FRIDAY 17 JUN 2016 3:13 PM


On 18 June, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity - the annual festival celebrating brand innovation and communications - begins. Andrew Ferguson, creative director at Ketchum, offers his perspective on why storytelling and creating engaging content is one of the most important discussions to be had.

In 1998, at the age of 18, I bought a copy of the Stooges’ self-titled debut album.

Like all great albums it moved me in both familiar and new ways. It proposed new ideas, shifting my views on music and crystallizing some of them at the same time – rules were broken and created. New benchmarks were set.

Despite seeing Iggy on stage a few times and the multitude of excellent speakers at Cannes, I feel the excitement of my 18-year-old self when confronted with the prospect of hearing him talk – about creativity, disruption, innovation and possibly even mortality.

There’s no shortage of heroes playing this festival – curious individuals who make great things about, for and with people. As a public relations professional, I’m looking forward to being inspired by people telling stories about people.

There seems to be a rich seam of punks that have become the establishment talking at Cannes. Anthony Bourdain will explain what it takes to tell meaningful stories across the full, visceral spectrum of emotion. Spike Jonze and Shane Smith will explain how to make content that young people care about.

So if the future is rebellion, as Amani AL-Khatahbeh plans to discuss, does it also mean that the past is rebellion too?

Under Armour founder, Kevin Plank will talk about the human spirit with collaborator David Droga. Together they’ve made some of the most inspiring short-form spots of recent years. Even hearing actor Chris Pine talk about the trials and tribulations of bringing a sci-fi folk hero to life in the 21st century is of interest – James T. Kirk was about nothing if not indomitable will.

It seems Cannes is a place for heroism. But it won’t be all idle romance about folk heroes and the punk-spirit. There’s work to be done.

Importantly, Ketchum is lead sponsor of the Young Marketers Awards. Those shortlisted are the CMOs and CEOs of the future. Embracing the new opinions and approaches that come through here is integral to ensuring that the future continues to be rebellion and that rules can continue to be broken and created at the same time.

By Andrew Ferguson, creative director, Ketchum PR