Let’s Change the Topic to Creativity – Cannes Lions Season Kicks Off 

Finally, a reprieve from numbers, policy, and plumbing – Cannes Lions season is upon us! The media side of the advertising business rarely has the time to reflect on the amazing creativity that the various channels carry on behalf of advertisers across the country and the annual Cannes Lions Festival always gives us pause to appreciate the best creative worldwide. Canada is no stranger to striking gold at the festival and we’re looking forward to an inspiring few weeks of full-on creative immersion next month.  

We caught up with Karen Howe, President of The Township Group, Cannes Lions Advisory Board Member and renowned Cannes Lions decoder, to ask for a sneak preview of what to expect at this year’s event. 

IAB Canada (IABC): Karen, this year’s Cannes Lions’ themes are timely and also a tall order, do you think we’ll see some real progress this year on issues like sustainability? 

Karen Howe (KH): Sustainability has surged in importance over the last three years and is now led now by major companies like P&G, and Unilever. I see it reflected in the work at Cannes. I am waiting for governments and politicians to pick up the slack. That would be the big win.  

IABC: How do you think the past two years of lockdown madness has impacted the creative process? What are the energy levels you are sensing this year? 

KH: It’s remarkable to me that the tighter the restrictions we faced the greater our creativity shone. I was blown away by the creative that evolved during the height of the pandemic. It inspired hope and courage when we needed it most and built a global sense of shared humanity.   

The energy level I am sensing the year is one of release! Everyone is so keen to be together again talking about creativity instead of a virus.  

IABC: What is the most exciting aspect of the festival for you?  

KH: The creativity is what I am most excited by – seeing the work. I am always in awe of the insight, intelligence, wit and beauty I get to witness from a front row seat at Cannes Lions. It recharges my passion for this wonderfully crazy business of ours.  

Thanks to The Globe Media’s unwavering support of the festival on behalf of the country, there will be plenty of coverage and festivities right here in Toronto. Meanwhile we look forward to getting Karen’s insights from on the ground at Cannes along with Sonia Carreno, President of IAB Canada who will also be representing The Globe and Mail’s presence this year in her continued role as an advisory board member.