Cannes Lions 2024: 10 Ways Brands Brought Creative Thinking to the Riviera

Many of the industry’s rules fly out of the window when it comes to activating at Cannes Lions. Intimate interactions and dwell time are prioritized over throughput. Major risks are rewarded. And in some cases, earning and keeping the attention of the innovative, c-suite-level advertisers and marketers in attendance poses a greater challenge than sticking to the budget (this is an event hosted along the French Riviera, after all).

This year, during the 71st annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, held June 17-21, brands once again rose to the occasion with left-field thinking designed to engage a diverse audience hailing from more than 90 countries.

As Stephen Martell, head of innovation at design studio DE-YAN, puts it: “This is a festival, so treat the festival like a celebration, not a trade show or conference. Attendees are looking for opportunities to commemorate the occasion, which means you can engage with them in ways that might not be possible in other settings. There is still an appetite to learn through talks and seminars, but you need to balance learning with entertainment and inspiration or your guests will be bored quickly.”

With that sentiment in mind, we dig into some of the best brand experiences, and ideas, from La Croisette.

Reddit's red-orange booth at Cannes Lions 2023From the Cannes Lions Archives:


Cloud-based software company Braze activated a modest cabana experience designed to prove that good things can come in small packages. The colorful space included a welcome desk, two private meeting rooms, a mirror photo moment that introduced Braze’s new branding and a wall where festivalgoers could pick out items for their own Cannes survival kit, like sunscreen and cooling mist sprays. Outside on the terrace, a tent provided a break from the sun while a bar served up coffee and frosé (an f&b staple at the festival). (Agency: DesignScene)


For LinkedIn and its clients, the famed Carlton Hotel was “The Place to B2B” at Cannes. The brand took over three floors of the venue in an effort to drive business growth with its current customers, their agencies and the broader b-to-b partner ecosystem. It was also an opportunity for the company to debut fresh brand positioning around the creative potential its platform presents.

Panel discussions hosted under a custom, Mediterranean-themed canopy, a live studio where 31 discussions with leading industry voices took place, and multiple meeting spaces designed to foster connection and creativity, were all on tap. As was a French Riviera-inspired experience design theme that strayed from LinkedIn’s typical blue color scheme.

LinkedIn also secured a festival first: To deliver items like a revamped stage, a branded statue and lounge seating to its rooftop-level activation, the company had to secure special permitting, while a crane was used to get the design elements above the hotel—something that had never been done at Cannes Lions.

In the end, LinkedIn reports that the activation increased the volume of its networking meetings, including the custom NFC-enabled cards and bracelets that were distributed to attendees, who loaded them with their contact info, resulting in 18,000-plus contacts. (Agency: The Bait Shoppe)


When Meta began planning for its Cannes Lions 2024 experience, the brand once again tapped the creative vision of Es Devlin, the world-renowned stage designer behind Instagram’s critically acclaimed Storyscape activation at the 2018 festival. The centerpiece of this year’s activation was Devlin’s “Reels Cinema,” a structure built from the ground up within the Meta Beach footprint that featured a seven-minute film crafted in 9:16 vertical video. Our sister pub, Chief Marketer, spoke with Meta’s head of experiential & creative, global experiences, about the inspiration behind the activation, the film’s themes and much more. Read the full story here. (Agencies: Jack Morton Worldwide; DE-YAN)

credit luke hayes-Meta reelscinema 2024 cannes lions

Photo credit: Luke Hayes


Netflix returned to the festival for its second year with a rooftop takeover at the JW Marriott Cannes, where its giant “N” installation—overlooking the Croisette—couldn’t be missed. (Fun fact: the installation was supported by an LED screen that offered messaging throughout the week to keep people engaged and anticipating what was next). The activation featured series-themed vignettes that brought to life some of the brand’s biggest titles, including “Bridgerton” and “Squid Game.” The experience also included areas for networking and plenty of f&b. And a “late-nights” experience featured a performance by renowned dj, Kaytranada, as well as themed drinks and pizzas from a pop-up “Surfer Boy Pizzashack (a nod to “Stranger Things”).

It was a superfan playground of sorts, with a bit of something for everyone. Among highlights: An interactive “Squid Game” dalgona cookie-based challenge that invited attendees to beat the clock as they navigated their way around a series of wired shapes without getting shocked; an “Emily in Paris” boulangerie featuring branded bread loaves, coffees and pastries during the day, and champagne and oysters at night; a “Bridgerton” vignette divided into a mini croquet area, a regal photo op and a separate photo moment featuring a giant swing surrounded by a floral display (and did we mention the fully functioning fountain?); and a “secret” UV experience for “The Gentleman” that had participants using torches to uncover hidden messages and reveal codes to the safe that yielded brand swag. Ta-dum. (Agency: Seen Presents)


After making its Coachella debut with a “Manifest Station” over the spring in a bid to connect with Gen Z, Pinterest returned to the more familiar grounds of La Croisette in June with its “Manifestival,” hosted at Carlton Beach Club. The space was designed to spark creativity, and had a decidedly heavier focus on providing hands-on activities than delivering talks and panel discussions.

Like most of its live experiences, Pinterest’s activation offered a vibrant, IRL step into its digital platform to show advertisers how they can “go from inspiration to action.” Among touchpoints: the return of the brand’s real-deal tattoo parlor; a Charm Bar where attendees could create accessories and jewelry; an Upcycled Accessories area where artist Sophie Hird worked with festivalgoers to create custom bags constructed out of repurposed materials; Personal Color consultations with Siân Clarke, who curated unique hues for attendees based on individual hair color and skin tone range; and Creation Stations offering on-trend activities like marble-dipping. (Agency: Amplify)


Reddit is no stranger to Cannes Lions, and the team behind the go-to digital recommendation destination returned to the festival with messaging rooted in its manifesto, and a focus on the role that the platform’s conversations play in paths to purchase. The overarching theme: No matter where your search begins, or which stage of the journey you’re on (discovery, consideration or verifying a purchase decision), “all roads lead through Reddit.”

The attendee journey began on an upper level with an installation that illustrated why users trust Reddit for recommendations and use it to verify reviews from other platforms. A real review pulled from r/Makeup aimed to demonstrate how redditors keep reviews authentic in contrast to the competition. Next, a recommendation simulator guided attendees through real UGC that allowed them to discover beauty tips, consider auto recommendations and validate travel decisions—and how brands can show up along that journey.

Festivalgoers then had the chance to hit a mini golf ball on the “road that leads through Reddit,” embodying the decision phase of the purchase journey. Those who got a hole-in-one could keep the recommended product (like sunscreen, cleansers, nail polish and Tide pens) along with purchase behavior insights.

Attendees could additionally sign up to become a Reddit user on-site and get a custom-engraved pin with their username on it. To wrap, participants were led back downstairs to an interactive display featuring three hero products built to educate advertisers on some of the newest ways they can unlock the context of conversation on Reddit at each phase of the purchase journey.

Last year’s popular Reddit Drops also made a comeback, with festivalgoers snagging prizes including DoorDash gift cards, Dr. Jart moisturizer, perfume and headphones each day of the June 17-21 activation. (Agency: Giant Spoon)


T-Mobile mixed an upscale lounge motif with beachy surfer vibes at its Advertising Solutions Cabana, which drew festivalgoers with a lenticular façade design, featuring messaging that changed as peopled walked by. Brand ambassadors were stationed just outside, distributing magenta sunglasses that revealed hidden messages throughout the cabana. Inside, meetings took place in a private room, and content sessions were hosted on the magenta stage. To boot, semi-private meeting pods provided quiet places to chat, and the terrace featured magenta cocktails to sip on. There was also swag on display on a giant peg wall, and the chance to snap a photo with a branded surfboard on the beach. (Agency: DesignScene)


For several years, The Female Quotient’s Equality Lounge has served as a top destination at tentpole events where women in business convene and discuss actionable steps toward closing the gender gap. At Cannes Lions 2024, the lounge took the shape of an elegant indoor-outdoor footprint awash in the organization’s signature color scheme of rose gold, black, olive green and ivory. Greenery and fresh fruit provided colorful accents.

The footprint served as a multipurpose space, with the lounge’s interior and exterior divided into designated areas. Outdoors, a daily roster of brand panelists took the main stage to keep IRL attendees engaged and informed, as well as audiences at home who tuned into session live streams. There were also branded, social media-friendly spaces for photo moments, as well as a coffee bar serving refreshments.

Inside the penthouse, a studio and production booth were built for one-on-one interviews, and included a lounge area and charging station. Signature elements of the Equality Lounge were also in the mix, like a snack activation created in collaboration with Uber Eats, and a Confidence Styling professional portrait booth provided by Well & Good. (Agency: BMF)


TikTok arrived at Cannes equipped with big announcements, trend alerts, new products and a “Creative Bravery” concept that the brand defines as “marketers beginning to meet the community where they are, by embracing TikTok in bold, innovative ways, defining a new era of marketing best practice.” The company returned to its premium location from 2023, the garden at the center of the Carlton Hotel, to host hands-on creator workshops and keynote discussions, provide attendees with access to its new suite of marketing tools and trend data, offer opportunities for content creation and dish out all kinds of swag. (Agency: Jack Morton Worldwide)

Photo: Courtesy of Jack Morton Worldwide



Yahoo Beach was a blend of modern vibes and brand heritage that invited attendees to embrace the future. Design elements included a CD wall backdrop, iridescent graphics, a 10-foot-tall infinity mirror and an arch-shaped stage backdrop built to perfectly frame the sea. Daytime content included panels and sessions around topics like GenAI and women’s sports. Then in the evening, the activation was abuzz with various client and partner events, and culminated in a late-night party featuring a performance by The Chainsmokers. (Agency: DesignScene)

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

Receive the latest news and special announcements from Event Marketer


© 2024 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |