Hear from Havas Group’s Chief Communications & CSR Officer Lorella Gessa as she discusses the Havas Café’s 16th year, her perspective on creativity, and what people can expect from the Café after a two-year absence.
Finish this sentence: Creativity is …like a lighthouse. As Stéphane Xiberras use to say, creativity is a beacon in the night. It tells us where to look, shows us our direction, and gives us meaning. It is creativity that makes us notice a particular message, and it is creativity that will illuminate that message, make it stand out, and make it shine.
You started the Havas Café 16 years ago. How did the idea to create a space for Havas Group on the Croisette come about?
People from our group come from all over the world to attend Cannes Lions – it’s by far the most prestigious international creative gathering in the world. I thought it was important for the Havas family to have a “home” in Cannes for our global teams to network, share ideas, host clients, welcome journalists and get inspired by the quality of the content we offer. We’ve grown from being a first-of-its-kind activation to an established brand and home at the festival. I’m very proud of what we have achieved over the years.
Tell us a little about the Café’s new design and the philosophy behind it?
The Cannes Lions festival itself is set to have a heavy focus on sustainability with key speakers in the field and a dedicated sustainability agenda. The Havas Café will be entirely eco-designed as well – both to compliment this focus and highlight the group’s overall commitment to sustainability, and more specifically to the environment, year-round.
The Café will be assembled with low carbon emission materials that will be re-used after the event. Its carbon impact throughout the week will be calculated and compensated for – after we calculate the emissions, we’ll work with the mission-driven company PUR Project to donate the equivalent amount of funds to conservation efforts around land restoration and sustainable agriculture. In line with our Havas Positive Impact programme, the Havas Café will host special activations, panels, and events to discuss everything from greenwashing and social impact to climate change with Nobel Prize winner Wolfgang Cramer. This year, the Havas Café’s theme is “The Place to B,” celebrating the fact that Havas London, Havas Lemz in Amsterdam, Havas Malaysia, and Havas New York are all B Corp certified, and that some of our agencies in France and Spain are currently in the process of being certified.
After a two year absence due to the global pandemic, what can people expect at the Café this year?
While it remains the same hub for creativity that it has always been, you can definitely expect a renewed focus on sustainability this year and a number of new and innovative activations.
I’m so excited to say that we’re introducing our first-ever live interactive art experience “Face Our Waste” with artist Dario Tironi – he’ll be building sculptures out of trash from all over Cannes during the week, encouraging people to donate to NaturDive, an ambitious citizen project for the preservation of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean.
We’re also exploring the metaverse this year – both how it is perceived by consumers as well as how to take advantage of it for good. We’re also covering other hot topics such as brand purpose and health & wellness in activations at the Café, and hosting a series of podcasts centered around meaningful media with Havas Media Group – and of course, we’ll have our legendary party with KPCK on Thursday.
How can people follow along with what’s happening at the Café this year?
We make it very easy to follow along with what’s happening at the Café, so don’t worry about missing any of the excitement even if you aren’t there in person.
First, our dedicated Newsroom team will be sharing content in Dare! Online all week about the awards, activations, and events that make our Café so dynamic, so stay tuned for our daily newsletters throughout the week.
Second, you can follow along on our dedicated social channels to see what’s going on in real time. Check out the below for more – we can’t wait for the week ahead!
And if you’re in Cannes, don’t hesitate to stop by and say hello!