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How to improve your chances of a speaker slot at Cannes


Victoria Usher

Published On:

December 17, 2015

Published In:

PR & Communications

Cannes is the leading event for the advertising industry. For our clients, it is the ideal opportunity to meet with prospective and current customers, debate topical issues, and demonstrate thought leadership.

One of the main focuses of our PR strategy is securing a speaker slot (a process that for us starts in November) with the team busy crafting ideas that will capture the imagination of the Cannes judging board.

We’ve successfully placed a number of clients on the Cannes stage and with that in mind, we wanted to share some pearls of wisdom we’ve learnt from our experience with the Cannes Lion Innovation team.

Creative, creative, creative

Cannes is all about empowering and celebrating creativity, so any content should be produced with this in mind. But don’t be limited by talking about the creative lessons that delegates will learn – think about how you will deliver your session in an innovative way. Can you do a live demo or is there a new technology, e.g. virtual reality, that can help bring your pitch to life?

What should the submission involve?

Ideally the session should explore a brand new concept that has not been covered at other events, or at the very least, be an interesting and relevant update on an established idea. What will delegates gain from attending, what are the key takeaways, and – as mentioned previously – how can you bring your session to life?

The CEO isn’t always the best speaker

Unlike the majority of events where securing a CEO on stage is central to the success of a pitch, Cannes tends to prefer speakers who are involved in the day-to-day delivery of campaigns – someone who isn’t necessarily a company spokesperson.

When deciding on your speaker, consider the content you are pitching. If you are looking to talk about creative, why not involve a colleague whose job function centres around this area – such as a Creative Director? Or if you are looking at future trends, the futurologist in your organisation is an obvious choice. Likewise, when undertaking a deep dive into technological advances, is there someone from your company on the developer side who is confident enough to speak on stage?


And finally…

Space is minimal on the Cannes submission portal, so once your content is nailed, copy should be concise and impactful. With only 175 words to grab the judges’ attention and get them hooked, your submission will need to stand out from the offset. While there is room on the form for additional information where speaker details can be expanded and your idea can be crafted in greater detail, first impressions matter most — so make yours count.

And last but not least, give yourself enough time to finalise the content and upload your pitch in advance of the deadline – which has now been extended to 15th January 2016…

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