Cannes initiatives reinforce the need to open the industry to everyone

Clockwise from top left:  Antonio Lucio, Chloe Gottlieb, Michael Roth, Marc Pritchard, Marco Lambertini, Tarana Burke, Stephen Plumlee, Danielle Lee

Clockwise from top left: Antonio Lucio, Chloe Gottlieb, Michael Roth, Marc Pritchard, Marco Lambertini, Tarana Burke, Stephen Plumlee, Danielle Lee


Industries, organisations and companies around the world are waking up to the need for meaningful change in areas such as gender equality, diversity and sustainable development.

And at the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, established and new initiatives are both reflecting and  proactively working towards these changes.

The Glass Lion: The Lions For Change launched in 2015, to recognise creative work that challenges ender bias and shatters the stereotypical images of men and women that remain rooted in marketing messages.

In a similar vein, 2014 saw the launch of See It Be It, an accelerator programme designed to shine a light on the issue of gender imbalance at senior levels and galvanise the industry into action. This year, See It Be It has been expanded and sees Spotify join as official partner.

Spotify’s Danielle Lee, vice-president, global head of partner solutions and Jackie Jantos, vice-president, brand and creative at Spotify, will this year be involved with See It Be It on site and throughout a year-long programme of events. “The creative community is only as effective as the talent it employs,” Lee said. “As the world becomes more diverse and multifaceted, it is imperative that creative talent reflects the world we live in.”

“See It Be It provides an opportunity to change the ratio of female creative directors, which currently stands at 11%,”  executive See It Be It lead for Cannes Lions, Louise Benson, said. “We’ve seen that the best way for change to occur is to take action and over the past four years we’ve had involvement from some incredible partners.”

Chloe Gottlieb, executive vice-president, chief creative officer, R/GA is 2018 See It Be It ambassador and will lead this year’s selected women through a tailored programme of executive training, exclusive networking opportunities and a dedicated mentorship scheme. Alongside Chloe, Madonna Badger, chief officer, Badger & Winters, is this year’s See It Be It chair who will act as a guide and advocate for three years.

Another important development at Cannes Lions in the area of gender equality will be R/GA and Cannes Lions’ Fourth Annual Start-up Academy at Cannes Lions Innovation, which this year will focus entirely on female founders across the global startup ecosystem. Stephen Plumlee, global chief operating officer of R/GA and managing partner of R/GA Venture, said: “Female entrepreneurs represent a significant and often untapped opportunity for brands looking to push their businesses forward. The Academy promises to be beneficial to both corporates and founders: providing industry leaders with access to emerging technologies, business models, and market opportunities.”

Cannes Lions’ support for diversity-based schemes is not limited to gender initiatives. New this year is #MoreLikeMe, a pilot mentoring programme designed to build and strengthen diverse creative talent. Supported by HP, the programme builds on HP’s marketing diversity scorecard which is used to support its agencies in their journey of encouraging more diverse creative talent and teams.

The programme will see 15 ethnically diverse rising stars attend Cannes Lions for an immersive experience including mentoring, networking and curated programming. Following the festival, participants will join a series of events and training sessions led by industry leaders to ensure they can become voices for change. “Businesses powered by diversity can deliver transformative results,” said Antonio Lucio, chief marketing and communications officer, HP Inc. “By partnering with our agencies to identify and elevate today’s diverse rising stars, we can reinvent the creative industry to better reflect the communities we serve.”

Cannes Lions has also been a pioneer in the broader quest for positive change in the creative industry, through initiatives such as the Grand Prix For Good. Another new development in this arena will be 2018’s Change For Good Hackathon on June 19/20. Together with Amazon, Huge and advocacy platform Global Citizen, Cannes Lions will invite teams to join forces and build solutions that will further six Global Citizen campaigns, including: No Poverty, Food & Hunger, Health, Education, Gender Equality and Clean Water & Sanitation. Ascential Events CEO and chairman-elect of Cannes Lions Philip Thomas, said the initiative “encapsulates the spirit of the festival — bringing together creative experts from across our industry to innovate as a force for good — that’s the kind of creative magic that happens at Cannes Lions.”

Michael Koziol, global CEO of Huge, added: “The culture of Huge is built around enabling positive change, and we are excited to bring our proven Hackathon framework to Cannes Lions and apply our expertise, along with the talents of some of the world’s most creative teams, to advance global social good using Amazon’s powerful technologies.”
The 2018 festival will also see the 16th ACT Responsible exhibition. Opening Monday 22 June at 10:00, the event will showcase 81 of the most innovative ideas that 72 agencies from 30 countries have created in support of good causes, responsible behaviour and sustainable development. ACT Responsible is also launching Champions Of Good, an annual tribute celebrating the talented people behind the work. “This is not an award. There is no competition and there is no winner,” said Hervé de Clerck, ACT Responsible dream Leader. “The goal of this tribute is to acknowledge those champions, highlight clever and creative programmes, share best practices and inspire others.” The inaugural ACT Champions Of Good Tribute will be presented to: Tarana Burke, founder of the #metoo movement; Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International; Michael Roth, chairman & CEO of Interpublic; and Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, P&G.
In addition, there are 24 sessions within the Good track at the 2018 Cannes Lions. On Monday June 18 at 10.00, the UNHCR will host a panel entitled Searching For Syria, Using Technology For Good. Diageo will host How To Develop More Gender Inclusive Creative? and there will be a Young Lions Meet Up based around the theme Goodvertising – Connect With the New Generation. Among diversity-themed workshops is Walk In Another’s Shoes To Tackle Subconscious Bias, presented by Rewind (Friday June 22, 11.00).


Harriet Palmer