As a Programmatic Analyst for Amnet, being able to attend the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was not exactly outlined in my job description. However, internal opportunities of working for Dentsu Aegis Network made this an opportunity and to say that I have learnt a few things would be an understatement.
My Cannes Lions pass has ultimately changed my perception on the media industry. As great as my affinity to data management and analytics may be, a week of exposure to the most creative work from across the globe was nothing short of inspirational.
Creative leaders addressed topics such as the attention industry, social media addiction and the rebirth of retail. However, there was a key theme running through the week that gripped me the most — the presence within our industry to make positive changes to our world.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed upon by all United Nations world leaders in 2015 exist as objectives for heads of state, industries and individuals to build a more sustainable world. If there is one industry that has the power to spread the underlying message of the SDGs, it is the creative industry. Furthermore, if there is one place to celebrate the work communicating to the world as to how we can prosper as a society, it is the International Festival of Creativity. Cannes Lions 2018 saw the addition of a new award category as a direct result of the SDGs — The Sustainable Development Goals Lion Awards.
This new category aims to “celebrate creative problem solving, solutions or other initiatives that harness creativity and seek to positively impact the world” across 5 themes: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. The new category became a talking point across the week with all delegates delighted to see such work being recognised and it was a privilege to have observed the start of a new chapter for the awards.
Beyond the awards addressing positive world change, the festival also offered events by ACT Responsible with screenings of outstanding campaigns addressing issues of environment protection, solidarity, human rights and education. Festival delegates were then invited to act as the jury to vote for winners of the 2018 ACT Cannes Tributes. I will not forget the work I observed by Amnesty International, The Times of India and Access Israel — to name a few.
Those across all industries are no stranger to the social movement and the importance behind #Metoo and #TimesUp and this year saw the anonymous creation of #WomenCannes. The aim of the new hashtag was to increase awareness of not only misconduct within the industry but also to help highlight the achievement of women and to ensure its celebration at this year’s festival.
Cannes Lions 2018 was also filled with talks, Q&A’s and workshops surrounding women in the industry. From female role models addressing their incredible achievements; to young marketers “meet ups” discussing how we can help shape a fair future, each event was filled with both people and inspiration. It was a pleasure to see the Girlbossing session by Emily Hinks (Mischief Makers) on the Palais Terrace overflowing beyond the archways — a true indication as to the level of determination in young female creatives and their inability to remain confined.
I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed to read that Sir David Attenborough would no longer be attending the festival for his announcement with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). However, their launch of The Lion’s Share scheme was no disappointment. The new project invites advertisers to donate 0.5% of media spend when a campaign uses imagery of an animal.
Those presenting The Lion’s Share questioned as to why music royalties and the financial means of using famous faces are considered in creative work, yet animals do not receive this same treatment. Donations to the scheme would be allocated to wildlife and conservation work across the globe with full transparency. The UNDP predict that if the world’s top 20 advertisers alone were to contribute to The Lion’s Share, £47m could be raised each year — with a target of £100m a year.
The desire to highlight the positive work created by those within our own industry does not exist with the same presence in Manchester as it did in Cannes during Lions week 2018. I don’t believe that this is exclusive to the “Northern Powerhouse”. Media ecosystems across all cities should be celebrating philanthropic communication in the way I was able to witness earlier this month.
Those working within media (especially young marketers) should be more significantly exposed to work surrounding benevolence and be part of a dialogue discussing its impact. I invite you all to view the work collated by ACT Responsible and through greater exposure of such work, we collectively would not forget the power of our own industry to ultimately aid donation, increase awareness and save lives. Furthermore, we should allow it to inspire us in our future endeavours — both professional and personal.
Year-on-year growth on media spend continues to increase. Unfortunately, so does political uncertainty, climate change and violation of human rights. Therefore, it becomes increasingly crucial to be aware of our collective potential and the achievements of our fellow marketers in philanthropic ventures; so that we can drive a stronger contribution from the creative industry towards our universal mission of achieving the SDGs.
Chloe Allison is a Trading Analyst in Programmatic for Amnet and featured as a member of our #RovingReporters2018.
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