My First Lions… My Top 5 Takeouts

For me, a Cannes Lions newbie, the 2015 festival was a whirlwind of meeting new people, attending talks, forums and workshops, willing away the all-too-human FOMO – well, hey! You can’t do everything – and, of course, making time for some partying. I mean networking.

So, since the ‘Top 5’ is a celebrated HeyHuman tradition (trust me on this), it seems apt to record such a mind-blowing few days in France by whittling down my experience to my Top 5 Takeouts

Header_Image_Blog_PostGender equality – with the launch of Glass Lions specifically to celebrate work championing it, this was inevitably going to be a major talking point for the 2015 festival. Gender equality was referenced in many speeches I attended; from Avon’s latest campaign to Mariella Frostrup and Frieda Pinto going off on a tangent during their time on the Grand Audi stage, this industry now has a clear focus on closing the male/female divide. The CEO of Sport England, Jennie Price, had this to say about the award-winning success of This Girl Can.

Work for the common good – beyond brand/company profits. Sir John Hegarty and Richard Curtis led the charge, announcing the world’s biggest ever cinema advertising rollout, for an awareness campaign about UN leaders signing a declaration to end global warming, poverty and inequality… all placed under the punchy call-to-arms: #WeHaveAPlan 7 Billion People, 7 Days. As a movement, it was evident throughout the work on display and was winning awards: Volvo LifePaint, Run Like a Girl, Security Moms, Touch the Pickle and many more were all taking on human challenges.

The pace of change – it’s commonly accepted that the speed of (social) media and tech development is only ever going to accelerate – with marketers attempting to keep up with consumers. From Sir Dave Brailsford talking about a 12-year plan to Google’s seminar on what is and isn’t banned from YouTube, it’s clear that many are attempting to plan ahead… but largely having to make it up on the hoof! The winners will be those with the greatest ability to adjust and flex in the new Digital Age.

Innovation and adoption of start-up tech – linking to the above, and with the likes of Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel sitting on a company worth $19bn at the age of 24 (and many other under-30s tech/software owners arriving by yacht in Cannes’ marina), it’s clear there’s been a shift in terms of the need to innovate – meaning big players are looking to partner with/harness tech and software start-ups to gain competitive advantage. R/GA was smart, working with a start-up academy as part of the Cannes Lions Innovation launch itself… watch this space to see who out of the hopefuls in the programme will be the next Spiegel or Zuckerberg.

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Creativity is still king: well-trodden ground no doubt, especially at a festival of creativity(!), but there was a lot of chat about how, despite this influx of tech innovation, the power of The Big Idea still dominates. More up for debate is what’s the best model for delivering this creativity in such a diverse and fast-changing world? Should there still be boxes around the idea of who constitutes a ‘creative’? Or should we strive to create an environment in which everyone is respected for their creative ideas? The debate will of course live on. Bobby Hershfield, Partner and Chief Creative Officer at SS+K – who has lived on both sides of the suits/creative fence – offered perhaps the best, most straightforward advice possible: “Have sympathy for what others are going through. There doesn’t need to be tension between accounts and creative.”

So, after such a brain-enlarging, mind-blowing, foot blister-inducing and hangover-generating festival of madness… I guess the only thing left to say is, predictably:
“See you next year!”