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DVG @ Cannes Lions

by Jessica O’Callaghan
North America Regional Managing Director

This day started by stopping me in my mental tracks and then made me stand up in applause twice. Enter Madonna Badger – founder of the ad agency Badger & Winters, whose session was titled ‘Sex, Lies & Advertising’ was powerful. She spoke about empathy and her fresh focus on this quality in her work on the heels of the loss of her three children and parents in a house fire on Christmas Eve in 2011. I cannot comprehend such tragedy. 

She spoke about how her empathy-based creative process helped guide her new purpose of portraying women more responsibly in advertising and encouraging the industry to do the same. After making the connection between the objectification of women and their view of feeling undervalued in society and to themselves, Badger & Winters has launched three campaigns each making powerfully connected points:

1) #womennotobjects

2) #istandup

3) What our kids see

When she played #istandup, the entire crowd seated in the biggest theatre at Cannes came to their feet and applauded. So very encouraging but whether or not this action will mean real action in the industry is likely a work in progress.

I also attended a Samsung presentation titled ‘A VR Creators Experience’ featuring Vice Media CCO, Eddy Moretti, and speakers from Facebook and Oculus. Vice has teamed up with Samsung to produce content for their VICELAND channel called ‘Beyond the Frame’ exploring the future of storytelling in VR. This session really opened my eyes to the power of this medium to share stories through human experience vs. through a rectangle. As the speaker from Oculus said, “VR creates awe and when we are in awe, we are moved…and to be moved is human.” I’m a new believer.

Finally, I listened to Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky speak about how the “craziest idea that ever worked” came to be and how the idea of humanity, inclusiveness and human trust underpinned the whole idea. After the amazing success of the partnership with Art Institute of Chicago and Airbnb to promote an exhibit featuring three of Van Gogh’s bedrooms (which Airbnb then made one perfect replica of for rent), Brian threw out a challenge to marketers for more partnership ideas which offer people unique experiences. Check out: Our wheels are turning. 

Worth noting: Over 5,000 Cannes delegates were staying in Airbnb rentals.

Images top to bottom: A woman speaking out against the objectification of women in the media, A woman holding up a sign that says, "I'm standing up for my future daughter. #WomenNotObjects"

WomenNotObjects / Via

Viceland's collaboration with Samsung, "Beyond the Frame"


Images top to bottom: Airbnb's replica of Van Gogh's bedroom shown on a laptop, Brian Chesky speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival

Airbnb / Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Via