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Creativity, Tech and Inspiration at Cannes Lions 2018

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INFLUENCER: Alexander Schill looks back at a successful Cannes for Serviceplan Group

Creativity, Tech and Inspiration at Cannes Lions 2018

The 65th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was a good week for Serviceplan Group in terms of Lions. We won a total of 9 Lions including; 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze Lions, which gave Serviceplan Group number two ranking among all German agencies. Our campaigns and innovations for Andros, Beck’s, DOT Inc, Ehinger Kraftrad, Mini, Ravensburger & LV Prasad Eye Institute and Sky were all awarded.   

On top of the awards success, we organised a satellite programme of events for our clients including a wigwam session with Adobe, and inspirational speaker sessions curated by Senta Slingerland. Senta Slingerland is the former director of strategy for Lions Festival, where she launched numerous programs and initiatives aimed at employing creativity and the creative community as a force for change, including Lions Innovation, The Glass Lion, See It Be It and Cannes Chimera.

We chose to offer our clients an alternative to the mix of superstar actor, creative and musician speakers including Kevin Costner and FKA Twigs at the Palais des Festivals, by putting on a series of insightful sessions from experts and creators including award-winning Pulse Films CEO Charles Day and Tristan Harris, founder of the ‘Center for Humane Technology’, which seeks to realign technology with the best interests of humanity

A varied day of sessions looked into trends and themes at Cannes Lions 2018 from a variety of viewpoints from industry experts including; Tracey Follows, head of Strategy at WIRED consulting; 'Center for Humane Technology' founder Tristan Harris on 'How Tech has Us Hooked'; and Buzzfeed’s Ze Frank on 'Creativity at the Intersection of Humans and Data’. Charles Day, founder of Pulse Films, took part in a live podcast with Fearless founder Thomas Benski. 

Tracey Follows gave an in depth look at future trends in marketing. She predicted how increasingly retail environments will morph into speed manufacturing facilities, with products being made in real time on the shop floor, marking the end of mass production and transportation. She looked at how we'll start seeing simulations replacing VR, which will enable us to project the outcomes of certain possible solutions on a grand scale before we enact them.  

Tristan Harris blew our minds with a look at the dark side of social media and technology, comparing the screens that dominate our lives to heroin as a metaphor for the way they appeal to the addictive side of our personalities. He warned that rather than empowering human beings to achieve missions and tasks, the use of the screen has become a task in itself. Harris believes that technology is hijacking our minds, and breaking up society, so at the ‘Center for Humane Technology’ he has assembled a world-class team of former tech insiders and CEOs to address the problem. He studied at Stanford University with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, and now Harris warns of the pitfalls of Instagram which entices users into a loop of wanting likes as a reward, comparing the addiction to a lab rat repeatedly pressing a lever to receive a food pellet (the Harvard University ‘Operant Conditioning Chamber’), or a person going back time and time again to the Amusement Arcade slot machine. 

Now he sees smartphones as weapons of mass manipulation, comparable in terms of threat to our planet with global warming, and with the ‘Center for Humane Technology’ he is declaring war on them.  

The danger of screens is that they are designed to distract us from our mundane day-to-day tasks, and suck us into a parallel universe where we can waste hours that turn into days. Design features such as the continuous video loop on Instagram and the streaks on Snapchat are highly addictive and counterproductive, and particularly dangerous for the young generation who are at risk of growing up glued to screens and detached from reality. Harris is working with organisations such as the World Health Organisation, Apple, Facebook and Google, to call for more ethical design protocols which protect us, and more importantly children, from the darker side of technology.  

We were treated to a live podcast with Charles Day, who set up ‘The Looking Glass’, a weekly podcast that explores the art and science of leading creativity. Charles interviewed Pulse Films founder Thomas Benski, discussing the motivation behind setting up his own business and disrupting traditional boundaries between TV, Film and digital broadcasting. Paradoxically it transpired that after smashing the mould of traditional film production and breaking into TV and music, winning awards at Cannes for advertising and film, at the heart of Pulse films success is Benski’s leadership style which focuses on traditional core values of rigour and disciplines. This is the polar opposite of the contemporary trends towards flexible working hours. The podcast will soon be available here.

Ze Frank had a more optimistic view on what technology can do for us, and how it can assist brands. Earlier this year he moved from running Buzzfeed’s entertainment division to a newly created position of Chief Research and Development Officer. His dynamic approach straddles low cost, fast-paced digital content with high cost, high quality live events. His focus is on creating production models for new formats, platforms and audience experiences, which embrace the latest technologies, whilst appealing to our human side with the ever-popular Buzzfeed lists and questionnaires. 



Alexander Schill is Global CCO at Serviceplan Group 

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Serviceplan Germany, Wed, 04 Jul 2018 08:59:33 GMT