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Cannes Lions 2024: The Convergence of Creativity and Technology

As the sun set over the stunning French Riviera on Friday, so did another fabulous year of blending creativity, technology, and strategic branding at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. BW Events Tech team members Rae & Victoria ventured to Cannes to experience the latest event technology being deployed at the festival and host a dinner for marketers and event planners with partner Splash.

Even though they did not have official conference passes, our team had plenty to do with just the sheer volume of ancillary events going on in the city that week. Beyond the main festival events, an array of brands including Pinterest, Meta, TikTok, LinkedIn, AmazonAds, Adobe and more created a buzz with their immersive activations, meeting spaces and even hosted their own sessions and workshops.

Here’s an inside look at how these brands leveraged practical event tech and activations  amidst the buzzing backdrop of Cannes’ pristine beaches and opulent hotels, and steps you can take to facilitate your own memorable activations.

The Role of Event Tech

Event tech at Cannes is not just a tool to collect registration data, but rather a centerpiece that transforms brand touchpoints into memorable interactions. 

From a practical standpoint, brands deploy an impressive array of technology, from dedicated landing pages and integrated meeting tools to registration systems and NFC (near-field communication) wristbands. This tech serves dual purposes by enhancing the user experience, but also streamlines the operational aspects of hosting large-scale events.

We also saw technology being leveraged in creative ways for different brand activations. Here are some of the things we really enjoyed:

  • LinkedIn’s Marketing Mirror Quiz, which blended an interactive questionnaire with 9  “future marketing personas” for a fun and brand relatable activity. 
  • AmazonAd’s AI portrait booth, which combined AI portraiture with a “choose your own adventure” style of image prompting that was based on Cannes and the Cote d’azur region.
  • Twitch blended an AR experience with interesting facts about Twitch streaming and the platform.
  • LinkedIn also provided new headshots, which did not appear to be especially tech savvy BUT each attendee accessed their personal headshots via QR code with biometric authentication (no more digging through EVERYONE’S headshots). 
  • Pinterest leveraged data from popular search trends to create 6 non-technical activities that were memorable and on brand. After all, who doesn’t want a conference tattoo or a custom friendship bracelet? 
Human Touch in a Digital World

Despite the high-tech environment, the element of human touch remains crucial. Despite the acceptance of AI and willingness to embrace new technologies, having people to facilitate activations was crucial. Brands were able to facilitate successful activations by ensuring that a personal touch was not lost—be it through staff cheerfully offering to take photos, personalized consultations, or unique, trend-based activations guided by dedicated staff and experts.

Planning Your Own Ancillary Event

Looking to integrate some new tech into your own ancillary event during another conference? Here are our top strategic pointers:

1. Know Your Audience
Identify and understand your target demographic and what events they will be at. Your ancillary event should take place during a time when your target audience is already co-locating in one place.

2. Secure the Perfect Spot
Once you’ve identified a conference to host your ancillary event, the next step is to figure out where. Select a venue that’s easy to access and fits your audience size specifications, the hours you want to be available. If opting for a large ancillary event, be sure to choose a space with unbeatable visibility and foot traffic.

3. Align Your Tech Stack
Select technology that aligns with your brand’s image and the needs and goals of your event. Whether it’s registration software, interactive tools, or data collection methods, each piece should contribute to a cohesive brand experience.

4. Streamline Registration
Consider how you can consolidate multiple event registrations into a seamless experience. This can reduce friction for attendees and gather more comprehensive engagement data. Focus on making this easy for your attendees.

5. Stay True to Your Brand
Your ancillary event should reflect your brand’s identity and values. Every element, from decor to digital assets, should resonate with what your brand stands for.

6. Offer Compelling Reasons to Visit
Give attendees a compelling reason to stop by. Exclusive content, interactive experiences, or practical giveaways (like event survival kits, cooling fans or popsicles) can attract more visitors. Above all, you should tailor your activations to the preferences and interests of your target audience to ensure the engagement you want.


In Cannes, the convergence of technology and human interaction creates a dynamic playground for brands to showcase their creativity and connect with their audiences. By integrating cutting-edge technology with strategic branding and maintaining the irreplaceable human touch, brands can craft memorable experiences that resonate long after the festival ends.

Hosting an event at Cannes is not just about being seen—it’s about creating an experience that speaks to your audience and leaves a lasting impact. Whether through innovative tech or impactful personal interactions, the key to success lies in how well you can blend these elements into a compelling, cohesive event.

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