I’m sitting here watching the sun come up over the Mediterranean – bringing the Cote d’Azur to life, as that unique blue sky merges with the beautiful blue sea.

Lest you think that I am extremely obsessive (another story…, deeply linked to natural phenomenon or crazily workaholic getting up so early in such a beautiful place) let me reassure you – full confession – that I haven’t been to bed yet.

You see, last night was the final Awards Ceremony of the 58th Annual International Festival of Creativity – better known by its universal moniker The Cannes Lions – and let’s just say I’m feeling my age….

The Lions brings together people from all over the world; people from across every business category; clients and agencies and media; people from every strata – from the Heads of Major corporations to college students in a structured program on creativity to everyone in the middle and top to bottom – all united under one theme – Creativity…defining it, celebrating it, understanding it, evangelizing it…learning, teaching, improving and ultimately creating a full and rich culture around it.

I encourage you, dear reader, to follow the links and look at the work – see what the entrants thought was good; see what the judges thought was best; see what you think and what you like – did you agree with the choices? Were you inspired?  Would you share the ideas and learn from them?

Overall I’d personally say yes. I think that the Film Jury hit the bull’s-eye (full confession, it was chaired by my friend and business partner Tony Granger), and I do think that some of the other juries missed the mark on some key categories – but that is what makes this such a great event – it’s the passion for the work and the discussion around what is truly great.

But here’s the thing – I don’t want to write about the work – make up your own minds on that front – and report back…rather, I’d like to comment on the event itself and the atmosphere it creates and fosters – and no I don’t mean the Gutter Bar or Carlton Terrace…alone….

I am always struck by the lack of respect shown for others at some International Sports Forums. You know what I mean – when national pride or regional bias or bigoted hatred raises its ugly head and fans yell obscenities and worse at the other team; where people refuse to play against others – you know what I mean – it has even touched pro tennis and the Olympics.

I don’t have to tell you about the situation at various NGOs. Entities created to help mankind exclude some or another and too often, again, hatred is the fodder for growth.


At Cannes, though, it’s the opposite. No matter who wins – everyone applauds. No matter what country, region, religion or nationality – somehow all find their way to the same parties, sit on the same juries, participate in the same events, get passionate and fired up about the subject of creativity and yet never cross the line to where it gets personal.

I have thought about this over the years and have written about it too, but somehow this year – as I began every morning watching CNN share the latest spewed hatred – it stuck out even more.

So why is it? Why is this community that has been my professional home for over 30 years seem to have transcended the divisions of our world and instead found the connectors?

I wish I had an answer – in fact, hoping that you might have some – but here are some conjectures.

Is it because globality and sharing are what unite us through consumers – as in people?

Is it because it’s insights into behavior that drive us and our work – and when you look at yourself and others “naked” in the light of behavioral study – ugly is really ugly?

Or is it somehow linked to our creative selves – the very fuel that drives us?

To that end – I stared Binging – the concept, thought, idea of creativity linked to everything from harmony to peace to community to unity – and on and on.

You can imagine what I found – lots of Zen stuff, lots of New Age, lots of bad examples. I kept at it – and then a quote popped up – from a very basic and primal literary source that stopped me in my tracks.


“And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis…the Bible

I was stunned – took me a moment – let’s be clear – this is not about religion – certainly not about fundamentalism – it’s about a thought.

The Bible begins with creativity – and the notion of looking at your work with a critical eye – the original Lions Festival….check out this piece in the recent Harper’s Magazine

As I read this – it talks about mankind – not people from one neighborhood or another or people from one belief set or another and certainly not about one person versus another – it seems pretty clear…at least to me – creativity is about all of us – not just any one of us.

And maybe – just maybe that is in our business DNA – we are a business about people – about understanding people, about connecting with people – maybe just maybe some of that original thinking of creation wormed its way into our subconscious.

Who knows?

But let’s hear what you think…

And to end – let me call out the final piece of work shown at the festival – that I believe makes the point.

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