Moments of the Sublime: Cannes Lions 2015



Given the numerous sessions to learn from and the extraordinary breadth of work to take in, it’s impossible for one person to fully capture the experience of Cannes Lions. But here are ten things that truly resonated with me amidst the cacophony:

  1. Jamie Oliver railing passionately against the obesity epidemic in both the UK and the US, and calling upon private industry to address it: “Digital is critical for helping people lead healthier more productive lives.” Regarding the lack of governmental intervention, he said, “In Britain, there are standards for dog food, but not for kids’ food.”
  1. Diana Nyad speaking about her repeated attempts—which were separated by a 30-year interval—and ultimate success at swimming from Cuba to Key West: “Be the person willing to fail yet dream again, who refuses to let this wild, precious life slip quietly by.”
  1. Maria Bello proclaiming her love for another woman as the US Supreme Court instituted same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, and discussing the labels that we give ourselves and that others give us: “Think of all the labels associated with you and get rid of the ones that don’t make you feel empowered.”
  1. 72andSunny on building and cultivating a creative culture: “Work for the outcome, not the ego. Work and thrive in groups.”
  1. Diageo CMO, Syl Saller, on creating brands with cultural vibrancy: “If you go for scale without culture, you have presence that is not felt.”
  1. David Shing, digital prophet at AOL, rapid-fire referencing everything from “Life Paint” to “I Will What I Want” to Marshall McLuhan—visionary philosopher of communication theory whose expression, “medium is now the message,” is now transforming the communications industry. “To be remarkable,” Shing said, “you need to be real.”
  1. SoundCloud—in recognition of its headquarters’ site in the former “death strip” between East and West Berlin—leveraging audio to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in “The Berlin Wall of Sound.”
  1. 360i on leading in a rapidly evolving world and “blowing shit up” through #weighthis—the Lean Cuisine campaign that fires directly at a long-held Weight Watchers’ tradition by profiling women who have achieved personal goals of far more “weight” than what can be measured on a scale.
  1. Sir Martin Sorrell and Al Gore facing off for a lively debate—ranging from 2016 presidential predictions (Sorrell named Clinton, Gore demurred) to taking decisive steps to curb global warming—during which plenty of punches were thrown and Gore landed the hilarious line: “The US Senate: Where good ideas go to die.”
  1. Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners trading quips like Click and Clack from Car Talk as they spoke about their failures and successes (for example, the parody of Steve Jobs for Honda Dealers of Northern California) and what warrants display on the big screen of the Grand Audi. This year’s spot celebrated the 25th anniversary of Adobe Photoshop: “Dream On.”

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