How do you ensure your team have a responsible Cannes?

How do you ensure your team have a responsible Cannes?
Cannes Lions 2024

Responsibility and Cannes may not be two words that are automatically associated with each other.

In her latest column, Hannah Mirza made the case for making this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity “the most responsible yet”.

But what does “responsible” look like and how can leaders best look after their teams during this week?

For Mirza, it’s about making new real-life connections to make the event worth travelling for, offsetting your climate impact if you are flying and taking a sustainable (and sensible) approach to merchandise.

Meanwhile, there is an industry push to tackle sexual harassment at industry events to make Cannes Lions a safer event for everyone. To this end, the organisers have partnered with TimeTo and Nabs to launch a guide for employers and employees.

DEI remains a critical topic for an event that aims to showcase the most diverse talent and work global advertising has to offer — particularly as there have been criticisms that DEI efforts have stalled recently. Is the industry doing enough collectively to ensure the festival is as inclusive as possible?

The Media Leader asked industry leaders for their insight as the festival kicks off.

Pippa Glucklich, chair, TimeTo; CEO, Electric Glue

Pippa Glucklich square

“I’d ask them to be thoughtful and considerate. I’d ask them to take on board the guidance we’re offering in the Celebrating Safety initiative developed by TimeTo in partnership with Cannes Lions.

“We’ve produced a pocket-sized guide, a digital film and A4 posters, which will offer advice on what to do if you face sexual harassment. We’d love you all to check it out and encourage all your colleagues to do the same.

“Please stay safe in Cannes — and together let’s end sexual harassment in our industry once and for all.”

Ed Couchman, head of Northern Europe sales, Spotify

“Cannes is a magical week for connecting, learning and celebrating the incredible work across the global advertising industry. However, it’s also an intense week, with long days full of back-to-back meetings and running around the Croisette under the scorching sun.

“So, as we kick off the week, my biggest ask to my team is to take care of themselves first and foremost. It’s never easy to draw boundaries, but your physical and mental health should always be the most important thing. I say this because I’ve found that it’s sometimes easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to oneself.

“We’re a band here at Spotify, so I make sure the team knows that we can lean on one another for support when someone needs to tap out for a beat. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. So taking a break to refocus and revive is crucial to having a productive and fun week.”

Julia Linehan, founder and CEO, The Digital Voice

“Our team heading to Cannes this year is largely female and we have been talking about how important it is to stay safe in Cannes.

“One important way is to be mindful of the amount of rosé you throw down your neck! Tempting as it may be to say yes to every glass offered, even at 11am, keep a check on how it is impacting you. Counteract it with equal amounts of water and try to swap out rosé for an alcohol-free cocktail or find a healthy balance by mixing in some other activities on offer in Cannes this year.

“It is responsible and actually enjoyable to get the buzz without the booze!”

Sharon Lloyd-Barnes, commercial director and inclusion lead, Advertising Association

Sharon,Ad Association, Headshots, 24Oct2019, ©BronacMcNeill

“Responsible advertising is at the heart of our mission. So for our team’s annual trip to Cannes, it starts with how we get there: by train.

“We always ensure we stay well-connected via our WhatsApp group and with scheduled meals for those not meeting others.

“A trip to Cannes should be safe for everyone. As co-founder of TimeTo, we’re delighted to have the organisers of Cannes Lions’ support for our campaign this year.

“Finally, Cannes Lions is an opportunity to see the world’s best work — we’ll be reviewing it for standout examples of where our industry can make the most positive social and economic contribution.”

Davina Barker, sales director, Digital Cinema Media

Davina Barker headshot resized

“A responsible Cannes means multiple things to me.

“First, safety. Be respectful of yourself and others. TimeTo and Cannes Lions have created sexual harassment guidelines to offer support so people can enjoy themselves safely, while Wacl is launching an Empower Café — an inclusive hub offering a safe haven for anyone who might need it. Take advantage of these.

“Secondly, inspiration. If you have the luxury of access to an official pass, make sure you take an afternoon to peruse all the brilliant work in the Palais. It’s a beautiful reminder of why we’re all there.

“Thirdly, comfort. Pack some comfy shoes for the miles you will clock up along the Croisette!

“Finally, remember: it’s usually not a good idea to have ‘just one more…'”

Jasmine Dawson, senior vice-president, digital, BBC Studios


“Attending Cannes isn’t a new experience for me, but for a lot of my team it is. And, amid the excitement, I know it can also feel incredibly daunting.

“As a leader, I see fostering an inclusive and respectful culture as one of our most important responsibilities. Approaches to drinking and staying out late varies hugely within the team and how we handle this must be considered, especially in how alcohol can play such a significant role in social and networking events, both day and night.

“This year, we’re lucky to be sending a larger contingent out to experience the festival, so providing a space that feels inclusive and conducive to great and exciting work is key. This means clear communications about acceptable behaviours before travelling, leading by example, and supporting and respecting everyone’s individual experience.

“Wellbeing and safety are of paramount importance and we want our growing team’s memories of Cannes Lions to be positive, engaged and feeling inspired.”

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