Millennial 'Mad Men': The Future Of Advertising At Cannes

Theresa HowardThis is what a copywriter looks like in 2014.
CANNES, France – Along the sun-drenched sidewalks where high-end retail names like Michael Kors and Christian Dior dot La Croisette, more than 12,000 ad people from around the world jockey for jobs, clients and awards as a generation gap emerges at the 62nd Annual Cannes Lions Festival.

As digital media takes over older traditional mediums and millennials become the next generation of creatives, veterans who aren't prepared may find themselves with a new boss that's half their age. The annual fete has seen a shift as brands like Tumblr, Instagram, Google and Facebook host some of the biggest events and take the stage.

"Creatively speaking, it's a pivotal time and things are changing a lot," Liz Paradise, Group Creative Director with McKinney, told AOL Jobs. "Technology has put us in a place where we constantly have to seek out learning and keep up."

It's one of the reasons the 20-year ad vet is in Cannes for the first time. Paradise said she used to be "intimidated" about new tech but now just surrounds herself with "smart, brilliant, oftentimes young people."

That is, if they're not already running their own business.

R. Martini, 34, is the CEO of Flag, a 400-person Brazilian agency whose workforce is more than 80 percent millennial. He says his employees are "excited to make things in a faster way. Everything needs to happen quicker. That's not a bad thing, but traditional creatives are probably a little scared." (See 'So You Want to Work in Advertising?')

Rob Schwartz, Global Creative President at TBWA Worldwide, doesn't disagree. He joined advertising at 24 as a copy typist before becoming a copywriter, but saw in 2009 that emerging technologies were redefining his job. A professional course he took reshaped his career. "If you've been in the business for 20 years, you've been trained a certain way, and it's hard for people to humble themselves to be dumb. People just getting in to the business see nothing but opportunity."

That's especially true in digital advertising, since technology is something they've used from an early age. "When I first started working, brands using Facebook and social media was a new and exciting frontier," said Robyn Tenenbaum, a 24-year-old copywriter with DigitasLBi. Digitas and Lbi merged in February 2013, doubling the global agency's employees. Tenenbaum and five others, including art directory Shelby Rodeffer, 25, are here as part of a USA TODAY program that tries to find young and emerging creative standouts. Their measure of success varies from their predecessors.

"It's really cool to be on the subway and see something you worked on, but it sucks to be on Twitter and see someone else slamming it," said Rodeffer.

Click through the slideshow to catch a glimpse of Google Beach and the scene at Cannes.

62nd Annual Cannes Lions Festival
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Millennial 'Mad Men': The Future Of Advertising At Cannes
The Google Beach at the 62nd Annual Cannes Lions Festival

Young Lions: James LaPonte (27), Robyn Tenenbaum (24), and Shelby Rodeffer (25) of DigitasLBi.

Posters throughout the show try to boost attendance for speakers.

Drew Ungvarsky, owner and creator of Grow Interactive.

Sasha Martens (front) has made the trip to Cannes since 2008.

The Ritz-Carlton terrace.

The Cannes Lions kickoff party on Tuesday night.

Wheeling and dealing: the terrace where people angle for a glass of rose and a chance to mingle with business prospects.

Michael Marshall-Clarke shows off a pair of Kirk Originals

Leslie Sims, EVP/ECD at McCann NY.

Dana Anderson, senior vice president, marketing strategy and communication, Mondelez

Showgoers compete in the awards and on the sand in beach soccer tournament.

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