Pre-Cannes Prep May Be Overshadowed by Orlando Shooting, But Let’s Use Cannes 2016 to Champion Freedom, Love and Self-Expression
Pre-Croisette haircut. A mass order for stripey Breton tops. Maybe a cheeky spray tan? However your last minutes pre-Cannes planning is going, the usual fizz and frivolity of the final days of prep and packing has undoubtedly been overshadowed by the awful events in Orlando on the weekend. Whether you’ve been personally affected or have simply been left feeling horrified and disturbed by the attack on the LGBTQ community – and indeed the liberties and freedoms that we ought to be able to take for granted – it certainly grants a sense of perspective.
The targeting of the LGBTQ community has resonated profoundly here in London’s Soho – on Old Compton Street, just yards from the Little Black Book HQ, thousands gathered on Monday night to show solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attack, their friends and family. They were, moreover, taking a stand on a balmy summer evening to show that ignorance and violence could not suppress love, empathy, self-expression or sexuality.
Over in New York, our friends at the STUDIO were moved to create a beautiful image to commemorate each of the victims of the senseless attack at the Pulse club in Florida. I think they found it hard to ignore such a devastating incident in their own country even while the industry gears up for its biggest event of the year. I certainly felt that way. This morning I sat down with the intention of writing a blithe and breezy pre-Cannes op-ed – you know the sort of thing: aren’t we excited? Who’s going to win? See you on the Carlton Terrace for a rosé – but I just couldn’t. The ad industry may often act like it exists in a bubble, but it really doesn’t.
the STUDIO’s memoriam for the victims of the #OrlandoShooting – a flower for each life lost. To quote Anderson Cooper: "They are more than a list of names. They are people who loved and who were loved."
Between the plight of Syrian refugees, the terrifying and toxic rise of Trump, the Bataclan slaughter in Paris and indeed the mass murder in Orlando, it has been a difficult, heart breaking 12 months. What’s more, our French hosts are also reeling, both from the brutal murder of a police commander and his partner, who also worked for the police, by a self-proclaimed jihadist, and the ugly thuggery that has marred UEFA Euro 2016.
That’s not to say that next week’s festival should be morose or mirthless. Joy and levity and, yes, silliness are more important than ever, both as a coping mechanism and as a statement of intent from a community of creative people. Strip away the clients, the commerce of advertising and at its heart creativity is about liberty. Self-expression. Experimentation. Even transgression.
We must defend these values and celebrate them.
We must use next week to make human connections, to show solidarity with our LGBTQ peers from across the industry and to celebrate the ingenuity and open-mindedness our species, at its best, is capable of.
So yes, you might see me next week laughing, loving life and having fun with old friends and new.
At Cannes Lions 2016, the creative community will roar.