Is Cannes Really a Tech Conference?

Digital is front and center

My Father’s Day cards are mixed in with my Cannes programs and guides. The vague aches and delirium of flying though the night from JFK strapped into a middle seat in coach have been swiftly swept away by a breakneck taxi ride from Nice to Cannes and super strong Café Americain under the city’s tall palms.

Cannes. My first trip to the big ad show. My initial impressions—other than the tang of salt air mixed with the retro sensation of cigarette smoke in restaurants—is that this show has a lot more to do with tech than advertising.

I know hundreds of juries are squirreled away vetting every creative form imaginable, but way out in front and way buzzy is digital. I caught the tail end of the Tim Armstrong/Arianna Huffington AOL show and am now waiting for the Adobe session entitled "Advertising Meets Digital Publishing: The Hot Issue." Yup, right in Adweek’s wheelhouse.

The audience is all flip-flops and iPads. It looks like a room full of Brooklyn startup types, but their Spanish, Danish, and Chinese gives them away as a broader international version.

OK, it's starting. Vanity Fair's Hamish Roberston is wearing red-rimmed glasses and a matching pocket square. This should be good. It’s an impossibly beautiful day outside, and chaises beckon. But the room is full and rapt and the beach will have to wait until after the future of media is discussed.

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