Initiative, Dr Pepper and Hasbro: Brand/start-up partnerships at the 2012 Cannes Lions

Joseph Clift

As its name suggests, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is held each year to recognise and reward an eternal and unchanging human impulse: to produce and enjoy creative work. But the way such creativity is developed and commoditised by the ad industry changes all the time, as consumer tastes shift, business practices evolve and new technologies come onto the market.

One of the biggest changes to hit clients and agencies in recent years has its source in Silicon Valley, which is today home to thousands of tech start-ups, characterised by their digital know-how, low staff headcounts, high levels of entrepreneurialism and shared hunger for VC cash.

While some have seen in this activity the beginnings of another "tech bubble," others have seen opportunity. Initiative, a global ad agency, has helped to set up many partnerships between advertisers and start-ups over recent years – and offered some practical advice on the topic in a Cannes Forum session.