As Cannes Lion comes to a close for another year, we look back at highlights from the closing days on the festival.
Prominent economist Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, brought her own experience to the matter of gender bias: “Clients assumed that I was there to serve coffee. It took the strength and decency of my partner to say ‘she’s not bringing coffee she’s drafting contracts.’ Things have changed, but it’s still the case in many professions that women are not given the same platform, the same access, the same chances to achieve. It’s a waste.”
At the Why Independence is the Key to Creativity session, Lee Daniels, director of Monster’s Ball and Precious talked about the necessary skills to make the most of an independent creative career, if that’s your chosen path: “You have to understand the human condition, and then be fearless to talk about it and be fearless to do it. I’ve always gone with my heart.”
Meanwhile, The Lumiere Theatre played host to this year’s Cannes Debate, featuring Sir Martin Sorrell, Robert Kraft and Ron Howard. An academy award winner for Apollo 13, had just been unveiled as the man behind the camera for the new Star Wars’ Han Solo film. He discussed his career and the attitude he takes to every project: “Every one of these projects we’ve ever done is always entrepreneurial, every one of these projects is a startup, every movie, every documentary, every pilot or series is a startup.”
The final day of the festival opened on the Debussy theatre with attendees queuing to hear the personal stories from those who believed in Coleman F. Sweeney, ‘The World’s Biggest Asshole’, and turned a PSA for Donate Life into a viral hit that lured elusive millennial males to sign up in droves and save lives.
Guests David Fleming, President and CEO of Donate Life America, Joe Alexander, Chief Creative Officer at The Martin Agency, and filmmakers, Will Speck and Josh Gordon, joined a panel moderated by Jenny Rooney, Editor of the CMO Network, Forbes.
After showing the audience the Coleman Sweeney film, which was met with great applause, David revealed the frustrations that drove the development of the ad: that there are millions of people currently waiting for organ tissue in the US, just to allow them to lead a normal life.
“It’s a frustrating thing for people that get paid to do this,” he said. “It’s the frustration of having a vision of what could be to what is. I’ve been doing this for 19 years – casting a broad net hoping to catch [people].” He added that they found young people, particularly young men were the lowest rate of donors despite them tending to be ideal organ donors.”
As the session came to an end, Jenny asked Joe what is next having had this experience and success, in which he responded:
“The question is always at back of your head at Cannes: once you’ve had success you wonder if you’ll be back here and be lucky enough to make it back on stage, and I think that’s our challenge,” he said. “What David has done for organ donation through this particular PSA is ‘mark of the year’ kind of stuff because it’s really saving people’s life and there’s no bigger reward than that.”
One of the last sessions on the final day of the festival was a rather quick 15 minute talk in the Debussy Theatre with Michelle Morgan, Co-founder of Livity, a youth led creative network bringing brands and young people together, for the better.
Michelle shared what happened when she burnt out at the end of 2016 after spending 15 years building her youth agency, and how frightening that felt, how numb life became and how lost she felt. She explained how, by putting together – somewhat slowly and painfully – her own plan of recovery based on digging deep to rediscover her creativity.