Why Marketers Should Meet Startups at the 2015 Cannes Lions Festival

Many billion-dollar ideas have been pitched to brands over the last decade and didn’t get done because of lack of budget, process or vision.

The good news: it’s the perfect time for brands and agencies to partner with startups.

More and more brands are embracing the “golden mean” of 70/20/10: spend 70% of the marketing budget on traditional media, 20% on digital and mobile and 10% on experiments and the unknown. In the US alone, that 10% is a $17 billion opportunity for startups.

A leader in this space is Unilever, which completely changed its approach to innovation in early 2014. It started with the ground-breaking Go Global program that paired seven of its brands with seven startups for pilot programs (with KITE’s help).

The Unilever Foundry, launched soon after, serves as Unilever’s hub for engaging with technology innovators. Already the Foundry has done pilots with 60 startups and paid over $5 million to startup partners, benefiting both its brands and young companies that are ready to scale with the world’s second biggest advertiser.

Indeed, the Foundry believes so deeply in the startup ecosystem that it has brought 50 of the world’s best advertising and marketing startups to Cannes this week — from over 300 applicants — for pitch opportunities and networking.

We’ve championed the Foundry 50 as well as the inaugural Cannes Lions Startup Academy, sponsored by R/GA, which is providing 10 startups with hands-on mentoring from top marketers and high-level introductions. R/GA, like Unilever, has proven its willingness to experiment and learn from emerging-tech companies (check out their accelerator program for connected-devices startups).

All this means world-class marketers from brands and agencies have an unprecedented opportunity in Cannes to meet top startups, discover new channels for connecting with consumers and start unlocking growth in non-obvious ways.

The startup-related news from Cannes so far includes:
* Snapchat’s new digital content agency with WPP and the Daily Mail
* LISNR, an audio-based mobile engagement platform, and R/GA winning a gold Cannes Lions award for innovative mobile technology
* Unilever and VICE partnering on a new female-focused video channel

We’re excited to see (and facilitate) these types of connections in Cannes and ensure they lead to game-changing partnerships this summer and beyond. Let us know how we can help you: canneslions@getkite.co.

Learn more about partnering with startups at KITE’s Lions Innovation session on Thursday, June 25, 11:20am to 12pm in Lerins Hall, with Tom Bedecarre of WPP Ventures/AKQA, Shiv Singh of Visa, Guy Horrocks of Carnival and Gregarious Narain of Chute.