Claire Davidson on the Cannes Lions Festival seminars: Day 6 dates with Al Gore, Sir Martin Sorrell, Piyush Pandey and Amir Kassaei

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Claire Davidson is back in Cannes taking in the seminars and reporting for Campaign Brief Asia. Here's her round up of the speaker sessions on Day 6 of the Festival.

Friday, June 26, 2015
This morning I caught "The Cannes Debate:  Sir Martin Sorrell In A Conversation with Al Gore".  Sir Martin Sorrell is the Founder and CEO of WPP and Al Gore as we all know is a Former US Vice President and president of the Climate Reality Project.

The discussion this morning centred on the role of communications in political and environmental campaigning.  Gore talked to us about Live Earth: Road to Paris. In November the world leaders will meet in Paris to determine the future of our planet. They want to unite a billion voices to deliver one single message: TAKE CLIMATE ACTION NOW. They want zero global warming pollution and they want zero extreme poverty.  This year standards will be tabled and applied to ALL countries around the world. The single message to the world leaders will be it's our planet and our voice must be heard. So sign up at
Gore also spoke about The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization devoted to solving the climate crisis.  We can help power the revolution for climate action.  The Climate Reality Project tells us to get smart, get loud and get active.  There are practical solutions right in front of us.  The mission of the company is to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society. How to do it:

AlGore_FD22761.jpgAlGore2_RB1_0206.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000696.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000698.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000697.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000688.jpg1.    Create a critical mass of activists who transform the politics of the climate crisis.
2.    Build momentum and support for a global commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
3.    Accelerate the switch to a low-carbon economy.

As Gore informs the world of the dangers posed by climate change, the internet age has changed things to a point that individuals now have a voice.  He has asked each and every one of us to please help. The climate crisis is real.  We can't sit back.  We can get ahead of our governments to promote ideas.  We can stimulate change in this crisis and look at solutions for change.  We can provide a leadership role to bring together others, support these issues and bring traction.

Ideas and opinions need to matter, so that it's not just big money driving decisions.  The governments around the world need to be informed by their citizens.  It needs to be a collective drive.  The internet and social media helps to allow this.  Let's make it an industry effort.

"Good At Your Job?  Stop Doing It For Someone Else" was brought to us by Scot Keith, Founder, President and CEO of One Twenty Three West and Bryan Collins, Founder and Creative Director of One Twenty Three West.  Keith and Collins today gave us advice on how to start our own agencies.  One Twenty Three West is already one of the top ten agencies in Canada, after only opening its doors two years ago.

Making that first leap could be scary, so we have to be bold.  We have to create the company that we've always dreamed to work at. Ask yourself 'is it time'? It is time if:

1.  You've realized that the people who hired you are the problem.

2. You hate everyone, even the nice people.

3.  Your company says it's all about the work, but you know it's all about the money.

4.  You spend more time in meetings and dealing with internal politics rather than doing the work.

5.  You're not doing the work that made you great.

6.  You're focused but your agency isn't.

7.  Your holding company chairman made $67 million in bonuses and you haven't had a raise in two years.

8. You're not learning anymore.

9. You realize it's easier to start something new rather than fix something old.

10. You need a new mountain to climb.

Build the Team. Work with people who are extremely talented. Your team is all that matters.  It will affect everything that you do.  Treat your staff well.  Make sure your team members all have the same core beliefs.  Be aligned.  Create a partnership of people that respect each other and genuinely like each other.  Having partners allows you to share the load and add to the story.

Have five boring employees:  a chief financial officer, a lawyer, an accountant (the boringest of the Boring 5), a banker, and an insurance broker.

Build your own brand. Be clear about the way you want to work. Ask yourself why does the world need another company like yours?  Look outside the industry, at companies doing innovative things to set themselves apart.  Find yourself a space free from predators.  Your story matters.  Position yourself properly.  Keep your talent high and your overheads low.  Integrate everything.  Press is your agency's best friend.  Press is free and it's 1000 times better than any ad.  Make press a key priority.

Set goals.  Have a plan for everything.  Include happiness goals.  Include creative goals.  Include revenue goals - a base goal, a target goal and a stretch goal.  Include press goals.  Focus on what you're good at.  And have fun.  Don't ignore your ambition.  Just go for it.

I next caught the "Why Rewind To Refresh" Master Class with Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and National Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, India.

In 2014, June 21st - the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere - was declared the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly.  "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. This tradition is 5000 years old. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise, but rather discovering the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day." - Narendra Modi, UN General Assembly
When we breathe in slowly, we breathe in the present.  When we hold that breath, in the oxygen travels around our body and our brain. When we breathe out it's a combination of the new and the old.  No matter how much knowledge is available to us on the internet, we have to step out and feel it.  We have to breathe in and breathe out.  There ideas all around us, in front of us.  Stories are hiding everywhere.

Claire_CannesDay6_L1000723.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000717.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000691.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000699.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000716.jpgClaire_CannesDay6_L1000704.jpgPandey today showed us examples of some of India's best advertising campaigns, where ideas have come from feeling; ranging from transport brands to food brands to gender bias to transgenders.  Unless you watch things, things won't happen.  Observe.  Steal and create your ideas from life.

"Do This Or Die".  This was the seminar brought to us by Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide.  It's a very important period in our industry right now.  Everything is changing.  Everything is being driven forward at a very fast pace by innovative technology and data.  Marketers and clients are confused about the race against time that they can't win because everything is moving with such speed.

We've lost our connection with the real world.  We're living in a bubble.  Is what we see in our advertising today relevant to real life?  Are we just fooling ourselves?  The answer is yes.  We are losing the true essence of what we are doing.  Remember our real values, our real purpose and our real reason of existence.  People aren't interested in advertising or brands.  They are interested in what's relevant and what adds value to their lives.  We've lost our focus with real people.

We believe, in our advertising arrogance, that what we are doing for people is important. What we should be doing is providing relevance for people that is better and more efficient.  It needs to be about truth. Remember the reason why you love what you do. The purpose isn't about winning an award.  Everyone in the Palais Des Festival remained VERY VERY quiet upon hearing this news.  Reorder the order.  Use your creativity and experience with technology as a tool.  Connect products and services to people.  Get the right recognition, which is much more important.  So it's not all about shiny gold lions after all...?

Kassaei believes we have to start now, as the latest moment, to re-navigate.  We need to sit down and reflect on what the true purpose of our industry is.  We have to guide our clients, not confuse or bullshit them.  We are not smarter than our clients.  We need to have, and can have passion, dedication and talent to change the world for the better.  Advertising used to have an impact on society.  People looked at what they were doing that was relevant and valuable.  It was meaningful.  Stop.  Refocus.  Get rid of your phony ideas.  It's not about views, or clicks or likes.  Collectively we can make the world a little bit better. Use your talent to change things to a better mould. Be honest to yourself.  Respect people.  Create influence by being relevant.  Or die.

Heavy words indeed.

So, those of us ever-desperate to cleanse ourselves of any AdLand induced, wicked consumerism variety karma accumulated throughout the year are invited to discover the ACT Responsible 'Great Ads for Good Causes' exhibition at the Hall Riviera this week.

With keywords ALERT, RESPECT, COMMIT and TAKE ACTION, 86 agencies from 33 countries have submitted brand new and innovative work for NGO's, associations and corporations working to make the world a better place.

It's the 15th year ACT (Advertising Community Together) Responsible has taken place in the festival, sharing its mission to inspire, promote and federate our industry around social responsibility, sustainable development and good practice.  Events and exhibitions such as this one feature unique and qualified advertising campaigns gathered from around the globe that demonstrate the power of advertising when it addresses social or environmental issues.

Just quietly, it's pretty impressive how much impact we can have if we use our powers for good instead of evil, and this show gives us the rare opportunity to high five the angel on our shoulder, hooray!

Voting is available online or by ballot box on location, with the winners being announced later today at the Cannes ACT Tributes Ceremony.

Because we all like to feel a bit wholesome now and then.

Claire Davidson, Managing Director & Executive Producer - ASIA + MENA @ The Sweet Shop, reporting for Campaign Brief Asia at Cannes Lions 2015.

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