Former Vice-President of the USA Al Gore has just been on the main stage talking about climate change with Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP. He talked about Pakistan, where people this week have been dying from sunstroke.
Climate change is for real, he told the audience. He also suggested that many of the people here in Cannes this week are the people who can help accelerate change. People who have ideas, who understand communications and who can help persuade the nay-sayers to get out of the way or admit they are wrong. His message was to encourage marketing-driven companies and their agencies to get behind sustainability in both word and deed.
And also to thank WPP for its “Why? Why Not?” campaign.
Created by GPY&R Australia, this asked children to speak up. The videos they uploaded were edited into a film, which opened the United Nations climate change summit and was seen by 164 world leaders. The idea was shortlisted in Direct but has won no Lions.
|.Martin Sorell, CEO, WPP, speaks at a conference.|
In essence, what Al Gore is talking about is behaviour change. Getting Governments to invest more in solar photovoltaic energy; getting companies to see that sustainable business practices will create sustainable profits; getting individuals to understand that the people who claim climate change is all baloney are either mad or bad or both.
So it makes sense for him to be here, plugging his Climate Reality Project, given advertising is now the business of behaviour change.
He’s selling a better world.
But a lot of people are here who sell soap powder.
And therein lies one of the contradictions of Cannes. It has moved from being a festival of advertising to a festival of creativity. What that means is that it’s increasingly hard for a good old-fashioned ad to win.
Look at the Media Lions. Of the 10 Golds awarded, seven were for NGOs, one was for P&G’s #likeagirl and only Ogilvy Frankfurt’s “Rabbit Race” for Media Markt was trying to sell product.
It seems the easiest way to win is to be worthy.
Take #likeagirl. It is winning big time, including the Grand Prix in PR.
Other multiple gongs across Direct, Promo, Cyber, PR and Media have been going to similarly feel good campaigns such as “Nazis against Nazis” from Grabarz + Partner, “Groceries not Guns” from Grey Canada for Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense and “The Ice Bucket Challenge” for and by the ALS Association.
Elsewhere, “Touch the Pickle” became the first-ever Grand Prix winner in the new Glass Lions category. Created by BBDO India for P&G’s femcare brand Whisper, the film set out to negate the taboo around menstruation. During their periods, it is believed that women become unclean. Just touching a jar of pickles will rot the pickles inside, hence the invitation to women to “touch the pickle jar”.
One of the big stories of the week has been that top ad executives have (shock horror) been forced to take the bus to and from the airport. The taxi drivers are on strike, demanding that the French Government ban Uber, an app that connects you to a car and its driver. This too is a clash of cultures. Between those who embrace change and those who resist it.
Back to Al Gore, then, who reminded us that “the Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones.”