IPG Mediabrands Heads to Cannes 2018

July 19, 2018 | Share this article

The Cannes Chronicles 2018 by Shara Brown in UM

The week in Cannes included an itinerary packed with talks and networking breakfasts at the IPG Mediabrands villa along the promenade. The main talks that stood out throughout the week were focused around the hot topic of diversity in the industry, which many of the sessions at Cannes featured.

It was extremely useful to attend sessions at the IPG Mediabrands villa such as the NBC ‘leading with impact’ breakfast and the 7th annual IPG Women’s breakfast, dedicated to this theme. The main outtake was uncovering the role that language and visual imagery played in perpetuating and shaping stereotypes in society. More so in advertising than films. George Orwell famously said that clichéd language leads to clichéd thinking. It’s the same for images, as we process them quicker than the written word.

The diversity theme was everywhere at Cannes with the consensus that advertisers must ensure that the images and language we use, portray diversity in a positive light. In general, women are typically coached to be more masculine and uphold male qualities to excel, but there’s no reason why “female” qualities (eg. compassion and empathy) and “male” qualities (eg. strong and decisive) can’t be gender-neutral and eradicate any negative connotations affixed to either gender. Interestingly, research found that when 30% of a company’s C-suite are women, this delivered 6% more profit across 90+ countries. During a panel discussion, Erica Schmidt, Global Cadreon CEO, rightly declared that it’s important to think about diversity beyond just gender or race, but also think about disability and change people’s perceptions.


The week is also awash with the subject of AI. Debates were featured either on the beach, or overlooking the majestic sea at the infamous Eden Rock Hotel and Restaurant. Our lovely client, The Economist, hosted daily ‘wake up with the Economist’ sessions, which provided the most thought-provoking discussions on AI. As the advertising world have seemingly funded and engineered the multiple messages that come through technology, it was agreed that it’s important to employ AI to empower, rather than invade, people’s lives. This was particularly evident in the seminar ‘Androids, AI and the future of human creativity’, where the Japanese scientist, Professor Ishiguro, introduced the audience to his android TV host Totto – a robotic doppelgänger of a famous Japanese TV host, who was able to continue hosting her show in AI form!

On the last night the sky was ablaze with fireworks marking the finale of the 64th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and a sea of people clutching onto their gold-faced lion trophies. I already can’t wait until next year!