No Cannes Do.

I always think going to a ‘Cannes roundup’ is like sitting through a smug friend’s holiday slideshow.

Nod. Smile. Passively hide your envy.

Many have tried and failed to bring back the most interesting nuggets from the sun soaked event and relay it as best they can through a dodgy tan. Unfortunately, it ends up sounding a lot like…’So I reached for the Bolli on this yacht and Sandberg turns to me and says…’

But I walk to the Twitter office for Creative Social’s ‘Mini Cannes’ ready to be inspired, drink as much vinegar wine as I can handle and nod and smile as much as my grumpy British sentiment can muster. The truth is, I’m curious.

If you haven’t been to Twitter’s offices before, like me you might be hoping for ball pond brainstorm rooms and slides instead of stairwells. However, the reality is a very grown up and imposing building and I’m invited into a conference-style room along with a bunch of equally translucent individuals who did not go to Cannes.

It’s a cruel thing indeed to write a roundup of a roundup, I do appreciate, however there are a few things you absolutely need to know. We need to talk about the fact that…

  1. CANNES WAS CRAP, APPARENTLY

Overall, I appreciated how candid all the speakers were, particularly the panel discussion which discussed at length the fact that Cannes has lost its creative edge.

Trevor Robinson OBE, Founder & ECD of Quiet Storm, described his disappointment at coming away feeling deflated and uninspired. That no-one came back wanting to share the cool new thing they’d seen with the envy of not thinking of it themselves first. And if there’s none of that, what’s the point?

The panel, chaired by Claire Beale, Editor of Campaign, also discussed the fact that prices have become so prohibitive that the diverse, inclusive nature with which Cannes was intended has died. Advice to the crowd was – unless your boss is buying you a ticket don’t bother, otherwise you’ll be taking out a second mortgage.

With Publicis removing themselves from the situation entirely this year and an overall grumble from punters that surpasses the usual hangover, surely its time for an insurgent event to swoop in and create a less exclusive club for the equally talented but not quite yet loaded creatives of the world.

  1. CREATIVE BRAVERY IS DEAD

I know. Sad times. Ok, so we’ve all resigned ourselves to the fact that the Mad Men days are o-ver but Trevor @ Quiet Storm also discussed how the current climate; job cuts, budget cuts and therefore risk adverse marketeers are resulting in a generation of creatives making ‘meh’ work with ‘meh’ results.

I’m not sure a remedy to the solution was offered up other than a call to creatives everywhere to stick their neck on the chopping block. I know an agency that have a ‘F*ck it fund’ which shouldn’t be mistaken as the flippant splashing of cash that it sounds like. It’s about giving their people the freedom and wherewithal to be creative without the limitations of budget or politics and knowing that the results will be pay back in creative karma again and again. The industry might be under pressure, but to me, this is an open permission slip to rediscover our courage.

  1. THERE’S NO TIME FOR EXPERTS ANYMORE

Ok, so these are not her words but I was listening to Elizabeth Cherian, Director of The Innovation Group at JWT and she’s seeing a lot of ‘hybrid’ professionals emerge in the industry. These ‘hybrids’ skip from one creative discipline to another applying one paradigm to the next; breaking the traditional format as they go and positively changing the way we create things.

In an environment where technologies and trends move so quickly, it seems there’s simply no time to spend 10 years becoming the expert of anything because it’ll be a completely new landscape by the time you get there. Innovation requires us to think on our feet, test and learn and don’t be afraid of breaking the mould. I suppose that means people are becoming unintentional directors of everything?

 

In summary…Don’t go to Cannes. Do risk your job for the prospect of greatness. And become a jack of all trades and break some stuff to make it better.

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