Cannes Lions Live Day 3: Adlanders address barriers of diversity

Racial justice, community-focused branded entertainment and gender stereotypes formed core themes of discussion on day 3

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Jun 25, 2020 8:40 AM

For a while now, there has been chatter about the advertising industry should be better in terms of eliminating barriers that are blocking diversity. That's why on day 3 of Lions Live, the spotlight was on conversations like racial justice, community-focused branded entertainment and eliminating gender stereotypes. The day kick-started with Richard Curtis Writer, Director, Co-Founder of Red Nose Day and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate alongside some activist friends discussing the racial justice crisis. The panel discussed how over the recent months, we have experienced an emergency like no other alongside the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It went on to expound on how this crisis shows us that the system we have created is deeply flawed and that without systemic change, there will be more crises and upheavals. To create a just, healthy and stable world, we all need to act, it concluded. 

Another interesting session had Tony Parisi, Global Head of AR/VR Ad Innovation, Unity Technologies unravelling how creative storytelling and immersive media are opening massive possibilities for marketing and brands across entertainment, events, retail, fashion, e-commerce and more. Parisi deliberated on digital advertising enabling a whole new scale of consumer messaging, but how creative storytelling has unfortunately taken a backseat. He argued, however, that there’s an exciting counter-revolution underway, powered by technologies like real-time 3D, AR and VR. 

Every year at Cannes Lions, each Jury President is asked to put together a 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 Creative Effectiveness Lions, Pernod Ricard's Ann Mukherjee to share what that briefing looks like and how the category is set to evolve in response to changes in the wider world at present. Ann shed some light on the new trends she's keeping an eye on. She also looked back at some of the award-winners that moved the industry forward, helping set the standards of exceptional creativity that the Creative Effectiveness Lions demand today. 

Featuring never-before-seen footage of LGBTQ+ icons Angelica Ross (Pose) and Lucy Lawless (Xena Warrior Princess) from the Shaftesbury documentary film, Queering the Script, next up was Shaftesbury sharing lessons learned on creating community-focused branded entertainment. The session shared insights on industry best practices and why it is important to create content for niche audiences, specifically, during this time of social isolation and said that brands have an opportunity to support and authentically engage with underrepresented communities by powering the content and digital spaces that allow these communities to connect and thrive. 

Moreover, Jean-Remy von Matt, co-founder of Jung von Matt, spoke about an unexpected shift: Why people act, buy and even vote ever more emotionally and what this means for brands, products, services and their communication. He showed viewers how a congenial partnership of technology and creativity can make the difference and what EMOMENTUM stands for. 

One of the most awaited sessions of the day was Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G speaking about how the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism have revealed the deep cracks of systemic inequality that remain in our society, and have brought clarity to what matters. 

Pritchard said that the role of brands and companies in the world has been forever disrupted, making it inescapably clear they have a responsibility to lead change. His session covered lessons he learned over the past several months about how brands and companies can step up to use creativity as a force for good. 

The day’s CMOs in the Spotlight session featured Tamara Rogers, Global Chief Marketing Officer, GSK Consumer Healthcare, talking about managing remote leadership in lockdown and whether the world of marketing will really change forever. Furthermore, Diageo’s Andrew Geoghegan and Grainne Wafer shed light on how gender-balanced creative teams are the exception, not the rule. The duo spoke of how there are too few women in creative leadership roles. They shared lessons on how we can do more to combat harmful stereotypes in our ads. 

To be sure, events such as the global pandemic have had a monumental impact on the industry and the world at large. The next session was about how there has never been a more urgent 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 in a conversation discussed the ways that creativity and technology are intersecting to bring about change. They also discussed why it's crucial to arm the next generation with technology and resources to educate and inspire them to take action. 

Meanwhile, Richard Edelman, Edelman’s CEO and Conny Braams, CDMO of Unilever discussed how brands must respond effectively to the new needs of today’s consumer. They shared a perspective on COVID and post COVID consumer expectations, how trusted brands can better understand how and where they have a license to act. They shared some of their favourite examples of brands already embracing this new and heightened level of consumer expectation.  

Gaming has seen a phenomenal increase since the world went into lockdown. Valerie Madon, CCO, VMLY&R Asia and Rey Tiempo, CCO, VMLY&R Philippines discussed what makes gaming so special and where the advertising opportunity lies today. On the awards front, Wieden + Kennedy took home the Regional Agency of the Decade for North America and Dentsu Aegis Network Tokyo clinched the Regional Agency of the Decade for Asia award.

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