Adland is taking a more subdued approach to Cannes Lions this year – with yacht parties giving way to a renewed focus on creativity.
The&Partnership Founder Johnny Hornby was the first to cancel his annual yacht party earlier this year – with others including The Daily Mail and Oath, the parent company of Yahoo and AOL, following suit.
His parties have previously been legendary, with events of the past 16 years including partnerships with clients News UK and The Wall Street Journal. These have spanned star-studded dos including Take That’s most intimate ever gig in 2015 and DJ sets from Fatboy Slim.
Celebrity guests on board The&Partnership’s yacht have included Professor Green, Caitlin Moran, Peter Mandelson and Dame Karen Brady – who in 2016 helped celebrate The&Partnership (then CHI&Partners) becoming the UK’s most awarded independent creative agency, picking up the Gold Cyber Lion for its Lexus Hoverboard Project, as well as silvers and bronzes for News UK and The Prince’s Trust.
Hornby – whose more reserved Cannes itinerary this year includes WPP’s media and tech conference, Stream; The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Networking Dinner; and meetings with clients and new business contacts – said the industry should renew its focus on creativity, as well as how new technology and smart data are transforming marketing effectiveness.
The&Partnership made headlines earlier this year after pre-audit figures for 2017 showed the network had doubled in size (from £235 million to £460 million) off the back its visionary new “embedded” agency model, which is driving impressive results for international clients including News UK in London, The Wall Street Journal in New York, RBS in Edinburgh, and Toyota across Europe. Gross profit climbed 48% to £74.6 million off the back of this model, which sees multi-disciplined teams working on-site at clients’ offices, or in buildings nearby, under a single-bottom-line structure.
With all work powered by smart data analytics, Hornby hopes this new model will help drive some wins at Cannes this year. The&Partnership has been shortlisted for awards for its work with Toyota, The Prince’s Trust and Argos.
The network also last week picked up the top prize in Global Brand Marketing at the Marketing Society Excellence Awards, for its pan-European ‘We Choose Hybrid’ campaign for Toyota: its debut campaign for the brand after it picked up the £240 million creative, media and digital accounts in 2016.