Cannes Lions International Festival kicks off

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Report of Day One and Two by Sithum Walter, Leo Burnett Solutions Inc, from the 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2014 Our first day at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world’s largest advertising festival, exceeded all expectations. The Leo Burnett team from Sri Lanka includes Ranil, Marsh, Matt, Shayani and I.  Our team left to Cannes on Friday night, with the biggest delegation to ever attend the festival from Sri Lanka. Nine Young Lions representing the country, including Shayani and I are competing in the Film, Design & Print Young Lions categories, the Young Marketers competition and at the Roger Hatchuel Academy. We also have the most number of entries from Sri Lanka at the festival this year, made collectively by Leo Burnett, TBWA/TAL, Saatchi & Saatchi and Mindshare. We arrived on Saturday morning, a day before the festival began and although we were jet-lagged, we could not miss out on the opportunity to hit the shops. Marsh and I both fell in love with a gorgeous black Harley Davidson motorcycle. I wondered who would look the coolest riding down Duplication Road on that. We ended our first day with a hearty meal with the team. On Sunday, we registered ourselves bright and early along with the other teams. We were lucky to beat the queues when we got there. Although it is a little intimidating mixing with the biggest creative audience in the world, with 12,000 people from 94 different countries, the best words to describe the emotions I am feeling is ‘’intoxicating’ and ‘exhilarating’. This year saw a record of 37,427 entries within 17 categories submitted to the 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. So far 27 entries from Asia made the cut in the Direct category at the festival. A new category this year is the Product Design Category, which recognises work in brand communications. Lions Health, the new global annual awards for creative excellence in healthcare communications also took place last night. From over 1,400 entries, the jury gave a total of 55 awards, with Dentsu Nagoya, Japan, taking home the first ever Health & Wellness Grand Prix for their entry ‘Mother Book’. We were all so happy to say that out of the two special awards given, Leo Burnett was awarded the Lions Health Network of the Year. One of the most memorable sessions we attended on the first day of the festival was a lecture by David Hasselhoff called “Relevance and The Hoff”, which couldn’t have kick started the week any better. The Hoff, as he is often called, discussed relevance and creativity as well as the importance of incorporating new media with old media to gain more relevance through digital media. The Hoff shared a personal secret with us, showing us the bracelet he wears daily with ‘See it, Believe it, Live it’, engraved on it. He explained, “You create what you want in life. You have to do it. You must do it yourself and you cannot take no for an answer.” Later on in the evening we visited the infamous Gutter Bar. The place was absolutely packed with creative minds eating, drinking and celebrating and we were able to mingle with other industry professionals from different agencies. Although we ended Sunday night quite late, we started Monday bright and early! The day began with a seminar by Future Brand and Solar Impulse titled ‘How Creativity Can Create a Better Future’. The session was conducted by the creators of the world’s first solar powered flight. They advised that you don’t have to look for new solutions; you just have to kill the things that stop you from trying new things. Another session which was really interesting was ‘Music for Millennials’ by Spotify which explained that marketing is about reaching people at the right moment. The example they used was Nike, a brand which can inspire you when you’re ready to go for a run. The session further reiterated how Spotify keeps the inspiration of the moment going by providing a playlist at the right time. Later in the afternoon we took part in our first workshop titled ‘North Alliance: How to Bring Your Other Ideas to Reality: A Start Up School for Advertising People’. The workshop was led by Tyler Crowley and Ted Persson who gave us insights on how to get going on ideas and how to pitch to investors. We only had 30 minutes to come up with an idea which we then had to pitch live and get live feedback on in return. With hands-on advice from the instructors I’m sure our creative work will benefit in the future. Our team was very happy to be shortlisted in the Media Lions category for the ‘Use of Integrated Media’ for our Mosquito Repellent Newspaper. So far we are the only Sri Lankan agency to be shortlisted and we have our fingers crossed for a win.  We ended Monday night at the Cannes Connect Bar. Having drinks and relaxing was the best way to meet people from around the world. I am so happy to be given this great networking opportunity. This week will be made up of lectures, speakers, forums, tech talks, master classes and workshops. There are over 300 speakers and over 200 sessions, which I know will be nothing short of inspirational.  Last year the Cannes Lions team introduced the online viewing of one seminar a day for the public, each seminar was decided on following an online vote and the most popular seminar each day was screened. Today (Tuesday 17 June) you can watch ‘PHD: Mind Trip – A complete Reboot of the Way We See the World’ at 6:30 p.m. local time. The seminar is expected to not just offer a fresh perspective on things but provide a complete paradigm reboot to shake up your mind-set and ultimately open the doors to more creative thinking. Cannes is so beautiful and we have had a fantastic time at the festival so far. We will be updating you on our experiences at Cannes each day and we’ll be including important announcements of all finalists and winners in our updates.