Kati on the Croisette at Cannes Lion


It’s taken a whole week to rest my body, mind and spirit after the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. During what turned out to be one of the most inspirational events of my professional career, I forged lifelong friendships with colleagues, was exposed to transformative work from all across the globe and was forced to evaluate my impact on my business and the world at-large.

A jam-packed schedule left little time for notes and barely enough brain space to remember everything; however, here are my key takeaways from my first ever Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity:

1. Be the change you want to see in the world:

At a time where the world is experiencing unprecedented turmoil, Cannes Lions shined a light on the positive campaigns being used to generate awareness for and combat these social injustices. While the topics ranged from the refugee crisis to voter rights to gender inequality, the campaigns were all grounded in an authentic desire to make a difference.

Many of the sessions at Cannes spoke to corporate responsibility but one breakout, hosted by Edelman, was particularly memorable. In the opening remarks, Mark Renshaw, Edelman’s global chair of its brand practice, talked about how a brand can and should be providing leadership on social issues in a polarizing world. In order to educate brands on how to do so, they first conducted a study about consumers’ expectations in this time of upheaval. Some interesting findings included that 67% of US consumers are buying a brand for the first time based on a shared belief. That’s over 2/3 of consumers! They also found that 65% of consumers are saying that silence is not an option; consumers will stop buying if they don’t understand your brand’s stance. Most surprising to me was that half of consumers believe that brands can do more than governments or other institutions to drive change in the world.

With trust at an all-time low, it is more important than ever for brands to participate in the betterment of our society. Here’s how:

Find your calling – Don’t simply tap into what’s trending, but instead, find a movement that speaks to your mission and brand purpose.

Talk less, act more

Invite Action – If done appropriately, aligning with these missions should also invite consumers to help your brand reach your business goals (buying your product, service, etc.)

2. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future:

At MKTG, we have always taken great pride in the company we keep, that is, the clients we are lucky enough to work with. As I wandered the Awards Hall in the Palais that displays all short list nominees and the eventual winners, I was excited to see many of our legacy clients up for the coveted Cannes Lions Awards. Proctor & Gamble brands Gillette and Tide walked away with Gold, as did Gatorade and Skittles; and Nike won awards for their Unlimited Stadium and their Unlimited Greatness campaign. These awards are true testaments to the innovative and creative brands we are fortunate enough to work with.

3. Creativity knows no borders:

Walking Le Croisette during the Cannes Lions Festival quickly turns into a life-size version of the guessing game – “What accent is that? What language do you think they’re speaking? I wonder what country they’re representing!”

I consider myself to be a well-traveled and cultured individual, lucky enough to have studied and vacationed abroad for years, but to be immersed in such cultural diversity from a professional perspective was something quite new. I found myself having conversations with everyone I met about their political climate, trending topics or brands, and cultural norms that affect the way people consume or create media. Their answers were as varied as their accents.

At times I was actually uncomfortable to say that I was from the United States, a country with a leader preaching nationalization and religiously bigoted rhetoric. But found solace in the fact that I, as a representative of that same country, was letting them know that not of all us share those ideals.

Let’s be honest, globalization is winning and will continue to lead the way into a greater tomorrow. And as brands begin to capitalize on that intercontinental growth, we as agencies must be ready and able to provide strategies and solutions for a connected world.

I can proudly say that the congregation of Dentsu Aegis employees that were sent to Cannes as part of the Route 500 program, was an accurate representation of the global atmosphere of the entire festival. Employees from Mumbai to Shanghai connected with colleagues from Toronto to Tel Aviv, forging relationships and fostering conversation about the future of the global industry. I am so thankful to be a part of such a progressive organization.

Above all, I was impressed by the cognizant efforts of Cannes Lions to make the festival diverse and inclusive. Instead of simply including sessions about the benefits of a varied workplace or why we should market to women, they practiced what they preached by having equal representation on juries and showcasing speakers of all races, religions and gender. I feel extremely honored to have taken part in such an important week in media/marketing and I’m already planning my return – because there’s no way I’m missing out next year!

 

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 5th, 2017 at 1:50 pm

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Posted in Experience

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