Kath O'Shea at the Cannes Seminars

kathphoto2.jpgKath O'Shea, founding partner of O'Shea & O'Brian, Sydney offers her take on the Cannes Seminars running throughout the week.

Day 2 in Cannes at the respectable time of 1.00pm, I decided to see how the advertising community could change the world for the good of mankind. Big call given my colleagues would have been well into pre-lunch drinks on one of the most stunning days ever. However, a choice with no regrets.

The 'cry for help' - as delivered by Tom Scott, Director of Global Brand and Innovation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - was for our community of extraordinary thinkers help solve the world's most urgent global health and development problems. The goal of the Gates Foundation is to eradicate extreme world poverty by 2030 (as defined by living on US$1.25 per day or less). A short video highlighting some of the work conducted by the Gates Foundation ended with a very powerful statement: "The work we do is complicated, the reason we do it is not". Therein lies the challenge for the creative community... how on earth to start solving such complicated world problems, with all the barriers associated with doing so in developing countries? No small feat.
Nick Law, Global Chief Creative Officer, R/GA and member of the Cannes Chimera Mentor committee, joined the discussion to offer some suggestions. He talked behavioural change being a result of easy-to-understand ideas and ideas that were able to be executed, with the balance between simplicity and possibilities. Law stressed the need to create campaign ideas that lived within a system and a social network; ideas that weren't reliant on media spend alone, but would spread to create a sustainable network effect.

kathphoto.jpgTed Royer, Executive Creative Director, Droga 5, and also a member of the Cannes Chimera Mentor committee, joined the panel 10 minutes from the end, having come straight from the airport. Despite his short time on stage, he made his commitment to the Cannes Chimera very clear, stating, "this is the opportunity to make something great happen. It's an honour to be invited into board rooms to solve these types of problems. We owe it to the industry to create ideas that transcend day to day".

The Cannes Chimera is open to all. This year's specific brief can be found on www.canneschimera.com and submitted via a 2 page application form. The top 10 will be chosen, with their creators flown to Seattle courtesy of Cannes Lions, to workshop the ideas with the Cannes Chimera mentors (previous GP Lion winners, including Law and Royer). The best ideas are given a US$1,000,000 grant from the Gates Foundation. And of course, the very best idea will be awarded a Cannes Chimera Lion in 2014. 

Obviously, this brief is an opportunity for our community to make a huge impact on the lives of millions. It may also erode some of the negative perceptions still held strong about this industry we're in. I think it was only a month or two ago that I read a survey which had advertising people classified lower than used car salesmen and real estate agents in terms of integrity and respect. Well, if we have the vote of confidence - not to mention the financial commitment - from people like Bill and Melinda Gates, this is an extraordinary and well welcome shift. As quoted by Melinda Gates in the pre-recorded video, "Your idea could change the world".

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