CORD at Cannes Young Lions: The Olympics, The Art of Curation, & Gender Bias


Written by Trish Garcia, CORD London. This week, CORD’s rising stars are on the ground at Cannes Young Lions. Every day they are sharing their updates from the French Riviera, including summaries of the best talks and events. Here we have Trish Garcia, of CORD London, rounding up her four favourite talks.


1.How The Olympics is using Creativity to Connect with Future Generations

One of today’s most interesting talks was hosted by VML and the International Olympic Committee, who in the run up to this year’s Olympic Games in Rio have approached the campaign to launch the games in a truly creative way.

Most of us grow up with our association to the Olympics through the lens of the games, with little understanding of the Olympic movement which lives behind the sporting event.

The Olympic movement, as defined by Melinda May (Head of Marketing Strategy and Activation at the International Olympic Committee), is a vision to build a better world through sport, putting athletes at its heart and promoting the values of the Olympians in society.

The Strategy behind the program was centred around the Olympics Games being a force for good in the world, and as per the campaign tagline that when brought 'Together We Can Change The World'.

The campaign consists of 4 stories: Together, Breath, Respect, and Counting Stars. Each is an inspiring visual collage of the incredible range of sports and truly talented athletes that come together once every four years at the Olympic games.

Their take on the importance of music was refreshing, as they explained to a captive Lions audience that music is a vehicle for the emotive message behind the campaign, and why it was so important to create the right piece of music.

As such, together with musicians Lenny Kravitz, Nneka, Diogo Nogueira, Corinne Bailey Rae and Yuna they rerecorded the Questlove-produced song 'The Fire’, originally performed by The Roots and John Legend.

'In the run up to the launch music was hugely important to highlight the spirit of Olympism' said Brian Yamada (Chief Innovation Office at VML).

The voice overs for the 4 stories were also performed by Uma Thurman in English, with Juliette Binoche narrating in French, Paz Vega in Spanish and Tais Araujo in Portuguese.

The films were directed by Prettybird’s Max Malkin - and you can see the 90 second version here, but they are also in 30s and 15s formats across the world for TV, digital and social distribution.

The campaign officially launches on the 23rd June, and highlights that emotion is what truly connects us to each other and to brands.

2.The Art of Curating

What does curation mean today?

Mike McCue (CEO of Flipboard) says that in Technology, it is an open ended process, and then using this process to narrow things down.

'In art it is intrinsically about opening things up' says Adam Weinberg (Whitney Museum of American Art).

As algorithms attempt to refine our content choices, we are at risk of losing the magical serendipitous moments that truly encapsulate art and discovery.

The question of the session was - Can data scientists code serendipity?

It seems today with the rise in new technology which uses algorithms to understand us and help us find what we are truly looking for, can curation be handed over to a computer or is it innately something only a human can do?

In the discussions it became clear that curating is an art not a science, and an algorithm that aggregates does not respect the things which it is curating as it lacks the understanding of who the stories are for, from who, and why?

'There is no algorithm for cool, or insightful, or beautiful' says Mike McCue. 'Algorithms do not have taste', and although they are correct is does not disqualify the human aspect of creativity, and the beauty in mistakes.

As music technology advances and there are more uses for generative music, as well as the rise of companies like JukeDeck who have innovated ways of creating original music through technology, we ask ourselves whether algorithms are our enemies or our friends?

Should, or can, algorithms replace ever truly replace a composer or the artists and tastemakers that see and can create the true emotion in a piece of music for audience they understand?

What is the role of this technology in music? And instead of viewing them as competition, should we as music supervisors  see algorithms as a part of our toolbox when working with brands? Can they not fundamentally replace, but instead form part of an impressive new arsenal to help brands truly connect?


3.Men vs. Women: Exploring Marketing’s Impact on Gender Bias

Truly helping to close the gender gap in marketing and advertising is Kim Getty, who on behalf of Deutsch hosted an impressive talk this afternoon at the Cannes Lions Festival.

How can we as the responsible parties change advertising culture to erase gender bias for future generations?

The statistics were staggering. (Research by See Jane - How Women are Represented in Film)

  • Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in family films, and that ratio has not changed since 1946.
  • This is because in any film:
    • 31% of speaking roles are women
    • 23% of protagonists are women

So how, as an alien landing on this planet for the first time, would you now that women are the majority of the population?

To truly highlight how important our industry is, Deutsch used one of their campaigns to measure the their reach. Their Zillow campaign reached 73% of our population, as opposed to only 33% that watched Star Wars, the biggest movie of the year.

She highlighted some of the best work which represents women -

  • Under Armour
  • Nike
  • Ram
  • Coors Light

Another incredible example of creativity bridging the gender gap was their work for:

Angel Soft (which made all of the Cord girls well up!):

lso, Glennfiddich:

And she left an awestruck crowd with some final notes:

  • Get more women in our work.
  • Let’s show Gender IRL.
  • If you portray a woman, assume she works.
  • If you portray a man, assume he can change a diaper and make dinner.
  • Give our audiences a little more credit.
  • Let’s disrupt gender stuff, and actually BE cutting edge.

4.Creativity Through Machine Intelligence: A Conversation with Brian Eno

Brian Eno’s collaboration with Dentsu Lab Tokyo was one of the most talked about topics in Cannes Lions today.

In the Palais’ Forum, musician, producer and visual artist Brian Eno introduced Koichi Yamamoto (CDC & CSO of Dentsu) to explore their new collaboration for his new visual album 'The Ship'.

Their work is centred around developing and creating unique music and visual experiences for audiences around the world. One project to exemplify the truly impressive relationship between technology and music.

'Technology is the name we give things that don’t work properly yet. But when they work we take them into our lives' said Brian Eno, whose relationship with music and technology began in the 60s when new multi-track recording technology opened new opportunities in music with the recording studio, making the creative musical process comparable to building a painting, when building a track.