#CannesLions day five: James Murdoch, narrative work, and Monica Lewinsky on campaigning for change

CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Monica Lewinsky speaks on stage during the Ogilvy & Matter seminar as part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 25, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Christian Alminana/Getty Images)

The fifth day of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kickstarted with the 25th anniversary of the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase, and a wealth of creative inspiration for the industry. For those still resisting the temptation of the sunshine, the agenda in the Palais otherwise was headlined by James Murdoch, Monica Lewinsky, and Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein from Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

1. Appetite for change
James Murdoch, incoming CEO of 21st Century Fox, provided stacks of information and insight in his keynote session, from exploring media models old and new, to where he thinks interruptive advertising is headed. He talked to a need for greater competition in the television network space in a bid to “grow that universe”, and called for the industry to be hungry for the new. “Disruption and innovation go hand in hand,” he said. “The challenge is not how can we adapt to change, but how can we adopt a really high appetite for change.” He said there are only a handful of businesses out there that can create mass creative storytelling on a global stage, and that the opportunities for more are great.

2. Forget the one-offs
In their first ever on-stage appearance together, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein amused the audience with numerous tales of their careers and their work. They highlighted campaigns they’ve worked on for the likes of Sega and Adobe, as well as their infamous tagline, “Got Milk?” to encourage greater milk consumption across the US. But Silverstein also touched upon the idea of creating work with an ongoing long-term narrative, nodding to a theme that’s popped up a number of times throughout this week. He said the industry is not currently creating lasting campaigns: “We’re creating on- offs, and it’s not good enough. Why are [consumers] watching HBO? Because there’s storytelling and an arc and you get to know these characters. I wish we’d get back to that.”

3. Campaigning for cultural change
Speakers campaigning for help from the audience has been a really big theme this week, from a call to action surrounding public health from Jamie Oliver, to ones about poverty and climate change from Richard Curtis and Sir John Hegarty. Another came today from a woman who really needed no introduction, Monica Lewinsky. She broke her silence for the first time last year, and continued that on the stage today as the Ogilvy & Inspire keynote, with a focus on her story of the past 17 years, and on being “patient zero”, as she referred to herself, in the new blood sport of viral online shaming, or cyber bullying.

Of course public humiliation isn’t new if you think back to the town square and stocks or pillories. But what we’re seeing now is modern technology meeting old fashioned cruelty, she explained. And so she called on the industry to help change that culture; to determinedly move away from a click-bait model buoyed by public shaming, where the media entities benefit from a revenue perspective, and the damaged individuals left behind are forgotten. It was one of the most powerful sessions of the week, if anything because it came from such a personal place. Deservedly, it was also the first full standing ovation this year so far.

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