Karen Ferry @ Cannes: It's about championing the unique dimensions that we each offer, and not training or hiring creatives to think the same

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 7.18.53 am.jpgKaren Ferry, senior copywriter at Leo Burnett Sydney represented Australia in this year's See It Be It programme in Cannes. Here she shares her experiences straight from the festival, exclusively for CB.

Marie Kondo believes that when you go through a massive emotional change (like throwing out all the shit from your home), your body will become sick with the purging of toxins.
 
And on day three, I wake up with a killer throat infection. It's only been 48 hours so far but I feel like I've gone through a year of change - of changing my mindset, my understanding of opportunities, and how I act, and perceive things. My whole understanding of the future and myself has shifted dramatically, and it's a total mindfuck. We have our mentor sessions and I cry in all three.
 
And along with my emotions, things have started to get ridiculous. Our meetings have gone from sitting on floors in backstage corners of the Palais to penthouse suites. Common the rapper is in the carpark outside the Girls Lounge, and we're being jettied out to Google Island for lunch. There, somehow - almost stupidly - I end up dining between Olympic gold medalist and activist Abby Warbach, a GMO of Google, and a heavy hitter from 72andSunny, as they talk about spatial awareness of leaders and the dangerous power of advertising messaging.
Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 7.19.02 am.jpgAbby is one of the keynote speakers of the lunch. The Google GMO Jabari Hearn references her Bernard commencement speech. She reiterates it again, telling the audience of 100+ C-suite execs that, "women are feared as a threat to our system, but they will be our salvation."
 
As we leave the Google Island, she tells one of our delegates that herScreen Shot 2018-06-25 at 7.19.18 am.jpg EQ is what will drive our industry forward, echoing Faith Popcorn's lecture earlier in the week about the death of the homogenous, one-type-fits-all take on masculinity. Because, like Jonathan Kneebone's talk at the AWARD summit last month, what will save creativity is heroing the individual. Heroing people from different backgrounds, with different stories and different ways of thinking. This isn't just about how someone may appear on the outside. It's about championing the unique dimensions that we each offer, and not training or hiring creatives to think the same. Because through the storm that technology and data may rain on us, the one thing that AI and machine learning can never replicate is human experience.
 
I'm not going to lie. I came into this programme a little unsure, but I feel like my heart has cracked open.
 
At our closing dinner in the hills, we piss off the restaurant staff by hanging around way past closing time, laughing, crying and group hugging for too long. As we talk about how we've all been changed by the experience, Tea Uglow shares that some people will always be critical of how commercial, scammy, fake and egotistical Cannes can be. But know that somewhere, out there in the festival chaos is a peaceful corner where people like us will be talking about love, and change, and the future.

4 Comments

EC said:

Sounds like a fantastic week. Great diaries, thank you Karen!

Alison Cole said:

Through the eyes of one very humane human!! Great writing Karen.

Josh said:

Worship hands emoji.

Adam Stone said:

Most job roles advertised for creative departments specify "ad school" as a pre-requisite. Last time I checked, you learn about delivering "ideas" for: TV, print, outdoor, digital, etc. This never sat right with me. Perhaps it is indicative of what you will actually be doing in said role.

I love the sentiment, "it's about championing the unique dimensions that we each offer, and not training or hiring creatives to think the same." My hunch is advertising stands to be far more impacting, if creative departments execute on this philosophy.

Thoughts?

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