In 2014 I was asked to be a judge Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the relatively new PR category, an opportunity I jumped at. Once I’d said yes I realised that I had committed to 9 days in Cannes, and the dawning dread that I was going to have to leave my 1 year old baby at home. So I asked the organisers if there was any way the accommodation could be arranged with an extra room, they said yes without hesitation, and I took him and my husband along with me.
So that year I was not bleary eyed from the rosé or nights out on the Croisette, rather getting up in the night, but it was what I felt comfortable doing at the time. My son is now 9 and asking if he can come this time too!
It really was a brilliant career highlight, reviewing thousands of pieces of creative work and having to hone my skills on how to evaluate, judge and discuss creative ideas. Often in the jury room you find yourself arguing the case for an idea (which of course is not your own) if it comes down to the wire and fighting for it objectively.
As the saying goes: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”
Following that experience I worked with the brilliant Steve Latham, Head of Learning and Development to try to get PR involved as much as possible in the Cannes Lions School – where I then worked alongside some of the great and the good of the advertising, marketing and comms world in the Learning Academies. This has been ongoing ‘school’ for me too with strategists, planners, creatives and talent from all walks of life continuing to inspire me every time I go. In the past few years I have worked as a host and mentor to the Young Lions competition which has been reverse mentoring for me, I continue to learn so much from the next generation of talent coming through.
So this year I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to host the content in the Debussy Theatre at Cannes for a whole week – so I’ll get up close and personal with amazing brand marketers, talent and creatives from across the world. 26 sessions of brainfood over 4 days.
I’m really excited to hear from the UN Development Programme, hearing Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart and Paramount talk about building fandom over decades, Jackie Cooper talking to Harris Reed about transformative power of clothing and its correlation with identity and liberation amongst so many other things.
Check out the line-up in the Debussy Theatre here shorturl.at/gmKN0. I promise to take notes and share the best bits when I’m back.