Stagwell’s Sport Beach Brings Pickleball to Cannes Lions

CANNES, France—For one week every year, the seaside restaurants along the Mediterranean are taken over by global companies ranging from Google, Yahoo, Spotify and Pinterest to the world’s biggest holding companies including WPP, Publicis and Dentsu. This year, there was a new entrant: Stagwell Group and its more than 70 agencies.

Most of these activations include meeting spaces, a stage for programming and music, and some experiential elements. With the massive growth of sports and influencer marketing, Stagwell saw an opportunity and built Sport Beach. Between panel discussions on marketing, measurement and creativity, attendees played pickleball, basketball, and even flag football on the beach. Stagwell also lined up sponsors including Gatorade and NBCUniversal.

“We went in and we said, ‘Well, if we’re going to do Sport Beach, we won’t do it alone.’ And I think the sponsors got real value,” Stagwell Group CEO Mark Penn told Adweek. “It was meticulously planned right from start to finish.”

More than 5,000 people had come through as of Thursday. “Given the response, I’d be rather silly not to do it again,” Penn added.

Several current and former pro athletes including Annika Sörenstam, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Marshall, Aly Wagner, Sheryl Swoopes and Mack Hollins were on hand, speaking on panels, giving pro tips or just enjoying the action. We caught up with a few of them on the beach.

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