Global Change Begins in Cannes

by Taylor Bennett

“A lot of the facts that will form the trend lines of the future are not apparent to people,” said former President Bill Clinton. “Communicators will have a profound influence on how the next 20-30 years will turn out.”

Speaking at this year’sCannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, to a motley crew of creatives representing nearly 100 countries across the globe, Clinton’s message was simple—use your tremendous talent and power for good. Among the issues he highlighted in which advertisers may play a special role were global climate change, alternative energy sources and even the European debt crisis.

After reading about his speech, I started to consider what role we all may be able to play—whether you work in an in-house marketing department, own your own business or work for an advertising agency. All of us in the creative and communication industry, no matter where we currently work, do indeed hold a special power. We have the unique skill to effectively communicate what others struggle to say, and the means to make those messages instantly heard to an audience size that would have been incomprehensible just 20 years ago.

So what are we using this incredible gift to do? Sell stuff? Of course—we all have to turn a profit at some point. But what about the things that could really inspire hearts throughout the world to make lasting changes? To the ones who have already begun inspiring went the spoils of Cannes 2012. Below are some of my favorite winning pieces from this year, all of which have an underlying social issue or cause. I encourage you explore them and, like me, let your mind wander with the possibilities of tomorrow.

Press Lions Grand PrixUnited Colors of Benetton Apparel: Unhate

Branded Content and Entertainment Lions Grand PrixChipotle: Cultivate CampaignDesign Lions Grand PrixAustria Solar: Solar Annual Report 2011PR Lions Grand PrixBanco Popular de Puerto Rico: The Most Popular SongPromo & Activation Lions Grand PrixAmerican Express: Small Business Gets and Official DayTitanium Grand PrixNike+ Fuelband