Last week, I shared some thoughts about what it would mean to reinvent the Cannes Lions while acknowledging that there’s still value in the current version thanks to its role in recognizing creativity, closing deals, cross-pollinating ideas, and sparking global relationships.

Now, it’s AI’s turn.

First though, I did have the pleasure this week of emceeing Mediaocean’s Cannes recap where I got to present some favorite takeaways from our event with more than 50 industry leaders. The recording is available now, and you can catch my talk there, along with thoughts from LinkedIn’s Melissa D’Arienzo, CIMM’s Jon Watts, my colleague Rachel Lyall, and some surprise guests discussing the news of VideoAmp integrating with Mediaocean.

Also, I need to give credit to my colleague Morgan Alfrejd for that presentation design. I’ve never worked with a presentation design team like Mediaocean’s, and I love the thematic work they do. It’s refreshing when a company puts this much thought and effort into its corporate presence and not just its client work.

Anyway, on to the robot overlords…

I’ve been playing around with OpenAI, which has become best known as the originator of DALL-E 2 which creates realistic images with minimal text input.

What’s often overlooked is how well its text generator works. I have access to the Playground, and if you enter simple prompts or questions, the answers are revealing.

Sometimes, it’s refreshingly literal. Below are exchanges where I supplied the prompt, and OpenAI answered it. OpenAI’s answers are unedited; there are zero edits for clarity, grammar, or anything else.

Me: What would an event that’s the opposite of the Cannes Lions look like?

OpenAI: The Cannes Lions is an annual event that celebrates the best in advertising and marketing. The opposite of the Cannes Lions would be an event that celebrates the worst in advertising and marketing.

Makes sense.

Other times, it’s very specific.

Me: What are ways the Cannes Lions be improved?

1. Increase transparency around the judging process
2. Make the festival more affordable for smaller companies and startups
3. Increase the focus on creativity and innovation
4. Make the festival more accessible to a wider range of people and cultures
5. Encourage more collaboration and networking between attendees What about the future?

Me: What will be different about the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in 2025?

OpenAI: In 2025, Cannes Lions will be a much more diverse and inclusive event than it is today. There will be a greater focus on creativity and innovation, with a wider range of voices represented. The festival will also be more sustainable, with a commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

Wow, so it gets the need for more diversity, and also the carbon footprint. Sir Martin Sorrell (a name that came up frequently in my exchanges with OpenAI) talked about the environmental impact at Mediaocean’s retreat, so I was surprised to see OpenAI pick up on that too.

Not all responses were so insightful. Some were coherent but predictable.

Me: What was the most important topic discussed at this year’s Cannes Lions?

OpenAI: There was no one specific topic that was discussed more than others at this year’s Cannes Lions. However, some of the more popular topics included the role of technology in advertising, the importance of creativity, and the future of the advertising industry.

But other answers were more surprising.

Me: What’s the craziest thing that ever happened at the Cannes Lions?

OpenAI: There’s no one answer to this question as the craziest thing that ever happened at the Cannes Lions is likely different for everyone. However, some of the craziest things that have been reported include a model being bitten by a shark while on a photo shoot, a man driving a tank down the Croisette, and a woman streaking on stage during a presentation.

I had to look this up.

It turns out the shark incident was a widely-documented 2018 story about a model in the Bahamas. No Cannes connection.

The tank event does not seem to have happened in Cannes; there are lots of other references online to people driving tanks where they shouldn’t.

As for a streaking woman, there was a disrobing female protester at this year’s Cannes film festival, but I’m not aware of this happening during Cannes Lions presentations. If it happens next year though, I’ll have to write about precognition and free will. 

Speaking of which, I had to ask…

Me: Who will win the top prize at next year’s Cannes Lions?

OpenAI: There is no way to predict who will win the top prize at the Cannes Lions next year.


I have to close on two tangents to the Cannes Lions — the first because they revealed the most surprisingly deep answers, and the second because I like closing on a happier note.

I got spiritual for a moment and asked what certain religious figures would say about the ad industry:

Me: What would Jesus say about the ad industry?

OpenAI: The ad industry would probably not fare well under Jesus’ scrutiny. He was not a fan of materialism or greed, and the ad industry is very much built around those things.


Granted, I checked several times, and I received a number of responses that were at odds with each other. OpenAI’s perspective can change as soon as you hit the refresh button.

Here’s another take:

Me: What would Jesus say about the ad industry?

OpenAI: There is no definitive answer to this question, as Jesus’ views on advertising could potentially fall anywhere on the spectrum from complete acceptance to complete rejection. However, it is worth noting that Jesus was a master storyteller and often used parables to communicate his message, which suggests that he would likely be open to the idea of using advertising as a tool for spreading his message.

There we go! I think Jesus would be into Pinterest ads where he could promote inspirational quotes.

There was an obvious follow-up:

Me: What would Moses say about the ad industry?

OpenAI: Moses would say that the ad industry is full of false idols and that people should be careful not to worship them.


I needed a little pick-me-up after all that.

Me: What is the best thing about working in the ad industry?

OpenAI: There are many things that make working in the ad industry great, but one of the best things is the people. The people in the ad industry are some of the most creative, passionate, and driven people you will ever meet.

Amen, AI.

On that note, happy 4th of July to all my American readers and friends celebrating.

I hope to see some of you in person on the happy 6th of July at First Wednesday next week; I’ll take a beer with human friends over AI conversations every single time.



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