Last year saw the launch of the ‘Ogilvy and Inspire’ series at Cannes, with a conversation with the eminent educationist, Sir Ken Robinson. It was an eye-opener for me. Loaded with wisdom, witty as can be and hugely inspiring. I hadn't heard of Sir Ken talk before. It was only later that I found out that he is one of the most, probably the most, popular of the many brilliant TED speakers. I immediately downloaded his talks and started following him on Twitter. I felt that the Inspire Talks in the coming years would be nice but not as scintillating as Sir Ken's. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
This year’s speaker was Alain De Botton – a philosopher, novelist, social commentator. Amongst the various industry-related sessions, this was a truly refreshing one. It went beyond advertising and marketing, it was about life and how to lead a happy one. It would be unwise to try and distil the contents of his talk and reproduce them here because the magic of his talk was not just in the observations about life and his thoughts on them but the elegant and easy language in which he puts them across. They have to be heard from him alone. He makes philosophy sound as accessible and interesting as showbiz.
With oodles of wit and warmth, Alain touched upon a vast variety of subjects. On how there is so much for corporates to learn from the Catholic Church, and on snobbery and status consciousness in today’s environment. On the importance of failure for a creative person and even on how a skull on our tables can be a stimulating yet a pacifying and calming object.
Cannes is always an enriching experience but a session like this can be life-altering.
The author, Abhijit Avasthi, also known as Kinu, is the National Creative Director of Ogilvy India. As a Cannes delegate this year, Kinu was blogging on the session ‘Ogilvy & Inspire 2012 With Alain de Botton’