23 June 2021

Isobar Mexico CEO Luis Ribó on Cannes Lions Post-COVID

In April last year, it was announced that Cannes Lions, the world's leading advertising and marketing festival, would cancel its 2020 edition. This was because of the health threat posed by COVID-19. For 2021, it will return, but in a digital edition and with the enormous experience of some of the toughest months the industry has experienced in several years. But Luis Ribó, CEO of Isobar and dentsu mcgarrybowen and one of the five Mexican jurors, still sees an impressive event. That, even with the advent of an online format. 


As always, regardless of the situation in the world, Cannes Lions remains the most important and globally recognised festival. It is precisely for this reason, regardless of the current state of the world, that the value of the event, the value of gaining recognition, remains the highest in the industry. It remains the highest benchmark in the subject of creative excellence.


A new Cannes Lions?

Just because it will be held virtually and not in person, this year's edition will be unlike any other in the past. But some agents believe Cannes Lions is going through a major transformation process. For example, AdWeek already describes it as a celebration that has moved from a single week of efforts and connections to an ongoing, year-round effort. But Luis Ribó points out that, outside of the format, he sees no difference. 

It's not just the event, everything to do with business travel and conventions on a global scale is changing. We see a trend towards a mixed scheme. It's certainly going to remain a face-to-face experience going forward, despite the integration with online. But I don't think there will be any other changes. Finally, Cannes Lions represents the work of communication companies around the world. And in that sense, the objectives remain the same.

Time to shine for Mexico

This year's Cannes Lions ceremony represents an opportunity for agencies and brands in the country to regain the prominence that was lost in previous editions. As Expansión points out, in many ways Mexico has been relegated to the background, with occasional glimmers of notoriety. And considering the pieces to be recognised this year, said the CEO of Isobar and dentsu mcgarrybowen, there is an excellent opportunity to shine.

We're just now in the judging process at Cannes Lions. And it seems to me that there are themes that are being played out here that are developing everywhere. Specifically, brands are increasingly interested in having a positive social impact on the community. It seems to me that this is a common denominator in advertising globally. And within Mexico we are seeing that it is taking on as much or more strength than what has been seen in other countries.

Digital and results, the central themes at Cannes Lions

The CEO of Isobar and dentsu mcgarrybowen points out that, if anything has changed in recent months that could be reflected in this edition of Cannes Lions, it is digitalization. He accepts that the trend of using online channels, and how they empower consumers, is not new. But he does point out that it has taken hold in 2020 and will have an impact on the whole industry. And specifically on awards, he emphasises a crucial shift in the way we judge.

"Increasingly there is more and more influence of the results at the Cannes Lions festival. Before, it used to be an event that was very different from others because the awards recognized an effort where the achievement of goals was not always a substantial part of the evaluation. But today, the achievement of objectives is seen with more attention. And a lot of importance has also been placed on how much resonance these strategies have with the media to amplify it.


This interview was originally published by Merca 2.0.