FCB Issues Mandate Requiring That 75% of 2018 Cannes Attendees Are Creatives

By Patrick Coffee 

It’s now been four days since the Cannes Lions makeover, and agencies around the world are still asking, what does this mean for meeeeee???

The answers are starting to come in. For FCB, it means stricter guidelines on who will go to Cannes next year.

FCB worldwide CEO Carter Murray sent out the following memo to all FCB staff yesterday.


Earlier this week, the organization that owns Cannes Lions announced extensive changes in an effort to refocus the Festival on its creative roots. Over the last few months, CCOs across IPG – including our own Susan Credle – have worked hard to share with Cannes leadership our pain points and suggestions for Festival improvement. While the changes announced Monday don’t address all our concerns, it signals a strong step in the right direction.

FCB has always believed in this Festival and strongly feels that our presence this year should reflect our commitment to creativity. As such, we are mandating that 75% of our 2018 attendees will be talent who are directly responsible for our creative output (writers, art directors, designers, producers, etc.).

As Susan and I have said before, creativity is the heart of our industry. Each year, Cannes Lions reminds the world of this. We are proud to be long-standing partners with the Festival in this important mission, and we look forward to making 2018 our best Cannes yet.

Best as always,


FCB executives didn’t elaborate on the note. But one industry veteran speaking on background stated that this would not be a dramatic departure from the makeup of past Cannes teams and that the employees who opt out of the festival this year will probably be executives.

A couple of points to note: Murray’s memo seems to imply that the FCB organization doesn’t think these changes went far enough but doesn’t get specific. One source called the changes “confusing” and predicted that next summer’s Cannes parties won’t be quite crazy as those in past years. Of course, the Gutter Bar will still be open.

It’s also notable that WPP and Sir Martin Sorrell, who seemed to be driving the conversation about Cannes in the first place, have not said anything about the announcements. This despite the fact that, according to an email chain published by Adweek in September, the holding company was not particularly happy with Cannes parent company Ascential.

Omnicom provided the following statement today:

“Cannes acknowledged that after 60 years it was time to hit the re-set button and that’s smart. We applaud the steps the festival has taken after seeking input from Omnicom and many agencies and CMOs across our industry. We are especially pleased to see the festival renew their focus on inspiring and energizing the next generation of creative talent—which, of course, is what the festival is—and should be—all about.”

A WPP spokesperson declined to comment.

But then Publicis Groupe seems satisfied, so all is good with the world.