Divergent Perspectives from Cannes: First Impressions on Diversity

Cannes: A Diversity Snapshot
By Torre Gentile

My first day of the Cannes Festival of Creativity was overwhelming in every sense of the word! After a hectic trip from Nice to Cannes, I spent a good portion of my afternoon finding calm and soaking up all the vastly diverse work being presented at the Palais.

When looking at the entries through the lens of diversity and inclusion, there are certain themes that one comes to expect brands to activate around. I came in knowing I would find important work that empowers women, bridges generations, provides a platform for LGBT pride, celebrates African-American and Hispanic cultures and, more generally speaking, includes a vast range of cultural and ethnic representation.

In general, some brands authentically integrate minorities, while other brands seem to do so as an afterthought (click to tweet). Fortunately, at Cannes there are many examples of authentic integration that can be used to reach ALL consumers. Some highlights so far include Tata Tea’s “The Power of 49,” which aims to ignite the woman voter base of India (India) and Diageo’s “Black Is Not A Color,” an African campaign that celebrates black culture and represents the best of the continent.

One example of inclusion I was pleasantly surprised to see was an Emirates NBD “Perspectives Art” activation (UAE) that set out to raise support for children with disabilities. By highlighting the children’s talents versus their differences, they were able to turn artistic abilities into funding for special needs education. It was a brilliant example of inclusion by a brand that changes perceptions of what it means to have special needs.

It was only Day One and I already felt inspired by the diversity of the work. Looking forward to what the rest of the week brings! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @TorreGentile.


Exibiting the commercial Pulse of today
Yasmine Cortes

What’s behind? The Power of new connections
Taking a closer look at the cases Torre highlighted, I found myself viewing it not only through the lens of diversity and inclusion, but also in its approach to creating awareness. Here are some of the trends I noticed.

Unite the people
The campaigns from Emirates NbD, Tata Global and Diageo managed to connect and unite people that may not have been seen before as a single group. A key to their success is that they were not built around the brands’ strength, benefits, USPs, you name it, but around the deepest human feelings and desires: attitude, strength, pride and, especially, self-reliance. By forging these connections with individuals, these campaigns put a spirit of a newly (re-)united power at the core of their approach to awareness.


Don’t just tell – do!
Taking a closer look at the creative execution of these ideas, it’s interesting that all three campaigns managed to utilize some sort of crowd-sourced product or a mutual event. Another interesting observation for storytellers: The story of a group of people can be just as strong as the story of an individual. The result is that the theme of unity is reflected by the execution as well as the idea.

A cultural mirror
Taking a look at the creative work that has been submitted to Cannes makes you feel like you’re entering MoMA, the Louvre or the National Galery in Berlin – not because of the cultural heritage, but because of the vast amount of inspirations and creative skills on display. And like much great art, the work can also serve as a mirror of today’s (commercial) culture. Of course, our three examples do not begin to cover all of the 40.000 entries – nevertheless, if creative work can help people to unite in a new way, that is a cultural trend I’d love to see more in the future.

Remember to check out Ketchum.com’s Cannes social hub for the latest from the festival and join the conversation with #KetchumCannes.