Cannes Unpacked

The insider’s view. Steve Latham

Issue 44 | September 2017

The future is in safe hands...

Since I joined the Festival in 2005, I have been fortunate to work with many amazing people. It never fails to astound me how willing they are to give up their time to teach/mentor/inspire next generation talent. I think many leaders in the creative industry have benefitted from mentors themselves. They know the hugely positive impact it had on their lives and they're keen to give back.

Talking to a classroom of 25 Young Lions, who are clearly smart, motivated and invested in the experience, can be so much more rewarding than presenting on the main stage.

The classroom is an opportunity to engage in a conversation that is inspiring for both sides. Seeing creative heroes such as Sir John Hegarty, Susan Credle or Rob Reilly the day after they have won three Grand Prix Lions, is priceless and it's part of the magic that makes my job so rewarding.

People come to Cannes to learn

As the 2017 Festival week unfolded, the Publicis announcement quickly became the hot topic of conversation.

As I scanned my Google Alerts, two themes really resonated: 'How do I reward my team's creativity?' and 'How can I motivate my team?'

This really struck me because it's a message I focus on when talking about the 'training' at Cannes Lions.

Since 2011, over 1,200 people have attended Cannes Lions specifically to learn.

Ex-industry leaders including Bob Isherwood, Jim Stengel and Keith Reinhard teach all week in a purpose built campus for 200 students including classrooms, a central stage, breakout areas, charging stations and a café.

Our partner Deloitte Digital provides well-being advice, daily snack-packs and water to keep everyone hydrated and ready to be inspired.

One of the takeaways from the Publicis statement was a focus on talent, specifically younger creatives and we're already working on some new initiatives that will put the spotlight firmly on the superstars of tomorrow.

This year I met so many inspiring young leaders, creatives, marketers, makers and shapers that I'm confident this industry has a great future.

Many of our students attended the Festival through University study-abroad programmes. The University of Florida extended their stay in France and used the time to visit agencies in Paris.

Making such introductions is something we as a Festival can do to provide extra value to the Festival experience.

The next generation of Lions winners

In this year's Young Creative Academy, Sara Bottani from Y&R Italy won 6 Lions, collecting a Mobile Gold Lions on stage for Chat Yourself.

468 competitors rose to the challenge in the Young Lions Competitions, having just 24hours to respond to the client's brief.

Last year's Film winners stopped by to say hello. Julien had totally changed in the 12 months since we'd seen him collect his gold medal on the main stage. His dream had been to live in New York and work for Droga5 and now he does, because he won in Cannes.

For me, these are the life changing stories that inspire me and the team and let us know the future is going to be okay.

We're a small community that operates in the background of the Festival but I hope to change that in 2018.

We are training and equipping the next generation of Lion winners, jury members and industry leaders. Who knows who we will see on stage in five years time or which creative partnerships forged in competition conditions will go on to found a new agency or launch a new platform.

The opportunities are limitless and I hope the Talent Heads and decision makers recognise this and use Cannes to reward, retain and train their best young stars.

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