22nd June, the day 65th Cannes Lions International Festival of creativity takes place. This year it is going to be fascinating. But wait, was not that supposed to happen at French Rivera with all the scenic beauties where creativity amalgamates with serenity? But here I am sitting in front of my laptop waiting for Tina Daheley to start the show. Where is the grand stage, breakout rooms, all the Google, Twitter, Spotify beaches? Where are the state-of-art tech exhibitors? I cannot find any of them. Oh, welcome to New normal. It is all in your laptop now and trust me without paying a single dime.
As we know, the world is going through the severe problem of Covid-19. For which almost each and everything had to get cancelled. Unfortunately, Cannes Lions was no different but thanks to the team of Philips and Simon that they did not let us down because at the end of the day “Creativity Matters” and they organized a full packed 5 days 40+ hours of a virtual show from speakers and experts from all over the world just to keep us going, make us feel more creative and remind us that Cannes has always been for the advancement of creativity.
The 2020 Lions Live, like any other year, was full of surprises. There were astonishing Keynotes by global experts, where the big issues are tackled by the big names. A segment called “Future Gazers” represented provocative and original views on where we are heading. There were “Lions Shorts”, specially commissioned films from world-leading creatives. In the first hand, President’s Briefing the Lions Jury Presidents share the inside track on creativity in action. In the fun-filled segment called “At Home With”, the Superstar chat show focused on creativity. Another segment called “What I’ve Learnt” was about revealing and nuanced insights from those who have tasted serious success. The ever classic “CMOs in the Spotlight by Economist” entailed leaders with the power, the resources and the pressure: what are they really thinking? “The Classic Collection by Facebook” has nurtured back to health from the original film reels “The Work” presents iconic classic campaigns. In “Advice- that Worked from See It Be It” sponsored by Spotify, alumni from the Cannes Lions initiative working towards equal gender representation among Creative Directors shared advice that genuinely helped them. In WARC, experts share their guidance on marketing effectiveness in the recovery. Also, “Winners of the Decade” declared this year’s Lion of St. Mark plus the Lion-winners who aced the 2010s and lastly Intelligence Upskill and unlock strategies for success.
CONTENT FORMAT THAT COULD: SCALING UNDERSTANDING DESPITE ALL ODDS BY VOX MEDIA
This year Lions live started with an astounding keynote by Vox Media. Vox Media is largely known for its simple mission to “explain the news” and scaled its signature explainer format across YouTube, iTunes, Netflix and Quibi. Along the way, they realized audiences were seeking this content from brands and in response, Vox Media formed the Explainer Studio – replicating the format for dozens of the world’s leading brands and NGOs.
Amid COVID-19, Vox Explainers have proven to be more relevant than ever as the format’s mix of remote interviews, audio soundbites, animation and archival footage was made for a world where production can only happen in the cloud.
This keynote was delivered by Cleo Abram, Sean Rameswaram, Heather Pieske and Joss Fong, which helped the audiences to understand the context and what the future of branded storytelling might look like.
I&CO PRESENTS PIVOT: HOW GROWTH CAN HAPPEN IN THE NEW NORMAL
This talk from “Future Gazers segment” was another attraction of the day one where Rei Inamoto, Founding Partner, I&CO shared his four imperatives of growth in New Normal.
In business, Rei has taken a lot of inspiration from the restaurant industry and how chefs operate. Inherently, there are a lot of parallels between the creative industry and theirs, as the restaurant business is a creative business and highly competitive. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has been devastating across the board but hit the restaurant industry particularly hard.
Amid all these difficult news, some people and businesses are finding new opportunities and audiences by pivoting in the New Normal. Looking towards the future, even in these trying times, we can learn from others, such as the restaurant industry.
The magical four imperatives were:
- From Organizational Scale of Functional Speed;
- From USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to POV (Point of View);
- From Case Study to Business Case;
- From Ideal Future to Practical Future.
CANNES LIONS & WARC PRESENTS CRACKING THE EFFECTIVENESS CODE
WARC sessions are always a point of amazement. This year at lions live, it was no different. On day 1 Marketing effectiveness experts James Hurman and Peter Field presented the world premiere of a major new study of creative effectiveness, carried out on behalf of Cannes Lions and WARC.
This global study involved an analysis of nearly 5,000 effectiveness case studies from 2011 – 2019.
James and Peter showcased a new framework “The Creative Effectiveness Ladder”, which was designed to create a universal definition and shared language of effectiveness.
They also introduced the principle of “Creative Commitment”, a new metric that correlates tightly with effectiveness. Measurement of “Creative Commitment” over time suggests that the industry is trending away from effectiveness – but this new principle offers an actionable way for marketers and agencies to work together to turn the tide.
BBDO INDIA’S JOSY PAUL: DISCOVERING YOUR UNIQUE SELF
Josy Paul has always been an incredible speaker and has a pandora full of learnings. This year at ‘”What I’ve Learnt” segment Josy shared how creativity and advertising is a great way to find who you are. In this session, Josy Paul introduced three of his close friends: failure, rejection and embarrassment and how these three outliers helped him to build agencies, cultures and work that are celebrated across the world. With stories from his early years building David to set up BBDO India from the backseat of his car in 2008 to the inaugural glass lion Grand Prix at Cannes to creating the most effective campaign in the world. Josy revealed the joys of losing and how you cannot break through until you break down.
HIGHSNOBIETY PRESENTS BETTER LIVING THROUGH ADVERTISING
Adeshola Makinde, Emmanuel Adjei, Jian DeLeon & Leila Fataar all next generation creative leaders started the day 2 with bold keynote where they discussed how “Advertising shouldn’t reflect the world we live in; it should challenge it to be better”. The fight for social justice starts with a new default setting — uncentering whiteness and focusing on equality. But what does this ideal world look like? These next-generation artists, directors, and thought leaders proved that “cultural marketing” is really just marketing.
ALMAPBBDO PRESENTS “CATRENTINE”
Under the segment “Lions Shorts” this beautifully crafted video has been shot at home. Where a creative wakes up and finds out he is living the life of a cat. He is not human anymore. With time to think about the situation, he realises how exciting it is to work in this industry and how we can face the changes a new world will present to our businesses. “Catrentine” is an emotional, fun, magic-like short film with personal observations and an optimistic vision about our future.
PRESIDENT’S BRIEFING TITANIUM LIONS: FCB’S SUSAN CREDLE
Every year at Cannes Lions, each Jury President is asked to put together a President’s briefing for their jury – a set of guiding principles used to assess every piece of work. Looking ahead to 2021, Simon Cook, MD of Cannes Lions invited the President of the Titanium Lions, FCB’s Susan Credle to share what that briefing looks like today and how the category is set to evolve in response to changes in the wider world at present. Susan shed light on the new trends she is keeping an eye on, and look back at some of the award-winners that moved the industry forward, helping set the standards of exceptional creativity that the Titanium Lions demand today.
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE AND MEN
Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA, interviewed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women and Chair of the Unstereotype Alliance under this session.
In this captivating interview, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shared a personal account of living through the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa. She recounted similarities to the Black Lives Matter movement happening today and called for white people and men not to waste their privilege in society and use it for the collective good. Stephan asked what measures can be taken by the advertising industry to catalyse change. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka delivered a clear message in response: “Brands standing on the side-lines are perpetuating stereotypes, diversity and accountability is paramount and there is not any more time or patience for incremental change”.
PROJECT EVERYONE PRESENTS ACTIVISM ACTUALLY, WITH RICHARD CURTIS AND FRIENDS
Day 3 of Lions Live started on a thought-provoking note. Over recent months we have experienced an emergency like no other with the coronavirus pandemic. This has now been compounded by the racial justice crisis manifesting in the US.
These crises show us that the system we have created is deeply flawed, and that without system change, there will be more crises and more upheaval. To create a just, healthy, and stable world, we need to all need to act. We are all activists now. The Global Goals are a plan to show us the way, a plan to help us build back better. Activism and the Goals can help us face these challenges together, through partnership.
P&G PRESENTS STEPPING UP: CREATIVITY AS A FORCE FOR GOOD
The twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism have once again revealed the deep cracks of systemic inequality that remain in our society, and have brought clarity to what matters. The role of brands and companies in the world has been forever disrupted, making it inescapably clear they have a responsibility to lead change.
At this Keynote Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer reflected upon lessons learned over the past several months and how brands and companies can step up to use creativity as a force for good.
THE CMOS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: TAMARA ROGERS, GSK
In this live session, Charlotte Howard, New York Bureau Chief, Energy and Commodities Editor at The Economist questioned Tamara Rogers, Global CMO, GSK about what GSK has been focusing on now, how they have been managing remote leadership in lockdown and whether the world of marketing has changed forever. It was an intriguing session as Tamara delved deeper into the purpose of GSK which is to “Help people to do more, feel better and live longer” and how this purpose is navigating their plans during this pandemic.
IBM PRESENTS ACCELERATING CHANGE: CREATIVITY AND TECHNOLOGY FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Events such as the global pandemic have had a monumental impact on our industry and the world at large. There has never been a more crucial need for brands and individuals to act with purpose to help solve global challenges. Bob Lord, Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Ecosystems at IBM, and Chelsea Clinton, Vice-Chair of the Clinton Foundation over an intimate conversation discussed on the ways that creativity and technology are intersecting to bring about change and the importance of educating and inspiring the next generation by providing them with the technology and resources they need to take action.
SAATCHI & SAATCHI PRESENTS NEW DIRECTORS’ SHOWCASE
Day 4 of Lions Live started with an astonishing showcasing. Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase was celebrating 30 years of New Director talent, highlighting the past and look to the future.
VICE PRESENTS VICE TV PRESENTS NO MERCY, NO MALICE WITH PROFESSOR SCOTT GALLOWAY
VICE TV presented a Lions Live special episode of its primetime show, NO MERCY, NO MALICE with Professor Scott Galloway. In this episode, Scott looked at the implications of Coronavirus on society, the markets, and business. Through the lens of the “Four Horsemen” – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google – Scott unpacked how COVID-19 impacts industries, including retail, media, healthcare, and technology.
AT HOME WITH… ANUPAM KHER
The “At Home With…” series explores narratives around inspiration, motivations and what it takes to be successful in the broader world of creativity.
On Day 4 at this session, Hyla interviewed famous Indian Actor Anupam Kher to learn about his creative inspirations, career paths, failures and beyond. Anupam Kher shared some of his bewildering personal experiences from having a facial paralysis to still being called Stupid by her amazing his mother, Dulari.
LIONS LIVE DEBATE: HOW WILL THESE CRISES AFFECT OUR INDUSTRY?
As the industry and the world are facing the crisis of Covid-19 and its economic fall-out, as well as the challenges of representation and equality thrown into the spotlight by the recent Black Lives Matter protests, Cannes Lions Chairman, Philip Thomas, leads a debate with five industry leaders, Jean Lin, Global CEO – Creative, Dentsu Aegis Network & Global Executive Chairman, Isobar; Mark Read, CEO, WPP; Lorraine Twohill, Chief Marketing Officer, Google; David Droga, Founder & Creative Chairman, Droga5; Steve Stoute, Founder & CEO, Translation, on how our industry will emerge. Among the subjects were; how will creativity retain centre stage? How can great talent be attracted and retained? What is the future for the agency model? And where does social media go from here?
LIONS INTELLIGENCE PRESENTS A GUIDE TO CREATIVE SURVIVAL
The last day of Lions Live began with Susie Walker, Head of Awards at Cannes Lions. Since the virus hit, brands have been forced to pivot at breakneck speed to meet changing consumer demand. Communications, supply chains, and core product lines have been rethought.
The industry has weathered tough times before. Creativity bounces back. But is this recovery different? What can history tell us?
Susie trawled thousands of Cannes Lions winners in The Work to identify how creative communications responded to periods of economic turmoil, from the 80s to the 2000s. What trends and tactics worked then, and which will work now? Which creative trends are set to accelerate? Will the aftermath of this recovery see the creation of new, iconic work?
CHEIL GREATER CHINA GROUP PRESENTS ECONOMIC RECOVERY EMPOWERED BY DATA & INNOVATION
A session sponsored by Unity described the mobile revolution in China has fast-forwarded following the ban on travel and shutdown of cities. Post-pandemic, how is China now continuing their work of poverty-reduction? How is the collaboration between the worlds of conventional media and e-commerce, helping to sustain employment and grow business in rural China? How is everyone engaging in creative storytelling to sell – anything from oranges to rockets? Pully Chau, Group Chairman,
Cheil Greater China Group revealed all within an insightful commentary on China’s journey back to growth.
YOUTUBE PRESENTS THE VANILLA ICE CREAM PROBLEM
Why we all made the same COVID ad and what it means for the future of data and creativity. YouTube Creative Director Ben Jones took a look at the new opportunities and challenges that 2020 has revealed and how the algorithm needs more help from the imagination to open up new ways of storytelling.
THE CMO GROWTH COUNCIL DEBATE
A call to action for senior leaders and chief marketers from around the world to join the session in support of the initiatives that the Global CMO Growth Council’s leadership team has prioritised. Since its launch in 2018, the Global CMO Growth Council has used its collective clout and commitment to advance a focused growth agenda for the industry. Yet now, the impact of COVID combined with racial injustice, have shown that the industry must go further, much faster. Accelerating economic and societal growth has never been more urgent. This panel featuring Mathilde Delhoume, Global Brand Officer, LVMH; Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G; Julia Goldin, Global CMO, LEGO & Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and President, Healthcare, Mastercard explored the global marketing agenda and the proposed future actions that will deliver growth and define the way forward.
THE LIONS CREATIVITY REPORT OF THE DECADE
There might not be any award ceremony at the Lumiere Theatre of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, but there were sure some awards for the best agencies and brands for the past decade. The winners were selected based on how many Lions they had won at the festival over the past 10 years.
- Regional Agency of the Decade – Middle East & Africa: VMLY&R Dubai née Y&R Dubai;
- Regional Agency of the Decade – Europe: adam&eveDDB London;
- Regional Agency of the Decade – Latin America: AlmapBBDO São Paulo;
- Regional Agency of the Decade – Pacific: Colenso BBDO Auckland;
- Regional Agency of the Decade – Asia: Dentsu Inc. Tokyo;
- Regional Agency of the Decade – North America: Wieden+Kennedy Portland;
- Independent Agency of the Decade: Wieden+Kennedy Portland;
- Brand Marketer of the Decade: Procter & Gamble;
- Holding Company of the Decade: WPP;
- Network of the Decade: BBDO Worldwide;
- Agency of the Decade: AlmapBBDO São Paulo;
- Palme d’Or of the Decade: MJZ USA.
LIONS LIVE GLOBAL QUIZ
The first-ever Lions Live ended with Juan Señor hosting the first-ever global creativity quiz with killer questions, a cocktail to make in the break and four passes to be won for Cannes Lions 2021.
FINAL REMARKS BY SIMON COOK, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CANNES LIONS
“Lions Live was born out of crisis, limitation and constraint but has allowed us to bring the very best of our industry to a broad and diverse audience, united in their belief in creative possibility. With so many people willing to share their thoughts and with so many people listening, we do not feel we can limit the conversation to one week. At an uncertain time, one thing we are very sure of is that you cannot contain creativity.
Lions Live will live on and celebrate a different type of connection, reinforce a sense of belonging regardless of location and unite us in our collective purpose to drive progress through creativity.”
The article is rewritten by Sajid Mahbub, General Manager & Executive Editor, Bangladesh Brand Forum.