A few words about Purpose and Cannes

I was invited to speak last week at two Creaddicted Cannes screening events in the Suisse-Romand region about the power of the Cannes International Festival. Here is the (edited) text of what I spoke about:

Cannes has transformed itself from being all about agency people self congratulating and slapping each other on the shoulder to being the world’s foremost international conference about the power of creativity.

In a way, Cannes has become the Davos of the idea.

This is simply because the world is waking up to the power of creativity.

In a world where every manufactured item has become a commodity, the most valuable thing that sets apart one brand from another is an idea.

Ideas give products a purpose.

When we give ideas purpose, a brand can organise itself around that purpose. It has implications, not just for marketing and communications, but also R&D, distribution and sales.

That is the power of creativity. The power of a single idea to transform a business.

In today’s world everything can be copied. Everything can be made cheaper.

The only thing that can’t be replicated is the source of creativity and the understanding of how to apply it to the challenges of the time.

The rise of the value of the idea has meant an increase in focus on Cannes.

Today, the Cannes week is a conference where the worlds leading thinkers in professional creativity get together, hold workshops, host round tables and where every one inspires each other to reach higher levels of greatness.

Some of the world’s biggest and most valuable brands come there to talk about innovation and show their latest products.

As for the awards, every year tens of thousands of pieces are entered. In each category less than a hundred will be short listed. So, to be listed is an amazing achievement. To win a medal is truly a global achievement. To win gold or a grand price is the pinnacle of creative honor.

But perhaps the power of the idea and the power of the Cannes Lion Festival is this – that on a cold autumn night, hundreds of people like you and me will come and sit in a cinema to watch an hour’s worth of ADVERTISING. Yes, the thing that is designed to interrupt your entertainment can become entertaining.

Thank you for your time.


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