I recently discovered the comfiest chairs in existence – as well as the relieving fact that I did indeed choose the right major. Both of these epiphanies occurred at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. If the classes I have taken regarding advertising and PR didn’t solidify my choice in major, being surrounded by industry leaders full of new, creative ideas surely did.
There was an enormous amount to do, see and learn everywhere in Cannes. From the talks hosted by unknown and household names – alike – to the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube beaches, the week passed me by quickly. However, some of my favorite moments were the least expected.
After sitting through a talk about Female Filmmakers with Gabourey Sidibe, Amy Emmerich, and Kevin Reilly, I was swayed to attend more talks without well-known companies and hosts. The topic of Filmmaking is not something I’m entirely interested in, but the chemistry each of them had when discussing equality in Hollywood caught my attention. Although I may never have a job involved in film, it expanded my view on how I consume media and television and broadened my knowledge. Not to mention, the importance of racial and gender equality in media was heavily discussed – which should be a concern of everyone who consumes media. Their instant rapport with one another during a usually controversial topic also displayed how difficult conversations can be had when each party is willing to listen.
he unexpected moments didn’t end there – I also found I learned a lot outside of the Palais, too. It was incredible to see the variety of people attending the festival from all over the world and from all age ranges and backgrounds. On one of the last few days, YouTube beach had a special event for Pride Month. Everything from the deck’s interior to the ice cream and cocktails to movies playing were Pride themed. There was also a dance lesson taught by a Drag Queen (which I sadly missed by 20 minutes) and a Drag Show. A small number of industries which celebrate diversity as openly as advertising does comes to my mind when I consider this past week. Although there is still heavy bias which needs to be surpassed, and surely advertising has been a contributing factor to stereotypes in the past and present, I could not help feeling as though the industry is taking steps forward (even if they are tiny steps) to improve discrimination and inequality in the world.
This extremely unique experience gave me so much insight to the world of creativity, as well as insight on my own aspirations. Although I didn’t miraculously meet a CEO of my favorite company or run into a celebrity, I truly believe I made the most out of my time in Cannes. The chance to broaden my mind and develop new perspectives was worthwhile.
By Maura Bayagich