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Terry Savage: What Cannes should and shouldn’t be
I’m often asked how the Cannes Lions festival will be different this year. My response is that in many ways the festival will remain the same, because creativity, learning and inspiration remain at its heart. World-class work will continue to be at the centre, as we celebrate and honour creativity through the Lions awards, while ensuring that inspirational networking opportunities are truly valuable for all attendees.
The logistics may have changed. We have reduced the number of days the festival runs, from eight to five. We have also transformed the awards structure, focusing the Lions and the content on the stages into nine comprehensive tracks. But what we stand for and what we believe in is exactly the same as it has always been: creativity as a positive force for business, for change and for good in the world.
I hear comments that we have become too big and too inclusive of all industry sectors. But the fact is, the creative landscape is evolving. Cannes Lions always does and always will respond to reflect changes in the industry. This is at the centre of what we do: opening the hearts and minds of the global industry to recognise the opportunities that abound.
In 2018, the reality is that creativity is coming from everywhere, as it should. And as a champion of creativity, the festival believes that brands and agencies should drive creative thinking into every part of their business, cross-fertilising with diverse disciplines, from data to tech.
This is also where the real opportunities lie. The festival provides a global platform for a community of people from many different sectors and geographical locations to come together, to deepen relationships and partnerships and build the foundations and culture to enable creativity to flourish.
I also hear comments that Cannes Lions is not what it was. That is correct, it has changed and so it should. I remember my first trip to the festival in 1986 with much anticipation, only to discover no seminars, limited categories and one award ceremony. Frankly, it was unfulfilling. It was certainly not the world-class, dynamic event that it is today.
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Technology has changed the world and it will continue to do so, in ways we can only imagine. Innovations in data, VR, AI and new technologies are transforming the way businesses work. As a truly global festival that embraces diverse sectors, we are in a very privileged place. We can campaign for the power of creativity across every touchpoint of the industry and encourage and enable collaboration.
A bad book is a bad book and you stop reading. A bad film is a bad film and you stop watching. You know the next line…
Cannes Lions is so unique because it offers many choices and routes through the festival experience. You can choose how often you work and how often you play, when and how to be inspired by the work, the conversations and the people. You can decide how much time to spend at parties, at networking sessions, or inside talks and workshops being inspired by the greatest minds on the planet. And you can pick the experiences to take away and take back to your colleagues and businesses.
The festival is a global meeting place, where you can witness the changing industry landscape, where you will come together with a community of people from over 100 countries, who bring diverse skillsets and experiences to share. At Cannes Lions you can witness and be part of the changing landscape. This will enable our industry to adapt and remain at the forefront of culture, innovation and ideas.
I say, come to Cannes Lions. See everything you can on stage, see as much work as you can, go to the award ceremonies and then come back and inspire all of those around and share the many opportunities that creativity brings to the world we live in.
Creativity, across all sectors, is stronger now that it has ever been. How privileged we are to work in the world of creativity and to be able to come together at the Festival, as an industry from all corners of the globe. We hope to see you there.
Terry Savage is the chairman of Cannes Lions. He will step down, after 33 years leading the festival, following this year’s edition.