Social & Influencers

Cannes 2024: TikTok, women’s sports, and passing the torch

The Olympic Torch paid a visit to Cannes, while attendees talked brand deals with women athletes.
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Getty Images for Spotify

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It’s Day two at Cannes, and I’m still buzzing from last night’s Spotify soiree, where I got full-on imposter syndrome rubbing elbows with Jessica Alba, Sophia Bush, and Keenan Thompson while John Legend sang “All of Me” on a stage built on top of a pool.

I kicked off my second day at a TikTok media briefing, where executives discussed the app’s new AI features. Afterward, I chatted with Sofia Hernandez, global head of business marketing at TikTok, who was also at the Spotify party and admitted the hilly shuttle ride to the venue made her a little dizzy (same).

As for her role at TikTok, Hernandez said her role means she has a lot of brand CMOs on speed dial because, as she said, “For most brands, what I hear is, ‘It’s a little scary to put ourselves out there,’” but that’s often what you need to do to find success on TikTok. Hernandez said she sees convos at Cannes this year focusing on the evolution of the CMO role beyond just “campaign makers.”

I knew there would be lots of interesting sports-centric conversations at Cannes this year, so I headed to “Winning Equality: The Rise of Women’s Sports,” a panel featuring soccer player Midge Purce, basketball player and rapper Flau’jae Johnson, and Mr. Serena Williams himself, Alexis Ohanian. They talked a lot about how brand deals have evolved in women’s sports, as well as their larger impact.

“If I take the short end of the stick, or if I take a deal, if I do something for free, they’re gonna tell the next young girl ‘Flau’jae did it this, Flau’jae did it that,’ so I can’t undermine the worth of the woman coming [up] behind me,” Johnson said.

Speaking of athletes, the Olympic Torch passed through Cannes today, escorted by a parade including brands like Coca-Cola and French savings bank Caisse D’Epargne (whose float featured a basketball-playing squirrel). I had assumed the woman carrying the flame was a French athlete, but I later found out that it was actually Halle Berry. Go sports!

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Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.