Young Lions 2019

Kenon Mak

First of all, I want to say that after having survived yet another extended, and especially frigid, Canadian winter I’m excited to learn what the sun feels like again. Secondly, it’s amazing to be heading back to Cannes as part of our global Mindshare Young Lions delegation! Linen, sunglasses, and an appetite for rosé—check, check, and check!

This year’s theme for me is: Back to Basics

Brands are going back to the roots of media and putting more value in brand building by re-imagining their narratives, using the five senses to evoke brand loyalty and awareness and taking a lead from how heritage brands have engineered longevity. For my client, Ford, that is perfectly embodied in The Future is Built which calls upon their 115 years of auto manufacturing history and infuses it into their brand positioning.

On a personal level, I’m hoping my trip to Cannes will uncover the path to building a more sustainable future for the agency model. With the continued growth of the big three platforms (Google, Facebook, and Amazon), the looming threat of media in-housing, and the constant squeeze from procurement, there has never been more pressure for media agencies to demonstrate value in the marketing channel. But I’m optimistic (or perhaps it’s the youthful naiveté) that our core value proposition will come from a shift back to the fundamentals: combining creativity in storytelling with deep integrated expertise in omni-channel media planning. This means not just running videos and banners at bottom-of-the-barrel prices but providing strategic and creative direction in building and protecting our clients’ brands.

Some of the speakers I’m most looking forward to hearing from are:

  • Arianna Huffington | Unleashing Creativity to Fuel Health, Habits and Humanity
  • Alfonso Cuarón | Defining Art + Activism
  • Big Sean | Storydoing: Moving Beyond Marketing to Bring Stories to Life
  • Sheryl Sandberg in Conversation
  • Mark Read | Beefin’ Up Brands: The Power of Creative Transformation
  • Jeff Goldblum | The Future of Entertainment
  • Sir Martin Sorrell in Conversation with Marian Goodell
  • Lorne Michaels | In a World of Disruption, Storytelling Wins.

Written by Kenon Mak