How Cannes Lions Roar showed us how we can raise the bar of creativity in Pakistan.
The Jang Media Group, the official representative of Cannes Lions in Pakistan, organised Cannes Lions Roar on April 11 in Karachi at the Marriot. This was a one-day packed event which included See it Be it, an award winning exhibition, the Young Marketers competition as well as several workshops on how to win a Lion. The event was free to attend but required pre-registration. Let’s look at each segment.
See It Be It. In 2013 Cannes Lions started See it Be it, a career acceleration programme aimed at women in the creative industry. Every year, women from all over the globe apply to be a part of this life altering programme and only 15 are selected. I was the first Pakistani woman to attend in 2017 and this year the talented Hira Mohibullah, CD, BBDO Pakistan has been selected. See It Be It is all about showing women that leadership is possible and their personal and professional challenges are not very different from those other women all over the world face. The underlying notion is about lessons, mentorship and sisterhood; when women SEE IT, they can BE IT.
The speaker line-up for See it Be it Karachi was awe inspiring to say the least. Drama writer Asma Nabeel bravely shared photos of her worst moments as she courageously fought cancer and spoke of how pain gave her purpose; Beenish Umer Adil spoke about how courage is not a choice; Shannon Crowe, the eighth most awarded copywriter in the world, flew in from Melbourne to speak. Mariam Ali Baig, editor Aurora, spoke about her challenges and how she learnt to turn small nods into big yeses from managements and teams. There were panel discussions, a keynote conversation between Dr Zeelaf Munir, CEO, EBM and Seema Jaffer, CEO, Bond Advertising. There was inspiration, courage and overall there was honesty in admitting to having faced up to challenges and problems. These lessons were relevant to both the men and women who want to make a career in advertising.
Workshops. The workshops focused on how to win a Lion. These were unique as everyone wants to win a Lion but not everyone knows how. Who better to lead this than the fantastic multi award winner Ali Rez, RCD BBDO Impact. Rez walked everyone through the process of how to create award winning work and the need to plan, persevere and persuade others to raise the bar of creativity. The hall was packed to hear Rez as he showed us the ropes of how to win 300+ awards.
The Young Marketers Competition. The Young Marketers Competition started a day before. Pakistan Advertisers’ Society (PAS) took the lead in organising this with the Jang Media Group. The rules involved having a team of two people develop a creative a brief for a charity with the winning team given an all-expense paid trip to Cannes Lions and represent Pakistan on the global stage. The jury comprised clients and agencies. On April 11, the jury had to miss the main Roar event in order to pick the winning entry, which was Team HBL. The jury was blown away by the work, effort and presentation entered by Wajiha Arshad, Brand Manager, Corporate Brand, International & Research and Lynette Rodrigues, Brand Manager, Product Marketing. They will both be on their way to Cannes soon. Make Pakistan proud girls!
Awarded Work. Every year on average 30,000 entries make their way into Cannes Lions. The award-winning work is in the Cannes Lions archive and costs about 5000 Euros to view. On Roar this viewing was free to all who attended. As Rez said in his workshop, learning from award-winning work is a way to train yourself, to think awards and hopefully win them. This exhibition was on display the whole day.
In conclusion, Cannes Lions Roar was an excellent day to celebrate creativity and learn how we can all come together and raise the bar of creativity in Pakistan. It’s not only the agencies that are responsible, clients are too, and they are hardly exposed to such platforms.
The more we See it, more we will Be it.
Atiya Zaidi is ECD, JWT Grey.