions. Badger and Pritchard, both of whom have extensive experience championing purpose through marketing and advertising, will focus on how brands can use their creative voices – for ‘good and growth’.


10. Martin Sorrell in Conversation with Robert Kraft and Ron Howard

Friday, 23 June, 12:00 – 13:00 @ Lumiere Theatre

The Cannes Debate, hosted by WPP founder and CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, is a regular highlight of the festival – and great end-cap to the week. This year Sir Martin sits down with Robert Kraft, owner Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, and Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.


Heading to Cannes Lions 2017? Get in touch at hello@unrulygroup.com