Marketing industry insights from the Cannes Lions festival 2024

June 28, 2024 11:32 am Published by

Key Insights: 

  • AI in Advertising: Shift from hype to pragmatic use with a focus on efficiency and responsible AI, despite only 12% of Cannes Lions entries using AI in 2024.
  • Creator Economy: Significant presence and influence at Cannes Lions, with a 21% increase in Social and Influencer Lions entries. US marketers projected to spend $8.14 billion on influencer marketing.
  • B2B Marketing Integration: Growing acceptance of creators in B2B strategies, highlighted by successful campaigns and industry panels at Cannes.
  • Advertising Budget Shifts: Brands are moving budgets from traditional channels like TV to creator-led content, with social video ad spending expected to surpass linear TV ad spending by 2025.

Every year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity sets the stage for the latest trends and innovations in the advertising world. This year, two hot topics dominated the conversation: creators and AI. Although these themes were also prominent in 2023, the discussions at Cannes in 2024 revealed new insights and directions for the future of influencer marketing.

The Shifting Focus of AI in Advertising (from hype to efficiency)

In 2023, the buzz around generative AI was all about its potential to revolutionise creativity. Fast forward to 2024, and the conversation has shifted towards a more pragmatic approach, emphasising responsible use and return on investment (ROI). The euphoric excitement has been replaced with serious discussions about the ethical considerations of AI-generated content and data practices.

Generative AI has not yet fully penetrated public-facing creative assets, as evidenced by Cannes Lions reporting that only 12% of entries used AI in 2024. This modest figure indicates that the industry is still navigating the complexities and capabilities of AI in advertising. Kate Kenner Archibald, CMO of Dash Hudson, highlighted that the primary benefit of AI at this stage is efficiency. "For now, time savings is the biggest opportunity," she said, emphasising that AI tools can save significant time for creative teams.

Personalisation is another critical aspect where AI is making a mark. Josh Campo, CEO of Razorfish, pointed out that AI can integrate siloed data to provide sharper consumer insights, ultimately enhancing campaign strategies. Despite the advancements, nearly every discussion about AI included the term "responsible," underscoring the industry's focus on ethical AI use. TikTok's President Blake Chandlee emphasised the need for clear labelling to inform users when AI-generated content is being presented.

The Power and Evolution of the Creator Economy

The creator economy was prominently on display at Cannes Lions 2024. Marketers couldn't walk far along the Croisette without encountering creators, reflecting their growing influence. For the first time, Cannes Lions hosted a dedicated creator program, marking a significant milestone for the media and ad industry.

The number of entries for the Social and Influencer Lions category rose by 21% year-over-year, partly due to the inclusion of creator content. This surge in entries underscores that influencer marketing is becoming a staple in brand strategies. US marketers are projected to spend $8.14 billion on influencer marketing on social media alone this year.

Creators are at various stages of development and maturity, creating a diverse landscape. Established creators like Tinx and MrBallen have built thriving businesses that rival traditional brands. In contrast, newer creators are still learning the ropes of securing brand deals, which remain a primary revenue source.

Integration of Creators in B2B Marketing

B2B marketing has been slower to embrace the creator economy, but that is rapidly changing. At Cannes, LinkedIn hosted a panel discussing the future of B2B influencer marketing. Industry leaders like Neil Waller, CEO of Whalar, and Rahul Titus, global head of influence at Ogilvy, shared insights on successful campaigns that incorporated creator content. Ogilvy's B2B Grand Prix-winning campaign highlighted the effectiveness of this strategy.

Shifting Advertising Budgets

Brands that have traditionally hesitated to invest in influencer marketing are now redirecting budgets from conventional channels like TV to creator-led content. This shift is significant as it aligns advertising spend with consumer behavior. By 2025, social video ad spending in the US is expected to surpass linear TV ad spending, indicating a major transition in the advertising landscape.


The insights and trends from Cannes Lions 2024 paint a vivid picture of the evolving landscape of influencer marketing. The focus on responsible AI use, the burgeoning power of the creator economy, and the strategic integration of creators in B2B marketing highlight the dynamic changes shaping the industry. As brands continue to adapt and innovate, influencer marketing will undoubtedly remain a pivotal element of modern marketing strategies.

For brands looking to stay ahead of these trends and leverage the power of influencer marketing, partnering with experts can make all the difference. Discover how Webfluential can help you connect with the right creators and maximize your marketing ROI. Visit us at Webfluential for more information and to get started on your influencer marketing journey.