Another wonderful conversation on board the FCB yacht was the highlight of my Cannes Monday this year. This one, with Nigel Jones, global chief of strategy, and part of CEO Carter Murray's handpicked A-Team that's leading the transformation. Among other things, Jones has been articulate in the past about the need for strategic planning to remain uncomplicated. If the end result desired is to connect with consumers, complexity will do more harm than good, he rued.
"I have never believed you need to look complex to be respected," he observed.
That was planning. With the end-creative, unarguably, simplicity is key. One wonders how in heavens, then, did the creatives you didn't get at third glance, go on to global glory. But that's another story.
Creativity under pressure
The theme of 'Creativity under pressure' is real and relevant. Kudos to the organisers for hosting multiple talks under this umbrella. If it's ad blocking at one end, AI is at another. But while it is certainly under pressure, that is also because of the dire need for cut-through creative in a fragmented world.
Sir John Hegarty, speaking at the first session of the day on 'The power of cinema to drive cultural change', said, "Everything is fragmented today. What you need is a big idea that holds everything together."
Not something we haven't heard before, but perhaps even more relevant today than in the past. And it will be even more relevant in the future, I'm guessing.
I remember from last year's festival, the launch of the 'We have a plan' campaign for the UN Goals. This year, it was 'Global Goals, Global Girls'. Last year's film has been seen by 100 million people, said Hegarty, with a third of them recalling it unprompted. On the one side is the power of the media aggregated for the campaign. On the other is the power of the creative. Hegarty also underlined the power of channelising public sentiment, when he said, "All the governments have signed up. But it's the pressure from beneath that's going to put in place actions."
Enter creative. The UN global goals needed action triggered by a piece of work that stimulates a response.
Creativity is, for good
Juries across awards may not agree on a piece of work that deserves a Grand Prix. But some results matter more than others. And Cannes Lions results matter.
If last year we took pride in #TouchThePickle bagging Grand Prix in the Glass Lions, this year it's for the '6 Pack Band' for Brooke Bond by Mindshare. Adding to the joy are #ShareTheLoad and work for Make Love Not Scars bagging Glass Lions, making India the most awarded in Glass Lions, adding to the Healthcare Agency of the Year title at Lions Health. It wasn't a bad year at all, for Campaign India to start showcasing our Cannes Contenders.
Creativity with soul
Creativity from brands has to have a soul, too. But it was evident in the session by Kitcatt Nohr, that it's a relationship, but not one tainted by the shadow of commerce. Making it a tad more challenging.
A live FGD scenario with people across Europe was a breather. And provided the last words for this entry.
"I can change your behavior by changing mine. I think that's the key thing for people managing brands," said Robert Rowland-Smith, philosopher, psychologist and business consultant – and a faculty member of The School of Life.
(Amended at 6 pm IST on 21 June to name Robert Rowland Smith, to whom the last comment should be credited.)