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Cannes 2018: Day Five Inside the Palais

Cannes 2018: Day Five Inside the Palais

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

June 22, 2018

Sir Martin Sorrell gets candid about starting a new chapter in his life. Defining feminism in the modern era. And several Parkland survivors speak out in Cannes.

12:00 p.m. Sir Martin Sorrell in Conversation with Ken Auletta

Likely one of the most, if not the most, anticipated talks of the Cannes Lions festival, Sir Martin Sorrell of S4 Capital and the former leader of ad giant WPP, took center stage at Lumière Theatre to interview The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta on his new book “Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else).”

Sorrell kicked off the talk by interviewing Auletta, the author of 12 books, but also acknowledged that he knew there were many people who wanted the journalist to ask the former ad boss questions about his recent departure from WPP.

“Why did you write this book?” Sorrell asked Auletta.

“I write about media for The New Yorker,” Auletta answered nonchalantly. ”The piggy bank for media is advertising.” The writer stressed that he felt that major platforms like Google are frenemies of media professionals in the ad industry.

In true Sorrell style, the former WPP boss questioned the word “frenemies” to describe Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other outlets that those in the ad business are using as part of their media plans. He challenged Auletta, saying that rather than thinking of those platforms as frenemies, we should think of them as partners of media agencies.

“The money is going to Google first. No. 2 is Facebook. So if I follow the money, the media agencies are increasingly investing in Google and Facebook,” Sorrell said. “If I follow the money, there’s a partnership between the agencies and Facebook. Things have changed.”

“A frenemy is someone you both compete and cooperate with,” Auletta said in response.

The subject of the talk soon changed: “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room,” Auletta said. To which Sorrell replied, “What’s the elephant in the room?”

The crowd laughed, and Auletta answered: “The circumstances with which you left.”

Sorrell tried to deflect and suggested that the panel should only highlight the release of the author’s new book, not his recent career developments. But after that suggestion was collectively booed by the audience, Auletta began interviewing Sorrell, who candidly admitted that he was not happy with the way “things were handled.” Auletta asked, straightforwardly, if the stories of mean-spirited, difficult behavior from Sorrell were true.

“Am I an easy person to deal with? No. Am I demanding? Yes,” Sorrell answered. “I think that I demanded high standards.”

Auletta pressed further: “It’s not unfair for me to conclude—or people in this audience to conclude—that you were pissed about the way things were handled.”

Sorrell remained unshaken and candid: “I think I made it clear yesterday what my views are. When you have leaks of that nature at the highest level of the company, it’s a very difficult situation,” he said. “Despite asking for an investigation into the leak, nothing so far has happened regarding that.”

Auletta asked a simple question: Does Sorrell plan to write a book on his infamous ousting? Sparking laughter in the crowd, he answered: “I don’t write books—not yet.”

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2:17 p.m. Can We Redefine Femininity with Creativity?

In the final session at the Lumière Theatre, four influential women came together to challenge the traditional definitions of beauty and to propose the creation of more inclusive, diverse classifications of beauty.

“A lot of my definitions of femininity were rooted in tradition and gender roles. My brother didn’t have that. I got older and realized I can be all of these things and do all of these things,” said writer, producer, and actress Issa Rae. “I define what feminine traits are.”

Katy Alonz, Group Strategy Director at Droga5, stressed that it’s not so much about the old definitions as it is about modern applications and interpretations. “It’s not necessarily important to change the traits that you learned are feminine, but that we expand the access to those things,” Alonz said.

Despite a history of women being taught to “act more like men” in order to be successful, Ukonwa Ojo, Senior Vice President at COVERGIRL, says that the opposite often proves to be true. “The most effective leaders that have the most profound effect on you—they’ve probably had those feminine traits, like empathy, compassion,” Ojo explained. “We know there’s definitely benefit to culture and to business when they exhibit more feminine traits, but women are usually trained to be more masculine.”

On the evolution of femininity she said,  “What I have noticed about the younger generation is that they seem way more boundless in terms of the fluidity of roles and gender,” Ojo said. “To me, that is the future.”

Issa gave some pithy advice that, if taken, will provide positive changes for everyone. “Elevate femininity—and expand the view of femininity.”

4:16 Parkland Survivors: The Real and Raw Power of Conviction

The last session of the day ended on a sobering note: a panel that featured three survivors of the Parkland school shooting. The audience was introduced to teenagers Madison Leal, Kai Koerber, and Sam Zeif.

“We can take inspiration from these three,” said Nicholas Carlson, moderator and Global Editor-in-Chief of INSIDER and Business Insider. “They’ve raised millions of dollars. They’ve pressured big companies to cut their relationships with the NRA.”

Despite the difficulty of reliving that tragic day, all of the survivors were willing to share their stories. Madison, a rising senior, told her story: “It was February 14. It was a normal school day. In fact, it was Valentine’s Day. But at 2:20 p.m., our lives forever changed. That’s when the fire alarm went off,” she said. “We heard an administrator say code red, active shooter, run for your life. I didn’t know if I was going to make it out alive that day.”

She continued: “As soon as I got off campus, that’s when it really hit me. I saw teens screaming and crying, waiting to find out if their friends were alive. I saw [on TV] 12 people were reported dead. Then I saw that number rise to 13, 14, 15, 16, and then 17. Seventeen of my classmates were gone.”

Kai teared up on stage as he talked about that day: “I still can’t come to grips with the reality of the situation,” he said, with his eyes welling up. “I can’t fully explain to you how much my life has changed—how much everyone’s life has changed.”

18-year-old Sam Zeif rubbed his hands against his face. “I hope none of you ever have to experience saying goodbye to someone for reasons of untimely death,” he told a captivated audience. “It’s the worst feeling in the world. Nobody should ever have to feel that feeling.”

“If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere,” Kai warned. “We need to stop this—and we need to stop this now.”

Each of the teens is working with or has started a nonprofit organization: Branches of Bravery (Madison), Societal Reform Corporation (Kai), and Change The Ref (Sam). Through these organizations, and with their growing voices, they are working toward a day where tragedies like the one in Parkland are a rarity and not the increasing norm.

“Our goal is to change things in America and make it safe for everyone,” Sam said.

Madison echoed his sentiments of hope. “I am hopeful,” she said. “I never really knew that I had a voice. I want to stress that you each have a voice and you can make a difference with your voice.”

Sam gave his detractors a stark warning: “People say that we, the youth, are the future. But it’s not true. We’re the present, and we’re coming.”

12:00 p.m. Sir Martin Sorrell in Conversation with Ken Auletta

Likely one of the most, if not the most, anticipated talks of the Cannes Lions festival, Sir Martin Sorrell of S4 Capital and the former leader of ad giant WPP, took center stage at Lumière Theatre to interview The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta on his new book “Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else).”

Sorrell kicked off the talk by interviewing Auletta, the author of 12 books, but also acknowledged that he knew there were many people who wanted the journalist to ask the former ad boss questions about his recent departure from WPP.

“Why did you write this book?” Sorrell asked Auletta.

“I write about media for The New Yorker,” Auletta answered nonchalantly. ”The piggy bank for media is advertising.” The writer stressed that he felt that major platforms like Google are frenemies of media professionals in the ad industry.

In true Sorrell style, the former WPP boss questioned the word “frenemies” to describe Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other outlets that those in the ad business are using as part of their media plans. He challenged Auletta, saying that rather than thinking of those platforms as frenemies, we should think of them as partners of media agencies.

“The money is going to Google first. No. 2 is Facebook. So if I follow the money, the media agencies are increasingly investing in Google and Facebook,” Sorrell said. “If I follow the money, there’s a partnership between the agencies and Facebook. Things have changed.”

“A frenemy is someone you both compete and cooperate with,” Auletta said in response.

The subject of the talk soon changed: “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room,” Auletta said. To which Sorrell replied, “What’s the elephant in the room?”

The crowd laughed, and Auletta answered: “The circumstances with which you left.”

Sorrell tried to deflect and suggested that the panel should only highlight the release of the author’s new book, not his recent career developments. But after that suggestion was collectively booed by the audience, Auletta began interviewing Sorrell, who candidly admitted that he was not happy with the way “things were handled.” Auletta asked, straightforwardly, if the stories of mean-spirited, difficult behavior from Sorrell were true.

“Am I an easy person to deal with? No. Am I demanding? Yes,” Sorrell answered. “I think that I demanded high standards.”

Auletta pressed further: “It’s not unfair for me to conclude—or people in this audience to conclude—that you were pissed about the way things were handled.”

Sorrell remained unshaken and candid: “I think I made it clear yesterday what my views are. When you have leaks of that nature at the highest level of the company, it’s a very difficult situation,” he said. “Despite asking for an investigation into the leak, nothing so far has happened regarding that.”

Auletta asked a simple question: Does Sorrell plan to write a book on his infamous ousting? Sparking laughter in the crowd, he answered: “I don’t write books—not yet.”

http://

2:17 p.m. Can We Redefine Femininity with Creativity?

In the final session at the Lumière Theatre, four influential women came together to challenge the traditional definitions of beauty and to propose the creation of more inclusive, diverse classifications of beauty.

“A lot of my definitions of femininity were rooted in tradition and gender roles. My brother didn’t have that. I got older and realized I can be all of these things and do all of these things,” said writer, producer, and actress Issa Rae. “I define what feminine traits are.”

Katy Alonz, Group Strategy Director at Droga5, stressed that it’s not so much about the old definitions as it is about modern applications and interpretations. “It’s not necessarily important to change the traits that you learned are feminine, but that we expand the access to those things,” Alonz said.

Despite a history of women being taught to “act more like men” in order to be successful, Ukonwa Ojo, Senior Vice President at COVERGIRL, says that the opposite often proves to be true. “The most effective leaders that have the most profound effect on you—they’ve probably had those feminine traits, like empathy, compassion,” Ojo explained. “We know there’s definitely benefit to culture and to business when they exhibit more feminine traits, but women are usually trained to be more masculine.”

On the evolution of femininity she said,  “What I have noticed about the younger generation is that they seem way more boundless in terms of the fluidity of roles and gender,” Ojo said. “To me, that is the future.”

Issa gave some pithy advice that, if taken, will provide positive changes for everyone. “Elevate femininity—and expand the view of femininity.”

4:16 Parkland Survivors: The Real and Raw Power of Conviction

The last session of the day ended on a sobering note: a panel that featured three survivors of the Parkland school shooting. The audience was introduced to teenagers Madison Leal, Kai Koerber, and Sam Zeif.

“We can take inspiration from these three,” said Nicholas Carlson, moderator and Global Editor-in-Chief of INSIDER and Business Insider. “They’ve raised millions of dollars. They’ve pressured big companies to cut their relationships with the NRA.”

Despite the difficulty of reliving that tragic day, all of the survivors were willing to share their stories. Madison, a rising senior, told her story: “It was February 14. It was a normal school day. In fact, it was Valentine’s Day. But at 2:20 p.m., our lives forever changed. That’s when the fire alarm went off,” she said. “We heard an administrator say code red, active shooter, run for your life. I didn’t know if I was going to make it out alive that day.”

She continued: “As soon as I got off campus, that’s when it really hit me. I saw teens screaming and crying, waiting to find out if their friends were alive. I saw [on TV] 12 people were reported dead. Then I saw that number rise to 13, 14, 15, 16, and then 17. Seventeen of my classmates were gone.”

Kai teared up on stage as he talked about that day: “I still can’t come to grips with the reality of the situation,” he said, with his eyes welling up. “I can’t fully explain to you how much my life has changed—how much everyone’s life has changed.”

18-year-old Sam Zeif rubbed his hands against his face. “I hope none of you ever have to experience saying goodbye to someone for reasons of untimely death,” he told a captivated audience. “It’s the worst feeling in the world. Nobody should ever have to feel that feeling.”

“If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere,” Kai warned. “We need to stop this—and we need to stop this now.”

Each of the teens is working with or has started a nonprofit organization: Branches of Bravery (Madison), Societal Reform Corporation (Kai), and Change The Ref (Sam). Through these organizations, and with their growing voices, they are working toward a day where tragedies like the one in Parkland are a rarity and not the increasing norm.

“Our goal is to change things in America and make it safe for everyone,” Sam said.

Madison echoed his sentiments of hope. “I am hopeful,” she said. “I never really knew that I had a voice. I want to stress that you each have a voice and you can make a difference with your voice.”

Sam gave his detractors a stark warning: “People say that we, the youth, are the future. But it’s not true. We’re the present, and we’re coming.”

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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