Claire Davidson on the Cannes Lions Festival seminars: Day 5 on how to retain and rebuild a creative culture + Monica Lewinsky's love life

Claire Davidson Pic_cannes.jpgClaire 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 5 of the Festival.

Thursday, June 25, 2015
The hallways of the Palais Des Festivals were a little empty first thing this morning, which is not surprising after all of the official parties really kicked off last night.  It seems that every single Cannes Lions delegate was out in force at events ranging from the Finnish Sauna Party, the Location Guide / PSN Soiree, the Rushes Party, the Facebook Awards, the Swedish Pool Party, the Pitstop Party and of course the culmination of the massive massive Massive Music / Media Monks extravaganza.  I hate to think how much rose was drunk by all last night.  Happily, we all woke up giggling with our smart phones reading about the couple caught on camera having an amorous romp on our very own red carpet the Palais Des Festivals at 4.30am this morning.
CannesRedCarpet.jpgToday was Creative Talent Day in the forum room.  I caught "Retaining Young Creative Talent With Purpose, Technology and Dragons" brought to us by Chris Pearce, Joint CEO of TMW Unlimited and Natalie Price, Creative Production Assistant of TMW Unlimited.

Great people are the one thing that an agency's success relies upon. Gen Y now officially outnumbers Gen X in the work force.  They make up 44% of it and are statistically between the ages of 18 to 34.  The needs and attitudes of these people cannot be ignored.  They must be nurtured.  They have very itchy feet compared to other generations.  Is it due to money, power, status or even wanting to go somewhere else where an office might have an enticing hot tub?  It's most likely that they want to build their own thing, working on products and services that people actually want to adopt, and using today's technologies to do so.  They want to express themselves.

Is the chance to do the best creative work of your life enough?

People need an environment to work in where they feel safe and can take risks.  They need to feel they can grow.  They want their opinions to be listened to and matter.  An agency needs to give its staff a sense of purpose.  It improves morale.  People want to feel valued. There's more to work than work.  There's life.

We heard today about Project Iliad, which is helping provide solutions to this problem.  Project Iliad has been set up to allow entrepreneurs to pitch their tech based ideas, which will secure financial investment and agency backing. Price showcased her low-cost technology product that assists carers to look after patients with dementia.  We also looked at ideas from It's Complicated, Chit Chat, Immersive in Train Experience and Magic Touch.

Price left us with the following takeouts:

~ The idea is just the beginning.  Put passion and energy into the idea.

~ You need everyone to believe in your idea.  It's a team effort.

~ Don't waste your time trying to find solutions to problems that don't exist.

Claire_Cannes5_L1000646.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000650.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000647.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000636.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000638.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000654.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000675.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000670.jpgThe idea is just the very beginning.  Protect and nurture embryonic ideas.  Sir John Hegarty believes we're all artists, but only some of us should exhibit.  With innovation Pearce believes that it's slightly different.  When it comes to raw product and genuine ideas, they can come from anywhere.  Innovation is also a remix.  It doesn't have to be something completely new.

I next checked out observations by Bobby Hershfield, Partner & Chief Creative Officer at SS+K "Making Work Better:  Lessons from Leap - Account to Creative".  Hershfield started his career in account service where he spent eight years working, but yearning to jump the fence to the creative department.  When he plucked up the courage and approached Dan Wieden about it, his reply was 'Why would I take a great account guy and make him a mediocre creative?'

We heard today what Hershfield learnt on his path, actually accomplishing his dream, and becoming a very well awarded creative to boot.  He told us to be bold.  Have the heart to go for it.  Dream big.  A key for Hershfield was to maintain the integrities of both the account service and creative disciplines.  They must be interrelated and interspersed.  Working hard equates to great work.  Great work matters.  Make it everything.  If you are part of a team, be part of a team. His big ta da was perspective.  Stand behind the work as well as in front of it.  Have a point of view.  Make the work personal.  Make it have value to you.  Embrace the process to create work.  Don't say 'can't' or 'no'.  Get excited about hard challenges.  Allow for accidents and every once in a while be unrealistic and illogical.  Focus on the work.  Give everyone a role in creativity.  Give everyone a voice.  Give everyone a part of your success.  Stay curious.  Be focused.  Be sympathetic.

Next up was "How To Rebuild A Creative Culture When Everything's Fucked" with Al Mosely, President and Chief Creative Officer of 180 Amsterdam.  Mosely joined 180 Amsterdam in July 2010.  A week later Holland played Spain in the World Cup Final and lost.  On the same day 180 Amsterdam lost their Adidas client, which was the agency's founding and biggest client.

Mosely today talked to us about rebuilding.  You have to believe in yourself when no one believes in you any more and everyone starts to question you.  Some of the greatest people in history have been struck with disaster but they always come back with belief.  Take Mohamed Ali.  Have power to silence your doubters and have emotional intensity.

Remember why you are here.  180 Amsterdam was founded on a quote by Francis Ford Coppola, "Whenever you get into trouble keep going.  Do a 180 degree turn.  Turn the situation halfway around.  Don't look for the secure solution.  Don't pull back from the passion.  Turn it on full force". The powerful spirit fuels everything.  Raise the bar.  Have self belief amongst the chaos.

You need to downsize in the right way.  You don't want to lose the talent and the people driving the work forward.  Rethink the way you work.  What 180 Amsterdam did was to behave like a start up.  Start ups have energy.  They want to work.  They went from hierarchy to flat.  They made everyone equal and responsible for the company.  They went from 160 employees to 50 leaders.  So empower everybody and give them a reason for wanting to be there.  Listen to everybody.  Give them a voice.  Ricardo Semler, DCEO of Semco Partners believes 'if we do not let people do things the way they do, we will never know what they are capable of and they will just follow our boarding school rules'.

Work in a collaborative way.  180 Amsterdam needed to keep the right people in the room.  We are greater than the sum of our parts.  Elon Musk tells us 'if you're trying to create a company it's like baking a cake.  You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion'.

Hold your line. If you are good at something keep going.  For 180 Amsterdam it means to create cultural value for brands with global impact.  Walt Disney said 'do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends'.  People need to do what they do well.

The same challengers are there on the way back up.  It's about always making sure you have the right people.  Grow properly and in a good way.  Find the right clients to drive your business forward.

Mosely left us with the following final advice:

~  Keep in mind why we exist.

~  Empower people to grow.

~  Keep the right people in the room.

~  Let them do what they do well.

~  Go where you can win.

Monica.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000665.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000652.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000659.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000667.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000677.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000673.jpgClaire_Cannes5_L1000672.jpgToday's Ogilvy & Inspire lecture was with Social Activist, Writer and Public Speaker, Monica Lewinsky.  Monica was joined on stage with Tham Khai Meng, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, of Ogilvy & Mather.

In the 90's we all knew Monica Lewinsky's face.  The person behind the face wasn't so well known.  She became patient number one of viral online shaming.  The internet allows hate to be unlimited.  The audience has the power.  The phenomenon of online shaming is growing and growing.  It's terrifying and it's killing people.

Lewinsky has shown amazing courage, bravery and compassion in getting her message out.  The haters in this world make the biggest noise, but they are outnumbered by the good people.

If you were a brand, what brand would you be?  Lewinsky was asked this in a job interview a few years ago.  When you're Monica Lewinsky that's a loaded question.  We're familiar with what it means to nurture, grow and shape a brand.  We also know what it's like to experience a brand crisis.  When that brand is you personally - you name, your likeness, your values, your soul - and you experience a brand crisis it can be terrifying.  Lewinsky was publically silent for a decade due to her own brand crisis.  Only recently has she spoken out publically.

At the age of 22 Lewinsky fell in love with her boss and at the age of 24 she learnt the devastating consequences of that mistake.  We all make mistakes that we regret.  She fell in love with the wrong person.  Lewinsky became caught in a political, legal and media maelstrom.  In 1998 her story broke online, where news for the first time was seen with the click of the button.  She was publically humiliated worldwide.  She lost her reputation on a global scale.  There was the real Monica, and then there became the publically known Monica, who was branded and constructed with a little fact and a lot of fiction.

When this happened 17 years ago there was no name for it.  Today it is called cyber bulling and online harassment.  Lewinsky lost her reputation and her dignity.  She almost lost her life.  The landscape now has become populated with instances like Lewinsky's.  Today people often learn of people's sufferings when it is too late.  Lewinsky was fortunate enough to have the exceptionally strong support of her family and close friends to get her through her dark days.  Others are not so fortunate.

Bullying has been found to be more damaging the child abuse. From 2012 to 2103 there was an 87% increase in calls related in cyber bullying.  Humiliation is a more intensely felt emotion than either happiness or anger.  Cruelty is nothing new, but the shift in the degree of cruelty at these online levels is staggering.  It's loud.  It's public.  It's global.

Think before you think out loud and online.  Online the more shame, the more clicks.  The more clicks, the more advertising dollars.  We are helping to drive this.  We need to bring about social responsibility.  Also the more we click to this type of gossip the more numb we get to this type of suffering.  We co-create content by our clicking behavior.  Clicking is a public act, and Lewinsky believes a moral one too.  Humiliation is a symptom of the culture we have created.

Having your narrative stolen can be devastating.  Changing this behavior and this culture begins with evolving our beliefs.  Lewinsky believes we need a revolution.  We need to return to a value of compassion and empathy.  There is power in small numbers.  Be an up-stander, and not a by-stander.  Use positive comments.  Support organisations that support these issues.  We have a responsibility to freedom of expression.  Speak with intention, not attention.  Showing empathy online shows examples to others.  Click with comparison.

Lewinsky reassures anyone suffering from cyber bullying and online harassment that they can survive it.  You can insist on a different ending to your story.  Have comparison.  Compassion can radiate positively.  Compassion can reduce the shame of public humiliation.  We need to build a more compassionate society.  If people are compassionate, brands will be compassionate too.  We can learn from our mistakes and be more resilient.

Every one of us at Cannes this week is a creative engine driving forward our culture.  Lewinsky asked us to help her.  With that we all stood and gave Monica a very long and very strong standing ovation.  This is a great opportunity for us to stand up and fight for this cause.

We've seen plenty of buzz generated this week around the first Lions Innovation.  Taking place across today and tomorrow and situated in the Rotonde Lerins (next door to the Palais Des Festivals), Lions Innovation is a celebration of all things pioneering; dedicated to a fusion of data, technology and ideas - all sitting pretty under the Cannes Lions umbrella theme of Creativity.

Previously recognized within the festival in the form of Innovation Lions, the eruption of platforms and content - along with the accompanying consumer engagement and industry insights - have demanded the category be promoted to a stand alone event; thus Lions Innovation's debut this year.

Our organisers here are touting it as a 'two day exploration of the newest forces enhancing and enabling creativity, and dramatically reshaping the communications landscape - data and technology.'  Comprising a dynamic speaker programme, product demonstrations and hands-on experiences, the object of the game is to ignite ideas and kickstart the partnerships that could bring them to life.  Trailblazers in creativity, marketing, technology and data will be thrown in a room with some of the most exciting start-ups from around the world; all learning from and presenting not only to each other but also to global brand and agency leaders.  The Chemistry of Creativity will be charging the atmosphere and inspiring all who attend.

Part think tank, part show & tell, part live experiment and with a healthy dose of crystal ball gazing into the future, the inauguration of Innovation Lions also sees an awards ceremony and sparkling new Creative Data Lions up for grabs.

Fire up your devices and get online (or find some tinfoil and get your robot suit on) the future is here and exciting times are ahead.

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

1 Comments

Claire fan said:

Looking good Claire!

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