THURSDAY 21 JUN 2018 8:00 PM


This year’s Cannes Lions opened with high of 30 degrees, and the sense of expectation creeping over the beach front’s historic promenade. Bigger than ever, the annual festival of creativity is set to cover branding, communications and advertising in a style unique to the iconic French coastline. Communicate magazine, with the ICCO, is working to bring readers daily updates about the public relations representation at the 65th festival of creativity.

The penultimate day at Cannes Lions 2018 was for partnerships, with all manner of activities happening across Palais I and Palais II, as well as in the cabanas and across the Cannes Lions beach. With the benefits of effective public relations espoused throughout the week, Thursday celebrated collaborations between agencies, creatives, brands and organisations before culminating in a long-anticipated awards ceremony at the Lumiere Theatre.

A highlight was global confectionary brand Mars choosing Thursday to launch its latest campaign in partnership with the United Nations Development Fund (UNDF) and Fitch. While 20% of adverts show an animal of some description, a shocking 90% of all animals shown are listed as endangered. With the landmark ‘the Lion’s Share’ partnerships, Mars and UNDF hope to highlight its commitment to animal welfare while continuing to drive its purpose-driven strategy.

“Wildlife and their habitats are in crisis right now. We’re losing species at an unprecedented rate, estimated to be 1,000 times the natural extinction rate,” says UNDP administrator, Achim Steiner. “The Lion’s Share is an idea that is as innovative as it is simple, and which will make a real impact on the future of animals, their habitats and our planet.”

Mars global chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke says, “The Lion’s Share is exactly the sort of ambitious initiative we need to take in order to ensure we foster a healthy planet on which everyone – including animals – can thrive. For Mars, it’s another step in living the commitments of our ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ plan.”

Aligning goals to partnership strategies was also the theme for an afternoon talk hosted by Visa. Hosted by Adrian Farina, senior vice president of marketing in Europe for Visa, the quick-fire session discussed how the global financial services firm is pairing influencer marketing and key global sporting events to define it brands message and achieve cut through. Speaking about the London Olympics 2012 and the Sotchi Winter Olympics 2014, Farina says, “[Visa] wanted to drive the emotional side of brand equity and we’ve been effective in this objective. [We] decided to use [the Olympics] as a platform to strengthen our core equity – that visa is a built under the notion of universal acceptance.”

“We needed an effective use of platform to drive this idea and being tied into a contextually relevant backstory really helps,” says Farina.

Another important highlight came in the form of a panel discussion, held by Lions Entertainment, on the issue of diversity in filmmaking. ‘Action! Diversity in filmmaking: Beyond empowerment to execution’ was hosted by global telecommunications company AT&T and struck a chord with its parting gambit, said by Matt Castellanos. “It’s Cannes 2018. If we get to Cannes 2022, four years from now, and we still need to talk about diversity in filmmaking, we fucked up a little bit, right?”

And this sentiment set the tone for the preceding talk, which discussed the importance of strong mentors and mentor programmes to enable those from underrepresented groups to work and succeed in the creative industries. AT&T is leading the way in creating relevant partnerships for such individuals through its mentor programme, which gives five young filmmakers the chance to make their own films. “Voices are fresh, young and unique, and appeal to AT&T’s customers, which is amazing,” says Valerie Vargas, senior vice president for advertising and creative services in the AT&T Mobility and Entertainment Group. Corroborated by actor, producer and screenwriter Lena Waithe, the success of the drive and partnerships formed by AT&T in helping diversify a traditionally fairly staid industry was clear to see.

“I’m a firm believer in mentorship,” says Waithe. “It allows people’s individual voices to shine through. But you also have to be driven, and resourceful, and have good taste in what you want to achieve.”

Published in association with the ICCO

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