It all comes down to the idea: Cannes blog

Ody Giroux_Carat_Cannes 2014

Ody Giroux is the president of Carat Montreal and attended the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity last week. She summarizes her week in France with the insight that all her favourite presentations came down to the idea.

By Ody Giroux

Where do ideas come from?

Whether we’re talking about a good idea for dinner, a good idea for a weekend getaway, or even for a movie to rent, an idea forms the basis of everything we do. When you have a good idea, you know you’re going to have a great day. You put it on paper and never forget it. Ideas come to us in bits and pieces, one at a time. And when you take a look at those fragments of ideas from every angle, they become a big idea, one that will either spread around the world, or lead to failure and rejection – in which case it will demand that you try it from a different angle that could very well lead to winning a Lion in Cannes.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a terrific opportunity to recharge our creative batteries. Each year, specific themes become the “next big thing” to watch out for. Last year on the red carpet, it was all about content and social media. In 2014, neuromarketing, mobility and creativity were all the rage – while still, of course, leaving room for content.

And yet, every keynote speaker, or at least those I met, used the word idea. It remains the focal point, the concept that unites us all, and a more important keyword than creativity. Because, as we all know, there can’t be any creativity without first having an idea.

While we control our ideas and our time, we are not the only ones who can judge whether the work we do is good or bad. It’s really the consumer who makes the call as to whether the idea we had has any value.

We must reboot our way of thinking and the way we see the world around us, a world that keeps expecting fresh, new ideas.

It’s really up to every ad creator – and media creator, of course – to open his or her mind and try something new.

Indeed, what does “innovation” mean if not trying to find the next revolutionary idea?

And so, after attending all those conferences, the one common thread remains… an idea.

Throughout the week, guest speakers talked about boldness, flexibility and authenticity as being allies of the big brands.

Melisa Goldie, head of creation at Calvin Klein, spelled out her approach to find ideas, which she says is based on the four enduring truths of: seek simplicity, dance with controversy, increase tension and embrace cultures.

When the ad campaign for Calvin Klein jeans featuring Brooke Shields was launched 34 years ago, those four truths drove its creation, as did the ad campaign that launched Kate Moss’ career. These truths also formed the basis of a great idea. It is not easy to accomplish great work.

Ironically, dancing with controversy through its ad campaigns is what allowed Calvin Klein to truly connect with its customers. Controversy breeds ideas. It means that you are modern-thinking and that you remain current with the times and that you care. Controversy also means that you are open-minded and that you have opinions. Opinions that bring about ideas.

We can all be creators of ideas. Passion, altruism and inspiration only last so long, and so we all need to refocus our minds and visualize things in a way that is different from what we usually see. We need to open our eyes and be more receptive to new ideas.

Dan Lin, producer of The Lego Movie, believed in his bold idea. This film clearly demonstrated that advertising is art. Behind every creation is a person, and behind that person is an idea.

Futurist and techno-philosopher Jason Silva pushes the limits of imagination and believes that ideas originate from the way the world is changing, and that those changes open the doors to endless possibilities. He delves in various areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and extended consciousness. For me, Jason Silva’s presentation was a highlight of Cannes this year. He gave us a whole new perspective on ideas. He completely redefined the paradigm and opened the doors to a more creative way of thinking. His philosophy is quite simple: reprogram the way you see the world.

Did you feel a certain tension after reading the word “idea” more than 25 times? Congratulations! You’ve passed the test!

Congratulations to all Canadian winners in 2014. You make us proud. Also, kudos to all future ideas that will lead us to win even more Lions in Cannes next year!

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