Cannes Journal - Wednesday

Jun 21, 2017

From the value of female leadership to the increasing emphasis on authenticity and brand trust, Wednesday at Cannes was filled with fascinating discussions and insights. View our highlights below.



Executives from Y&R Europe hosted a panel to examine the challenges and opportunities for women in leadership positions. Led by some of Y&R's most successful female executives - Arzu Unal, CEO of Y&R Turkey, Nieve Durán, Managing Director of Y&R Madrid and Tereza Sveráková, Chief Creative Officer at Y&R Prague - the panel discussed the intrinsic and extrinsic qualities women bring to effective people management, in addition to the importance of recruiting a diverse agency team that truly reflects the marketplace.

Key takeaways: 

  • Women are supporting each other more and creating stronger networks to promote gender equality. Women have a louder voice and are more visible in society in general, but also in sectors traditionally masculine, such as technology, politics or finance. 
  • At any stage in your career, it's not only important to have confidence in yourself, but also to have key people supporting and encouraging you. If people believe in you and you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything.
  • Being true to your authentic self is key to leadership. There's no one male-defined pattern for leadership. You can be successful while feeling comfortable in your own skin and business environment.
  • Leadership is evolving towards feminine traits which are strongly correlated to leadership. Women should be encouraged to bring on board all the positive characteristics they have; for example, excelling at taking care of others, listening, and being ableto put egos aside. Women can also create collaborative partnerships with male colleagues that benefit from the qualities of both genders. There is nothing more fruitful than diversity.
  • Creating gender equal systems can help bridge the gap between mid and high-level talent. One way to do this is through mentoring programs. Y&R, for example, has a group of talent that is focused on encouraging rising stars within the network and supporting them throughout their journey
  • Don’t give up on your career because you think you're not going to find work/life balance. Instead, fight for it, change things, and ask for flexibility at the workplace and support at home.

Notable quotes:

  • "Don't take yourself too seriously and your work will become better."
  • "When if not now, who if not us?"
  • "Behind every strong woman is a strong woman."



During Y&R's Inspiration Day, Ze Frank, Buzzfeed Creative Chief, broke down the art and science of how stories spread, shared insights on engaging a digital audience, and examined the advantages/opportunities facing the modern day marketer. 

Key takeaways:

  • Brands need to be thought of as living organisms. The evolution of social and mobile has allowed us to connect with audiences in new ways. Now, it’s possible to create living breathing brands that respond to aspects of our world like culture and climate.  
  • Content is massively powerful. Media companies spend millions trying to strengthen the relationship between themselves and the user. Content has the ability to strengthen the deepest relationships in an audience life - the relationships they have with people they love.
  • Instead of feedback, we should focus on audience's reactions. Buzzfeed's cultural cartography, for example, offers a new way of thinking about content. Cultural Cartography is a human-centric system for mapping content and culture to try and identify what content is doing for consumers. By offering honest feedback, it forces content producers to rationalize/reason in a way that intuitive reactions do not.
  • Let your audience give you signals that inform and improve your content over time. This can be done by finding the intersection of things that work and testing out multiple different content executions. For example, Buzzfeed “Worth it” is currently the most popular show on YouTube. Their success comes from assessing a number of audience signals and data, such as comparing one execution with another and offering a variety of tests.  



In a world where most marketing messages are ignored, Vice's Chief Strategy Officer hosted a discussion on how to connect meaningfully today. The session explored why brands should have a call to action aside from purchase and shared insights on how establishing trust and credibility leads to more engagement.

Key takeaways:

  • Brand marketing must be as valuable as product offerings. Brands need to stand for something and live by it; purpose must be engrained in their DNA. As a purpose brand, Vice stands by the pillars of authenticity and trust and encourages people to make a difference after consuming content.
  • New, audacious and groundbreaking experiences help to create valuable content and increase engagement. For example, Vice recently formed a partnership with Airbnb that offers a new experience platform turning Vice shows into trips with Airbnb.
  • TV has the highest retention rate of any network. Those working in TV should keep in mind that commercial breaks need to be as entertaining as the shows themselves.


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