First impressions in Cannes: blog

Patrick Weir, VP of creative at Fuse Marketing on the top takeaways from the start of the festival.

Patrick Weir, VP of creative at Fuse Marketing Group is in Cannes this year and has sent his thought through on the first days at the Palais through for MiC readers.

Thanks to a Gold at the National Advertising Awards this year, I landed in the south of France with a fresh mind willing to take in as much as possible; that fresh mind’s name was Jarrett McGibney, one of our Fuse Marketing Group copywriting interns. Yes, the VP Creative Director and the Intern took home the gold in the OOH category for Jell-O, and this finds us in the glow of southern France’s sunlight hanging out with the uber posh.

This is my first time at the Cannes Festival of Creativity and the scene is definitely different from some of the North American festivals and conferences I’ve attended like SXSW. The cargo shorts have been replaced with freshly pressed khakis and the shirts have collars. All the same, it’s full of thousands of people that care about, support and nourish the art of creativity and I love it.

Here are some quick, digestible and somewhat scary insights from my first sessions in Cannes.

The Forum portion at the Palais on Day One was dedicated to ‘Creative Talent’ and ways to inspire, motivate and help retain the best in creative talent out there. It was a big (and hot) topic with over 16 panels covering a full day. I was all over it.

Charles Day from Looking Glass, in the session called ‘Why Some Companies Are Winning The Talent Wars’; gave us a vision of the future with some amazing and inspiring statistics:

- The next generation will change careers (not jobs) 10 times before they are 40.
- About 65% of kids under the age of 14 will be in jobs that aren’t even invented yet.
- By 2030, more than 25% of companies on the S&P 500, haven’t been heard of yet.

Day also spoke to the evolution of our current knowledge economy to a creative-based economy. We’re in a world that needs original thinking to solve bigger problems than just advertising – we are talking about everything. He also briefly introduced a very interesting analytics tool called FORM (Focus, Organize, Recruit & Retain, Measure) that rates the best creative agencies.

In the same session, we also heard from Ben Bilboul who gave us a peek inside the walls of the agency Karmarama. I was inspired by their drive to nurture a creative, inspiring and forward-thinking atmosphere. Things like helping employees develop their own businesses (including a few mobile apps and a beer), a cool Innovation Lab called CRANK, and I’ll never forget the rainbow tunnel that leads into the agency to make it feel like you are going into something special; not just the same white walls we often see.  This tunnel is also known to randomly host 9:30 a.m. company wide sixty-second disco parties. Also loved their ‘No Wankers’ neon sign that supports their hiring goals. It’s no wonder that Karmarama is an award-winning agency that has been repeatedly voted as one of the UK’s best companies to work for.

The last and much anticipated session of day one was one from the CEO and founder of Big Spaceship Michael Lebowitz; called Kill The Creative Department. He spoke to the often talked about ‘silos’ and how breaking them down, leveraging any available skills and making great creative everyone’s responsibility. It’s not really about killing the creative department (trust me there were a lot of them in the room to make sure that wasn’t happening) it’s about killing the structure. I lean toward their hiring philosophy, “If you’re not creative, you can’t work at Big Spaceship.” Things have changed, it is no longer about repeatable outcome; the creative assembly line is dead and what has been done is no longer good enough.

Throughout the day, we heard one overarching theme – “People have changed.” The Millennials are no longer driven by money or careers, but instead by contributing to society and leaving the world a better place. They are makers, they are generous, they are entrepreneurs and everyone has a creative spirit inside them. It’s an exciting time to be in this business.

Top Used Terms: Idea economy, makers, culture matters, millennials and game changer.