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July 5, 2023

Cannes Lions Recap: The Metaverse Brings the Iconic Festival to Anyone

A virtual world, inspired by the French Riviera, amplifies enterprise leadership with a new experience at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
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This year, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, attendees had the chance to enjoy a special PwC-hosted experience both in-person on the French Riviera and in the metaverse.

PwC enlisted Virbela to help create a unique #metaverse experience to bring the world’s biggest festival of creativity to you, no matter where you are in the world.

The custom virtual environment featured a Mediterranean-inspired promenade with realistic city infrastructure inland and a glittering sea ahead.

Attendees explored live sessions streamed from the in-person Cannes Lions experience and other immersive content, while a virtual boat hosted speaker presentations from PwC thought leaders on topics related to the business value of augmented and extended reality.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Cannes, attendees joined PwC for a series of discussions about what’s next in the emergence of revolutionary technologies, like the metaverse and AI.

For those of you who missed it, we’ve collated some of our favorite moments. See what interests you: The trends and topics surfaced during this week-long event are sure to impact how major companies make creative and operational decisions in the coming months.

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Day One: A Metaverse Grand Opening

We kicked off the first day of the festival with attendees exploring the metaverse experience with help from concierge staff in the welcome area. The beachfront promenade, lined with boats, definitely felt like a main attraction and was many attendees’ first stop in the virtual environment. Another popular highlight was the Screening Theatre, a club-inspired lounge setting with theater seats, where visitors could watch live sessions from the day.

As with any event, selfies were part of the fun. If you’ve never taken a selfie in the metaverse, it’s easy: Use the Go To menu in the upper left hand corner of the screen, select your name, and select View Avatar. From there, you can use your computer’s screen capture function to take a forward-facing image.

Popular selfie spots included the walking path to the yacht, a glamorous red carpet with a PwC and Virbela step-and-repeat-banner, as well as inside and outside the Screening Theatre.  

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Day Two: An Immersive Presentation

Day Two featured the session "Metaverse or Meh-taverse," led by PwC’s Jeremy Dalton. The session explored the Metaverse's future and its upcoming impact on the enterprise.

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As with any new tools or technology, a company’s decision to invest can drive or constrain growth. The rise of virtual collaboration, especially against a backdrop of new AI capabilities, presents a defining period for many global organizations.

Day Three: Exploration and Interaction

Day Three saw attendees explore additional experiences designed to showcase what’s possible in the metaverse.

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The PwC Creative Expo Hall provided a platform to appreciate creative talent. AI-generated artwork, directed by emerging and established artists, was displayed in interactive booths that are easily scalable for any event.

ESG Metaverse Experiences promoted different ways that education, engagement, and collaboration could shape the future of learning.

Digital Twins were available for attendees to explore virtual counterparts of real-life environments, while a variety of other rooms showcased past virtual events that were hosted in the metaverse.

Day Four: Real-World and Metaverse

Day Four brought another captivating session, "Marketing in the Metaverse," featuring PwC’s Maxwell Harberg.

The virtual session dived into the key elements that drive meaningful brand experiences in virtual worlds. During the talk, on the deck of the virtual yacht, Harberg highlighted the importance of adapting marketing strategies to new digital landscapes.

Meanwhile, in-person at Cannes, a live panel discussion, "Developing the Next Generation of Immersive Experiences," revealed how to unleash magic in augmented reality technologies like the metaverse.

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This insightful panel took the feel of an impromptu discussion with conversation on current and future state technologies between notable technology leaders, including Virbela Co-Founder and President Alex Howland, Ph.D., PwC Global Metaverse Leader and US Chief Innovation Officer Roberto Hernandez, Adobe Creative Cloud’s Strategic Development Manager Chris Duffey, Nifty World Founder Becks Perfect, and Director of Creative Shop LATAM at Meta theo rocha.

Day Five: Final Moments

Due to popular demand, we hosted Dalton and Harberg for repeat sessions across a global audience. As Cannes drew to a close, attendees took their final looks around the metaverse, gathering inspiration for upcoming strategies, programs, and events.

The sense of excitement definitely lingered in the virtual air as participants bid their farewells and made plans to connect again.

Bringing Your Company into the Metaverse

Your company can follow in the footsteps of PwC’s metaverse experience at Cannes. By leveraging the immersive feel of the metaverse, you open up a world of possibilities for increased and improved engagements. Virtual worlds let you host conferences, trade shows, and product launches that transcend typical limitations related to cost or effort.

When developed as part of a larger event, like Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the metaverse empowers you to blend real-life brand activations and experiences with virtual engagement.

Want to discuss your next event? Email

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