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The Top 10 Moments From Cannes LIONS 2024 New Creator Track

By: Viral Nation | 8 mins read |
The Top 10 Moments From Cannes LIONS 2024 New Creator Track

As the dust settles on another edition of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, it’s time to reflect on the most impactful moments from the biggest advertising event in the world, now rejuvenated by a brand new creator track in partnership with Viral Nation. 

The week was abuzz with conversations about AI, star-studded appearances by the likes of Paris Hilton and Elon Musk, and, most importantly, the genuine, grassroots energy brought by creators like Steven He, who showed the advertising world the true meaning of being social-first.

For a detailed day-by-day recap, check out our live coverage: LIVE From Cannes Lions 2024: Highlights From The New Creator Track. Now, let’s grab a glass of rosé and dive into the top 10 social media moments from Cannes Lions 2024.

Top 10 Moments From Cannes Lions 2024

From groundbreaking keynotes to viral creator moments, here are the top 10 highlights from the new creator track, LIONS Creators, at Cannes Lions 2024.

1. Cannes Lions First-Ever Creator Rooftop

Cannes Lions Creator Rooftop

Viral Nation hit new heights at Cannes Lions 2024 by launching the first-ever Creator Rooftop, a groundbreaking addition for Cannes, spearheaded by CEO Joe Gagliese and Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook. Joe commended Simon’s authenticity, stating, “When I spoke to Simon earlier this year, I have to tell you, he’s one of the most authentic and kind individuals I’ve ever worked with in the space.” This collaboration was about celebrating creators rather than leveraging them. The Creator Rooftop became the epicenter for creators, marketing professionals, and brands, featuring panels, roundtables, and exclusive welcome drinks. In the South of France’s summer heat, e.l.f. Beauty provided a ‘refresh youre.l.f.’ experience with makeup artists and relaxation chairs.

2. Mr Beast President Talks to CEO of X with Timbaland & Swizz Beatz

 Mr Beast President Talks to CEO of X with Timbaland & Swizz Beatz

Linda Yaccarino (CEO of X)

This session, Creators Unplugged: Boundaries of Freedom and Responsibility brought together two industry titans, Linda Yaccarino (CEO of X) and Marc Hustvedt (President of MrBeast), to discuss the evolving relationships between audiences, platforms, and creativity. Marc Hustvedt kicked off with an engaging observation: “When creators lean into their unique voices, they build stronger connections with their audiences.” Linda Yaccarino added depth by highlighting X’s dedication to its creators: “Our mission is to support creators not just as influencers but as entrepreneurs and innovators.” Reflecting on the shift towards a creator-led industry, she remarked, “The people in this room are really some of the champions of that.” Swizz Beatz and Timbaland later arrived to showcase their new webcast series Verzuz on X.

3. Leaders from Visa, TikTok, Viral Nation Discuss Equitable Creator Economy

Leaders from Visa, TikTok, Viral Nation Discuss Equitable Creator Economy at Cannes Lions

From left to right: Rahul Titus (Global Head of Influence, Ogilvy), Jamie Gutfreund (Creator Economy Strategist), Joe Gagliese (CEO, Viral Nation), Marisa Hammonds (Global Head of Creator Marketing & Community, TikTok), Ashley Cole Seidman (VP of Content Strategy, VISA), and Caspar Lee (Investor Creator).

In collaboration with Viral Nation, the LIONS Exchange panel brought together industry leaders and creators to delve into the complexities of scaling influencer marketing. Joe emphasized the impact of MGM Resorts partnering with Viral Nation: “Seeing ‘Agency of Record (AOR) for influencers’ is incredible! They partnered with us to build an internal infrastructure for scaling creator marketing.” He reflected on Viral Nation’s beginnings, noting that such partnerships were unimaginable ten years ago.

Ashley Cole Seidman, VP of Content Strategy at VISA, underscored the essential role of creator agencies in this ecosystem: “We need agency partners to navigate creator marketing effectively. The number of people working in a brand is remarkably low compared to the workload. Agencies help us bridge that gap.”

4. Elon Musk X WPP CEO Mark Read

Elon Musk X WPP CEO Mark Read

From left to right: Elon Musk (CTO of X) and Mark Read (CEO of WPP).

Elon Musk discussed AI, creativity, and innovation in a conversation with WPP’s Mark Read. Musk emphasized AI’s potential to be creative, stating, “AI can be creative. AI will create art or music that we will say is original.” He also highlighted AI’s ability to amplify human creativity: “AI will amplify creativity, making it like a magic genie where if you can think of it, the AI can do it.” Musk shared Neurolink’s goal to “enhance human intelligence” and emphasized that “we’re at the most interesting time in history.”

5. Creator Takeover: Savannah DeLullo, The Rapping Chef, Lisa Kisber, Steven He, YES Theory, Alix Earle, David Dobrik

Creator Takeover: Savannah DeLullo, The Rapping Chef, Lisa Kisber, Steven He, YES Theory, Alix Earle, David Dobrik

Steven He (right) made an impact at Cannes during three speaker panels.

From spectacular performances to insightful panels, Viral Nation Talent creators made their presence felt. Lisa Kisber perfectly captured the festival’s essence, saying, “Trying to capture Cannes in a minute or less is impossible! Hanging with my favorite people, meeting fascinating folks, being hosted by Viral Nation, and attending incredible talks, parties, and events doesn’t do it justice!” The Rapping Chef, invited by TikTok For Business, wowed the crowd with his performance at Spotify Beach. Savannah DeLullo turned heads at Paris Hilton’s DJ set for Ray-Ban Meta, sharing the excitement on Instagram with her trademark style.

Meanwhile, Steven He kept busy with not one, but multiple panel discussions (Forbes, IPG, Cannes Lions) and featured talent spots including the TikTok awards. Viral Nation CEO Joe Gagliese, speaking to Marketing Brew, emphasized his commitment to creating value for creators: “We’ve been working hard to ensure the track we build genuinely creates value for the individual, not just the marketing or brand deals.”

6. Olympic Torch Passes Through Cannes Lions

Olympic Torch Passes Through Cannes Lions

In a once-in-a-decade moment, the Olympic torch passed through Cannes on its way to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Coca-Cola jumped at the chance to spotlight its brand during this significant moment as the torch’s first visit to Cannes since 2012. The torch was carried by athletes like French basketball player Iliana Rupert and para canoeist Nelia Barbosa.

6. e.l.f. Beauty’s VP of Marketing: “We read every comment”

e.l.f. Beauty’s VP of Marketing: “We read every comment”

From left to right: Jack Neff (Ad Age, Editor at Large), Emma Ferrara (Viral Nation, Chief Business Development Officer), Patrick O’Keefe (VP of Integrated Marketing, Communications, e.l.f. Beauty,).

At Cannes Lions, Viral Nation’s Emma Ferrara (CBDO) and e.l.f. Beauty’s Patrick O’Keefe (VP of Integrated Marketing, Communications) teamed up for a panel on social-first tactics, moderated by Ad Age’s Editor at Large, Jack Neff. Patrick shared e.l.f.’s innovative approach to social-first marketing, which Emma praised as the ‘gold standard.’

He talked about their collaboration with Liquid Death and their initiatives to increase diversity on corporate boards, showcasing their commitment to forging genuine connections with their audience. “We read every comment, and those comments shape our direction around purpose. It’s not just about reacting but truly understanding and integrating this feedback into our strategies. This approach ensures that our actions are aligned with the desires and needs of our community, making our brand more relevant and impactful.”

Emma added, “Creating a unique social persona is incredibly important for every brand. e.l.f has shown that being bold, playful, and authentic can set a brand apart. This distinct identity not only attracts followers but also helps maintain their interest and loyalty.”

8. Lions Creators Terrace Takeover: BBC X Drea Okeke, Josh Richards, Steven He

LIONS Creators Terrace Takeover

From left to right: Helen O’Donnell (Head of Development, BBC Digital), Drea Okeke (Creator), Josh Richards (Creator), Steven He (Creator).

The Terrace featured talks from some of the brightest stars in the creator economy and here it was creators Josh Richards, Drea Okeke from Drea Knows Best, and comedian Stephen He. Josh emphasized the importance of listening to viewer feedback to keep content relevant: “Listening to the audience is key. Your supporters want the best for you, just as you do for them.”

Drea highlighted authenticity, using her Nigerian heritage and humor to create relatable content: “I show up as myself. My content reflects my culture, and when people see me living my truth, they relate.”

Stephen discussed the challenges of identifying trends in a fragmented market and balancing creativity with audience expectations: “The comedy sketch genre is vast. It’s about finding out what people are interested in and covering that.”

9. IPG: The Future Of The Creator Economy

IPG: The Future Of The Creator Economy

At IPG’s Common Ground panel, Drew Baldwin from Tubefilter kickstarted Cannes with a discussion between Steven He and Joe Gagliese about the transformative role of creators in today’s marketing landscape. Joe stressed the importance of leveraging creators’ insights: “Brands often neglect the valuable insights creators have about their own audiences. Today’s consumers are loyal and want to belong to a community, and creators can bridge that gap for brands.” Steven provided insights from a creator’s perspective on successful brand partnerships: “Brands that trust creators with creative freedom tend to see the best results. When I can inject my unique voice and style into the content, it resonates more authentically with my audience.”

10. Forbes: Content Creation At The Speed Of Culture

Forbes: Content Creation At The Speed Of Culture

From left to right: Forbes CRO Sherry Phillips, Moritz Bartsch from TikTok, Internet sensation Steven He, Forbes Top Creator Drea Okeke, and Lexie Riegelhaupt from Adobe.

At an intimate panel moderated by Forbes CRO Sherry Phillips, Moritz Bartsch from TikTok, Internet sensation Steven He, Forbes Top Creator Drea Okeke, and Lexie Riegelhaupt from Adobe shared their perspectives on how AI tools are revolutionizing content creation. Steven He compared AI to the industrial revolution for creators: “Its ability is in our hands, letting us do more with less.” He emphasized that the best content comes from authenticity, not scripts: “Let us use our voice to connect with our audience.”

Drea Okeke stressed the importance of brands trusting creators and leveraging their strengths: “When brands trust us and work with our strengths, the storytelling becomes seamless and authentic.” Lexie Riegelhaupt noted the shift in media dynamics, saying, “Content creators are the new media channels, and brands need to understand this shift to build genuine relationships.” Moritz Bartsch discussed the power of AI in freeing up time for creators: “The power of AI lies in freeing up time for creators to focus on what they love — being creative.”

Takeaways from Viral Nation’s Leadership Team

Cannes Lions Takeaways from Viral Nation’s Leadership Team

From left to right: Joe Gagliese (CEO), Nicholas Spiro (CPO), Kloye Wakil (Director of Executive Operations).

That’s almost a wrap. Viral Nation’s leadership team was on the ground at Cannes collecting invaluable insights into the future of social-first marketing. Emma Ferrara (Chief Business Development Officer) encapsulated the event’s spirit by acknowledging the maturity of creator marketing. “Seeing how creator marketing has established itself was a standout moment. The industry’s recognition of its value is undeniable,” she noted.

Andrew Sutherland (COO) highlighted the democratization of media and the significant shift in power dynamics, saying, “The engagement around how brands and creators can partner meaningfully was a standout for us.”

Nicholas Spiro (CPO) who leads our campaign workflow software Creator OS™ and brand safety solution Secure™, emphasized the crucial role of brand safety, saying, “Creators are the next frontier of brand safety innovation.” He mentioned how Viral Nation’s focus on this issue resonated with many brands, reinforcing the need for technology to ensure safe and effective creator partnerships.

Finally, Kevin King (CRO), pointed out the balance between AI advancements and the authenticity of creator-driven engagement. “Creators were laser-focused on authenticity and engagement, providing the perfect counterbalance to the AI buzz,” he observed, underscoring the importance of genuine connections in an increasingly automated world.

Okay, that’s officially a wrap on Cannes Lions 2024! We’ll be back next year representing creators in the best way possible – by making them the stars of the show. Until then, check out the creators featured at this year’s Vidcon 2024.

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