Peter Mears, Global CEO, Havas Media Group, is missing the buzz in the Palais this year, but says Cannes Lions remains an outstanding resource for our wider Group.
Here, Peter explores some of the most dominant trends running throughout the awards categories and explains the importance of Cannes and its connection to our industry.
How does this year’s festival measure up to your previous experiences at Cannes?
I think the Cannes Lions organisers have done an incredible job in replicating the experience as best they can. There has been a lot of engaging programming developed throughout the festival and the Havas Group is doing an amazing job in sharing our experiences as broadly and widely as we can. At the same time, there is an energy about the physical festival that is difficult to recreate. I love Zoom and Teams like everyone else, but it’s not the same as an in-person live event in the South of France. We’re making the best of the hand that we’ve been dealt but certainly I’m looking forward to next year when we’re really back in Cannes!
What are three things you’ll miss the most about the festival?
The first thing I’ll be missing is the Havas Café! I love that place and everything we do there. I have many, many happy memories of being there. I think the excitement of being at the Palais as the winners are announced is incredible and I will miss the buzz that’s generated from celebrating our wins together. Of course, not having that opportunity to connect in-person with my colleagues at Havas, my friends from outside our network and our clients is something that I will really miss as well.
It’s been a successful festival for Havas with 33 Lions so far this week, can you tell us about some of the work featured from the media side?
In the spirit of purpose-driven work, I have to mention the work for Moen, the leader in water experiences in the home. Havas Chicago used an innovative approach to help address this huge environmental challenge – auctioning off five NFTs of artwork inspired by the five major ocean gyres located across the globe as part of its Mission Moen sustainability commitment. The ocean-plastic initiative adds to the first commitment of Mission Moen, which is a promise to use Moen’s products and innovations to save 1 trillion gallons of water over the next 10 years.
I also loved the Finish Water Index for our client Reckitt. The teams created a brand-new index based on the amount of useable water. Our team in Istanbul set out to show people that there is a limited amount of water to draw attention to Turkey’s problems and to invite people to save water. With the help of well-respected Turkish Industrial Development Bank (TSKB) they created an index which shows the value of water. The index is calculated by measuring the occupancy rate at dams, consumption in agriculture, industry, and household. The data collected is then turned into a value between 70 and 130. 70 is the drought level and 130 is the abundance of water. So, as the index shifts, it’s one way to understand the value of water in a measurable way. This work actually won the Mx Grand Prix Award which we just announced last week, so fingers crossed it cleans up at Cannes.
Which trends have been dominating at Cannes?
Trends we are seeing are centred around brands with purpose, and I would expect that brands that are really dialed into meaningfulness for more than one reason will dominate. Particularly, over the last 12 months, work that was created in 2020 no doubt had hurdles to navigate, with many brands doing their part to leverage resources or reinvest budgets to ensure they were supporting our global health crisis. And I think this “trend” is a really wonderful thing that hopefully will stick. Even though the festival has the Sustainable Development Goal Lion and Glass Lion categories now, more and more work rooted in purpose has been winning across various categories which is an excellent signal that brands are dialing up the notch on meaningful work.
Why is the festival so important to our industry?
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is just that – a celebration of creativity across the globe. And in turn, an opportunity to get reenergised and inspired for what we do at Havas Media Group. We sometimes need reminding that, at its core, this is a creative business. The Cannes Lions offer an outstanding resource that bears tremendous equity, reminding us of what ultimately binds us all together. That’s as important today as it always has been. It’s critical that we continually help one another stretch our creative muscles, setting new standards in our collective pursuit of meaningful work. And having a week on the calendar where we celebrate the pureness of our industry is just awesome.