A sleepless nine hour night flight from Mumbai to Zurich, an hour and ten minutes from Zurich to Nice and another 45 minutes from Nice to Cannes – and still I felt bright eyed and enthusiastic on arriving at the Palais- venue for the 59th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Held at Cannes (pronounced as can like a tin can) in France, the festival is the most prestigious international annual creative awards as well as the world’s largest global meeting place for those interested in creativity and communications. With 11000 registered delegates from more than 90 countries representing advertising, PR, digital, marketing, media and design industries, this is a Must Attend event for the hot shots in the industry and an aspiration for the others. Being in the latter category, I was amused when I overheard a Cannes regular say. “Cannes is just the networking and the partying.”
Far from it. The festival is a Mecca for learning, debate and inspiration. Eight seminars and two workshops on day 1. No wonder I registered at the Palais even before checking into at my hotel.
Cindy Gallop, ex chairman BBH New York and founder of -make love not porn and Elliot Polak. Founder and CEO of Textappeal held the discussion –Culture shocks:Porn, youth and brands. This is the first time has ever been discussed in an advertising forum. A significant impact of technology has been the easy access of porn on the internet. This has resulted in the average age of a child’s first exposure to hard core pornography –a shocking eight years. This exposure has affected the children’s self esteem, relationships and behavior. “Young French people are no longer confident of showing their bodies” lamented Cindy. Her website which receives 3000 hits a day draws maximum traffic from the USA, China and then Pakistan and India. The use of sex to sell brands as varied as Skittles, Doritos, Ikea, Benetton and several others were showcased to highlight the mis match between the product category, its customers and the strategy used. An Indian example –Close Up toothpaste was also shown.
Cindy asked the advertising fraternity to look beyond these stereotypes, involve more women in leading creativity and help people feel good about themselves. The two received a thunderous applause from the audience.
Another insightful session discussed the use of infographics and other tools of data visualization to make sense of the vast data that is available to us. Simon Rogers, news editor of the Guardian DataStore spoke of how data is changing journalism. Data can now be produced in so many interesting ways thanks to the free graphics tools available. He spoke about the use of infographics to explain live news in powerful ways. A good example was the use of infographics to help them understand the background of the rioters in the famous UK riots.
Morihiro Harano, creative director of Party spoke of story telling. “When you receive a brief from a client, don’t think of the advertising campaign that you will create, think of the story you will say” Through beautiful examples he spoke of how stories can be told, through innovative use of technology. The Toyota app –Backseat driving which entailed virtual driving through real use of GPS was enlightening.
The sessions are over here at 6.30 pm and now is the time for the networking at the Connect bar. Off I go…
Authored By: Vandana Kakar, she is representing Mediavataar @ Cannes.