Winter 2020 | Volume 01


Written by Ross Weaver,
Art Director, 180 Kingsday

I believe I was lucky enough to have one of the most unique perspectives on Cannes Lions. Being a part of the Creative Academy allowed me to get up close and personal with some of the best and most inspiring people in our industry. And, equally importantly, to be surrounded by like-minded young creatives who were eager to learn from the best.

At the end of the week-long programme, we all headed back to our different corners of the world to create great work. Having the chance to meet this community of future leaders was a real insight into the work that we can expect to see in coming years.

Towards responsible consumption and purpose-driven work

One topic that was discussed at length in the classroom, on stage and on the beach was the need for sustainable, purpose-driven work. The way people consume today is vastly different from before. Conscious consumers are on the rise, with increased conversation around the climate crisis helping to begin shift behaviour.

The world is looking to brands to be more proactive in shaping a sustainable way of living. Today's transparency-focused society can spot a fake, and we all need brands to be able to take action instead of simply talking the talk.

Brands taking accountability

I had many conversations about how existing brands are adapting and new brands are emerging, the meteoric rise of plant-based options like Oatly, and supermarkets ditching palm oil products and single-use plastics.

It led us to ask the question: ‘Whose job is it to make the first move towards big sustainable change?’. The outcome seemed to be that implementing solutions ultimately depends on the brands themselves moving towards sustainable products and production.

But finding those solutions doesn’t have to rest solely on their shoulders. Finding solutions is what we creatives do best.

There were many problem-solving ideas at Cannes Lions that had us excited and envious, and left us with the thought: ‘I’m so glad this has been made!’. It seemed that I and most of my peers gravitated towards the campaigns that had a purposeful motive and outcome.

Ogilvy’s Vice Chairman, Rory Sutherland, said that “Good is the Digital of 15 years ago”. It stuck with me. While ‘Digital’ was once something new, it is now a part of everything we do. It’s ingrained in the way we work, communicate and consume.

Perhaps, in another 15 years, ‘Good’ will be just as ingrained.

Profit versus purpose

We had lots of lengthy discussions around how we can get the green light on more green ideas and they all ended with the conclusion that one of the biggest challenges we face is closing the gap between purpose and profit.

If we don’t look at the two as being mutually exclusive (and instead look at how a purpose-driven idea can also be profitable) we can see how our industry can positively impact the problem. It’s important that we create more work that does the job and does good.

The Creative Academy was a refreshing week that left me hopeful that the future generation of the industry is committed to protecting our collective future. This industry is seen by many as a tool for good.

If we keep moving in the direction of smart, sustainable ideas that make long term changes for a better world, then the work we’ll see at Cannes Lions in coming years will only be more inspiring and rewarding for everyone.