Luminaries Back Stage at The 60th Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions turned 60 this year, which certainly makes her the grand old dame on the award show circuit.

I wonder how many trips to Cannes designer and art director George Lois has made over the years. Whatever the number, his message remains relevant, and caustic.

“Understand how to create big fucking advertising ideas, that’s the only way you will be great. Someone else can figure out the fucking technology,” he advised.

“Why be a great art director when you can be a cultural provocateur?” Lois challenged.

Hmmmm….what did Kierkegaard say?

Now creating, actualizing one’s possibilities, always involves negative as well as positive aspects. It always involves destroying the status quo, destroying old patterns within oneself, progressively destroying what one has clung to from childhood on, and creating new and original forms and ways of living. If one does not do this, one is refusing to grow, refusing to avail himself of his possibilities; one is shirking his responsibility to himself. Hence refusal to actualize one’s possibilities brings guilt toward one’s self.

So, you might say Lois’ refusal to be bossed around by clients with poor taste is at once quixotic and healthy.

Entertainer Sean Combs, who runs fashion label Sean John, was in Cannes this year too. He said he’s inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit he sees on the Web.

A man with nothing so obvious to sell — evolutional biologist Richard Dawkins — also attended to the conference this year, where he spoke about how memes are like genes, and therefore fascinating, whether we know what causes them to spread or not.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.