Cannes Lions 2024: Key Learnings and Memorable Moments

Having worked at SHARE for over five years, I was given the opportunity to go to Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, a company perk offered for years of service. The festival brings together the advertising and communications industry to celebrate the world’s best work. Being a creative technologist, I wanted to get stuck into the conversation around AI, emerging tech and new ways to create. After a great week exploring the Palais in the sun, I’ve summarised the work that stood out to me, the talks I found important and the brand experiences that left a memorable impression.

Let’s dig into the highlights that resonated most with me at this year’s festival.

Best work at Cannes Lions 

Here are the standout pieces from Cannes Lions 2024 that captured my attention for their innovation and impact:

Grand Prix – Outdoor | Pedigree – Adoptable
For me, the standout work of the year was an innovative AI-driven initiative developed with Colenso BBDO and Nexus Studios, revolutionizing how shelter dogs are featured in global advertising— using AI for good. When there’s no other way to do it, AI is used because it is needed.

Grand Prix – Design | Sol Cement – Sightwalks
Another piece of work that stood out to me was from Sol Cement and the fact that they are a cement company is even more impressive. They launched an initiative to support a marginalised community – the visually impaired – with a slick, simple and sophisticated design solution

Silver | ITV x CALM
The last work I want to share is a special one that doesn’t need many words – it’s moving, powerful, and important. It’s one that made me cry in the Palais.

Insightful Talks at Cannes Lions

Now, let’s move on to the talks. Among the many insightful sessions, a few stood out to me for their depth and relevance. Here are some of the key insights from the ones that left the most significant impression.

OpenAI | When AI Challenges and Champions Creativity — Mira Murati, David Droga
Mira Murati and David Droga discussed how AI can challenge and champion creativity. They highlighted the importance of intuitive and accessible design, and explained that this is in part why ChatGPT has taken off. The biggest fear is misunderstanding the technology, with people not using AI to its fullest potential or misinterpreting its capabilities and risks. They emphasised the importance of implementing it into your workflow, recognising where it actually helps and identifying the roadblocks. Making AI accessible and free to use is essential.

Google | The AI Era: Supercharging Marketing and Creativity — Vidhya Srinivasan, Alexander Chen are working on products with a primary purpose to be creative and playful. Whilst Gemini is being built to interact with the everyday. My opinion is that it’s going to be more effective as a consumer product at this point in time, rather than being suited for enterprise applications.

Created with

Meta | Paper Planes: Where Art Meets Science — Es Devlin, Alex Schultz
Es Devlin and Alex Shultz discussed how technology should not be feared as an enemy but as a provider of opportunity to create new and exciting explorations. Es shared her work from POEMPORTRAITS, a machine learning powered poem at the Serpentine Gallery and British Expo in Dubai 2020, where a timer-structured pavilion used early ChatGPT to generate a new poem every minute.

Joined by a love for origami and paper planes, Es Devlin and Alex Schultz bridged the gap between art and science to discuss a positive outlook on AI and creative technology. This talk was my personal favourite, due to it being a creator speaking about art and design in a way that didn’t seem to sell a brand or a service but celebrated creativity itself.

BBC Studios | Navigating a New Era of Social Storytelling in the Age of Backlash — Joe Sugg, Munya Chawawa, GK Barry, Jonelle Awomoyi
Munya Chawawa talked about the importance of ‘The 3 Ts’ for working with creators and influencers if you’re a brand or agency.

  • Talent – acknowledge their talent, and make use of that.
  • Trust – it’s taken a lot to get where they are so trust in the process and style of output.
  • True Fan – be a fan of their work and empower and promote their vision. Don’t use them for a follower count as it will be an ineffective use of budget and talent, and the output will be worse.

Brand Experiences

Lastly, I have selected a few brand experiences that attracted my attention for their creativity and engagement.

Microsoft | Creators Gallery by CoPilot
This showcased experimentation and use of the Co-Pilot tool through a creative challenge of ‘complete this sentence…’

In my opinion this is a positive way to get creatives to think about AI use as a beneficial tool and as an opening to better output rather than an obstacle or enemy.

Meta | Prompt Whispering with Meta AI
Meta have rebranded Prompt Engineering to make it feel more approachable, positioning Meta AI as your friend, and a place to go to brainstorm. ‘Prompt whispering is all about deeper dialogue, not about final answers.’

“AI is accelerating our ability to connect at the speed of culture. 50% of the content people see on Instagram is now AI recommended. 30% of posts on Facebook feeds are delivered by our AI recommendation system.” Meta had a timeline to show how they’ve been working with AI since Facebook’s inception. But I wonder if they’re now renaming the previous systems as AI now it’s en vogue. 

Meta AI offers search through social media which I think could be a useful tool for content creators and content managers, to see what’s been done, what’s worked previously and what people engage with when brainstorming.


My first Cannes Lions was a mix of inspiration and valuable lessons. While I attended numerous talks that introduced high-level concepts, I found myself wishing for more depth in some discussions. And although it was interesting to see business leaders on stage, I would have loved to hear more from the creators directly involved in the projects.

The event often seemed more focused on networking and socialising than on celebrating creativity. I understand that our industry can be exclusive and sometimes favours connections over merit; this event’s exclusivity highlighted the need for growth, especially in making it more accessible to young professionals and creatives.

If the work is the most important part of the event, then why restrict access behind a paywall? I believe we should strive for inclusivity and openness. Let’s support sites like where the focus is solely on the work itself, free from sponsorships, wristbands, or registration lists.